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25 Organizations Urge Senate to Restore Renewable Energy Funding
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

25 ORGANIZATIONS URGE SENATE TO RESTORE RENEWABLE ENERGY FUNDING

WASHINGTON, DC, September 17, 2004 --/WORLD-WIRE/--
In a letter delivered today to the members of the U.S. Senate Appropriation Committee's Subcommittee on Energy & Water, twenty-five member groups of the Sustainable Energy Coalition requested restoration of funding for key renewable energy programs in the U.S. Department of Energy's Fiscal Year 2005 (FY05) budget.

Noting that "the Administration budget has proposed cuts or seriously under funds programs critical to increased national energy security and environmental quality," the groups specifically urged restoration of fudning for key renewable energy programs. These include the Geothermal, Concentrated Solar Power, Solar Buildings, Biomass, Renewable Energy Production Incentive, and General Program Direction line items.

The specific recommendations are provided in the text of the letter below which also includes the list of signing organizations.

The Sustainable Energy Coalition is a coalition of nearly 100 national and state energy policy, business, consumer, and environmental organizations which collectively represent several thousand companies and community groups. founded in 1992, the Ssutainable Energy Coalition promotes increased use of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.

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SUSTAINABLE ENERGY COALITION
1612 “K” Street, N.W.
#202-A; Washington, D.C. 20006
202-293-2898, ext.201

PLEASE SUPPORT STRONGER RENEWABLE ENERGY PROVISIONS IN ENERGY & WATER APPROPRIATIONS BILL

September 17, 2004

The Honorable Pete Domenici, Chair
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Harry Reid, Ranking Democrat
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

ATTN: Staff Member - Appropriations Committee

Dear Chairman Domenici and Ranking Democrat Reid,

As the Subcommittee approaches its markup of the FY05 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, we wish to point out several particular areas of concern. In particular, the Administration budget has proposed cuts or seriously under funds programs critical to increased national energy security and environmental quality.

Concentrated Solar Power

The program should be funded at least $10 million dollars in the light of a recent positive technical due diligence study on the part of DOE, the National Academy of Sciences and independent consultants, Sargent and Lundy, and the growing market interest in ongoing projects in Arizona, California, and Nevada.

Geothermal Energy

The Administration's budget cuts this program by just over $3 million, which we urge the Subcommittee to reverse. The reduction was reportedly intended to penalize Congress for earmarks in the program's FY03 funding. (In FY03, the geothermal program was funded at $29,390,000.) The Administration request of $25,800,000 will force the DOE geothermal program to make damaging cuts in its baseline program. This could result in eliminating funding for significant portions of the programs advanced technology development efforts. We urge the Subcommittee to restore the geothermal program to at least $30 million in FY 2005, equivalent to level funding compared to FY03.

Renewable Energy Production Incentive

The Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Production Incentive Program (REPI) was created in 1992’s Energy Policy Act (EPAct) as a counterpart to the renewable energy production tax credits made available to for-profit utilities. It needs and deserves significantly more funding than requested, and we would urge the Subcommittee to consider providing at least $13 million for REPI. EPAct authorizes the Department to make direct payments to not-for-profit public power systems and rural electric cooperatives at a rate near 1.8 cents per kWh for electricity generated from solar, wind, geothermal and biomass projects. In order to fully fund all REPI applicants, $60 million would be needed for FY 2005, yet only $4 million has been requested. We urge the subcommittee to provide at least $13 million. The House passed a $5 million appropriation for the program and we are hopeful the Senate will pass at least an equal or greater amount.

Solar Buildings

The Solar Buildings program should grow to $5 million overall to meet the developing needs of advanced solar hybrid lighting and solar thermal projects, which could contribute directly to substantial reductions in US natural gas and electricity consumption in the immediate future.

Biomass

DOE funding for Biomass, including Biofuels and Biopower/energy, should be at FY04 levels or higher, and funds for hydrogen, except those dedicated to renewable hydrogen from biomass, should not be taken from appropriations intended for the advance of biomass science, technologies and industries. Biomass is becoming increasingly attractive to the transportation fuels and power industries as important additions in the transition from heavy to lighter carbon fuels. Well directed R, D and D is essential to the success of this transition.

General Program Direction

In addition to specific funding recommendations, we wish to make several observations about the DOE programs for the Subcommittee to consider in crafting its report language:

The Distributed Energy RD&D program within the DOE Renewable Energy RD&D program has focused primarily on non-renewable technologies. We would prefer that the program focus on crosscutting technologies that assist the broadest possible benefits to all renewable applications - including smart interconnection both at the transmission and customer side of the meter, energy storage, advanced Combined Heat and Power concepts, and hybrid systems using multiple energy sources.

While Program Direction has grown to encompass internal activities, the Program should include a significant subset of activities to enhance the knowledge of biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind resources both in the US and globally. The program should also input this information in a timely manner into the technology RD&D programs so that they can plan technology improvements on the particular resource characterizations. Finally, the program should create and maintain a list of distributed generation and related products and equipment that have been certified by nationally recognized testing laboratories so that project developers can use such equipment in projects interconnected to the grid without having to retest its performance characteristics.

We appreciate the Subcommittee’s past support for DOE's renewable energy programs. Thank you for your consideration of our views on these specific issues that we hope you will address in the FY 05 appropriations process.

Sincerely,

  • American Bioenergy Association
  • American Public Power Association
  • American Solar Energy Society
  • American Wind Energy Association
  • Bob Lawrence & Associates
  • Business Council for Sustainable Energy
  • City & County of San Francisco
  • Colorado Energy Group, Inc.
  • Energy Storage Council
  • Environmental & Energy Study Institute
  • Geothermal Energy Association
  • Geothermal Resources Council
  • National Hydropower Association
  • New Community Project
  • New Uses Council
  • Northwest SEED-Sustainable Energy for Economic Development
  • Renewable Fuels Association
  • Solar Energy Industries Association
  • The Stella Group Ltd.
  • Sterling Planet
  • Sturman Industries
  • Union of Concerned Scientists
  • U.S. Combined Heat and Power Association
  • U.S. Public Interest Research Group
  • Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
CONTACT:
Ken Bossong 202-293-2898, ext.201
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY COALITION
1612 “K” Street, N.W.; #202-A;
Washington, D.C. 20006

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