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Volume 87 Issue 13 | p. 11 | News of The Week
Issue Date: March 30, 2009

Energy Spending Plans Detailed

Administration proposes big increases in energy development, new R&D program
Department: Government & Policy | Collection: Climate Change
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Steven Vigdor, a lab director (from left), Chu, Aronson, and Rep. Timothy Bishop (D-N.Y.) at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory
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Steven Vigdor, a lab director (from left), Chu, Aronson, and Rep. Timothy Bishop (D-N.Y.) at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION last week continued its push to increase energy security by announcing new research and development spending and touting its budget plans for renewable energy and clean-energy programs.

At a White House conference of clean-energy entrepreneurs and research leaders on March 23, President Barack Obama detailed some of the Administration's long-term budget plans for energy spending. He told attendees that he wants the federal government to invest "$150 billion over 10 years in clean energy and energy efficiency." This spending would be in addition to the $59 billion for clean-energy programs and energy tax incentives in the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the economic stimulus legislation Congress passed last month (C&EN, Feb. 16, page 7).

Obama said he also will propose in his fiscal 2010 budget—due in April—to make the research and experimentation tax credit permanent and to reduce to zero the capital gains tax for investments in small or start-up businesses.

Also on March 23, the Department of Energy announced plans to spend $1.2 billion on an array of Office of Science-sponsored construction, laboratory infrastructure, and research efforts across the nation. This is the first installment of the $1.6 billion allocated to DOE's Office of Science by Congress under ARRA.

"Leadership in science remains vital to America's economic prosperity, energy security, and global competitiveness," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who announced the projects during a visit to Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Chu said the projects will create "thousands of jobs and breathe new life into many local economies while helping to accelerate new technology development, renew our scientific and engineering workforce, and modernize our nation's scientific infrastructure."

Under the plan Chu unveiled, DOE will spend about $830 million on a range of construction, infrastructure, equipment acquisition, and research efforts at nine of the 10 national laboratories overseen by the department's science office.

The Brookhaven facility will receive $184 million, with most of the money going to accelerated construction of the National Synchrotron Light Source II project. When complete in fiscal 2015 at a projected cost of $912 million, NSLS-II will be "the brightest X-ray source in the world," according to DOE. Ultimately, the department says, it could lead to advances in battery technology and photovoltaics.

"This increase in federal support for basic research, the hallmark of our work at Brookhaven Lab, will strengthen the country's global leadership position in science and technology," Laboratory Director Sam Aronson said.

DOE says other funding will provide support for both university- and national-laboratory-based researchers working on problems in fields ranging from particle and plasma physics to biofuels, solar energy, superconductivity, solid-state lighting, electricity storage, and materials science.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
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