Issue Date: March 10, 2008
Long Slide For R&D Energy Spending
Federal spending for energy R&D has fallen sharply since 1978 from $6 billion to $1.4 billion in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, says the Government Accountability Office in a recent report (GAO-08-556T). Spending in energy R&D reached its lowest point in 1998, when it hit $505 million. The report notes that energy research spending became robust in the late 1970s as a result of the 1973 energy crisis and fell as oil prices returned to their historically low levels. The report also notes that although the Department of Energy has spent $57.5 billion over the past 30 years on advanced energy R&D, the nation's energy portfolio has stayed pretty much the same and remains highly dependent on fossil energy. To encourage advanced energy deployment, GAO recommends greater incentives, standards, and mandates. The report adds that for fiscal 2009, the Bush Administration is proposing a 34% increase in R&D spending on fossil energy, a 44% increase on nuclear energy, and a 1% cut in renewable energy R&D. This year, these categories are all receiving about equal funding.
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