March 2006

The Advanced Energy Initiative details national goals

Washington, DC— In his State of the Union address, President George Bush outlined The Advanced Energy Initiative to help break America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.

The President has set a national goal of replacing more than 75% of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. With America on the verge of breakthroughs in advanced energy technologies, the best way to break the addiction to foreign oil is through new technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources. The President announced the Advanced Energy Initiative, which provides for a 22% increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy (DOE). The Initiative is hoped to accelerate breakthroughs in two areas; how homes and businesses are powered and how automobiles are powered.

The President’s Advanced Energy Initiative proposes speeding up research in three areas:

•The Coal Research Initiative. Coal provides more than half of the Nation’s electricity supply, and America has enough coal to last more than 200 years. As part of the National Energy Policy, the President committed $2 billion over 10 years to speed up research in the use of clean coal technologies to generate electricity while meeting environmental regulations at low cost. To tap the potential of America’s enormous coal reserves, the President’s 2007 Budget includes $281 million for development of clean coal technologies, nearly completing the President’s commitment 4 years ahead of schedule.

•The FutureGen Initiative. The President’s 2007 Budget includes $54 million for the FutureGen Initiative. The FutureGen initiative is a partnership between government and the private sector to develop innovative technologies for an emissions-free coal plant that captures the carbon dioxide it produces and stores it in deep geologic formations.

•The Solar America Initiative. The 2007 budget will propose a new $148 million Solar America Initiative, an increase of $65 million, to accelerate the development of semiconductor materials that convert sunlight directly to electricity. These solar photovoltaic “PV” cells can be used to deliver energy services to rural areas and can be incorporated directly into building materials, so that there can be future “zero energy” homes that produce more energy than they consume.

•Expanding Clean Energy from Wind. The 2007 Budget includes $44 million for wind energy research, a $5 million increase over 2006 levels. This will help improve the efficiency and lower the costs of new wind technologies for use in low-speed wind environments. Combined with ongoing efforts to expand access to Federal lands for wind energy development, this new funding will help dramatically increase the use of wind energy in the United States.

The President wants to accelerate the development of domestic, renewable alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuels. The Administration will accelerate research in cutting-edge methods of producing “cellulosic ethanol” with the goal of making the use of such ethanol practical and competitive within six years. The Administration will also step up the Nation’s research in better batteries for use in hybrid and electric cars and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen.

•The Bio-Refinery Initiative. To achieve greater use of “homegrown” renewable fuels in the United States, advanced technologies need to be perfected to make fuel ethanol from cellulosic (plant fiber) biomass, which is now discarded as waste. The President’s 2007 Budget will include $150 million, a $59 million increase over 2006, to help develop bio-based transportation fuels from agricultural waste products, such as wood chips, stalks, or switch grass. Research scientists say that accelerating research into “cellulosic ethanol” can make it cost-competitive by 2012, offering the potential to displace up to 30% of the current fuel use.

•Developing more efficient vehicles. Current hybrids on the road run on a battery developed at the DOE. The President’s plan would accelerate research in the next generation of battery technology for hybrid vehicles and “plug-in hybrids.” Current hybrids can only use the gasoline engine to charge the on-board battery. A “plug-in” hybrid can run either on electricity or on gasoline and can be plugged into the wall at night to recharge its batteries. Advanced battery technologies offer the potential to significantly reduce oil consumption in the near-term. The 2007 Budget includes $30 million, a $6.7 million increase over 2006, to speed up the development of this battery technology and extend the range of these vehicles.

•The Hydrogen Fuel Initiative. President Bush announced a $1.2 billion Hydrogen Fuel Initiative to develop technology for commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cells. Through private-sector partnerships, the Initiative and related FreedomCAR programs will make it cost-effective for Americans to use clean, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2020. The President’s 2007 Budget will provide $289 million, an increase of $53 million over 2006, to accelerate the development of hydrogen fuel cells and affordable hydrogen-powered cars.

 


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