In the last two days, the Department of Energy has announced $24 million worth of new investments in solar energy while also revealing it’s putting a whopping $340 million into yet more clean coal research. In conjunction with the funding announcements, the DOE says it’s "committed to … developing the technologies that will ensure coal can be used," but at the same time describes solar as "an important component of our comprehensive strategy to commercialize and deploy advanced, clean, alternative technologies."
Parsing the language indicates this administration’s bias toward clean coal, but the numbers speak even louder. Since 2001 the DOE has put more than $2.5 billion into clean coal, including millions sunk into the scuttled FutureGen project. This week’s $340 million is part of President Bush’s $2 billion, 10-Year Clean Coal Initiative, but is separate from the $1.3 billion announced with the "restructuring" of the FutureGen project.