Bush’s phony rhetoric from the State of the Union:

The United States is committed to strengthening our energy security and confronting global climate change, and the best way to meet these goals is for America to continue leading the way toward the development of cleaner and more energy-efficient technology.

His actual energy-efficiency budget, summarized by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute executive director, Carol Werner (my previous post on the budget is here):

DOE Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy FY09 Budget Cut 27%;
Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program Zeroed Out

In signing the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (HR 6, P.L. 110-140) on December 19, 2007, President Bush said the Act makes “a major step toward reducing our dependence on oil, confronting global climate change, expanding the production of renewable fuels and giving future generations of our country a nation that is stronger, cleaner, and more secure.” In his January 28 State of the Union address, President Bush said, “Let us fund new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions. Let us increase the use of renewable power and emissions-free nuclear power … The United States is committed to strengthening our energy security and confronting global climate change. And the best way to meet these goals is for America to continue leading the way toward the development of cleaner and more energy-efficient technology.”

The funding priorities reflected in the President’s FY 09 budget appear in conflict with the goals of expanding renewable energy development and making the economy more energy efficient. Given the volume of voices and concerns about energy security, the huge bills residential and business consumers face, loss of economic competitiveness, environmental degradation, and rising greenhouse gas emissions, the President’s budget is not consistent with his stated goals. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EE/RE) program should play a critical role in reducing energy import dependence while protecting the environment by developing and promoting the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

The President’s FY 09 budget request for DOE’s EE/RE programs is $1.26 billion (five percent of the DOE budget) — essentially flat with the FY 08 budget request and 27 percent below FY 08 appropriations. At the same time, nuclear energy received a $385.5 million increase (37 percent increase from FY 08 appropriations) and fossil energy received a $222.7 million increase (25 percent increase over FY 08 appropriations). Although there is a significant increase for geothermal and increases for biomass and building technology, the funding for DOE’s energy efficiency and renewable energy technology investments includes significant cuts in hydropower technology and tribal energy activities and zeroes out investments in weatherization assistance program grants and the Renewable Energy Production Incentive (REPI).

The President’s FY 09 budget request includes:

  • Zeroing out the Weatherization Assistance Program Grants (100% cut from $227 million in FY 08)
  • Zeroing out the Renewable Energy Production Incentive (100% cut from $5.0 million in FY 08)
  • $6.9 million cut in the Hydropower Program (70% cut from FY 08 appropriations)
  • $4.9 million cut in Tribal Energy Activities (83% cut from FY 08 appropriations)
  • $12.3 million cut in the Solar Energy Program (7% cut from FY 08 appropriations)
  • $26.8 million increase in Biomass and Biorefinery Systems R&D (13% increase from FY 08 appropriations)
  • $ 14.8 million increase in Building Technologies (13% increase from FY 08 appropriations)
  • $ 10.2 million increase in Geothermal Technology (51% increase from FY 08 appropriations)
  • $7.5 million for the Asia-Pacific Partnership, one of the President’s priorities for addressing climate change (unfunded in FY 07 and FY 08 appropriations)

In addition, the DOE Office of Electric Delivery and Energy Reliability Budget was cut $4.6 million (3% cut from FY 08 appropriations).

DOE Energy Budget:
FY 2007-08 Appropriation, FY 2009 Budget Request
Energy
(dollars in thousands)
FY 2008 Appropriation FY 2009 Budget Request
Nuclear Energy 1,033,923 1,419,463
Fossil Energy 904,202 1,126,929
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy 1,722,407 1,255,393
Electric Delivery and Energy Reliability 138,556 134,000
Total 3,799,088 3,935,785

The table below compares the President’s FY 2009 budget request to FY 2007 and 2008 appropriations for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Budget:
FY 2007-08 Appropriation, FY 2009 Budget Request
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
(dollars in thousands)
FY 2008 Appropriation FY 2009 Budget Request
Biomass/Biorefinery R&D 198,180 225,000
Geothermal Technology 19,818 30,000
Hydrogen Technology 211,062 146,213
Water Power* 9,909 3,000
Solar Energy 168,453 156,120
Wind Energy 49,545 52,500
Facilities and Infrastructure 76,176 13,982
Program Support (RE) 10,801 20,000
Building Technologies 108,999 123,765
Federal Energy Mngmnt 19,818 22,000
Industrial Technologies 64,408 62,119
Vehicle Technologies 213,043 221,086
Weatherization Grants 227,222 0
State Energy Grants 44,095 50,000
State Energy Activities 0 0
International Renewables 0 0
Tribal Energy Activities 5,945 1,000
Renewable Production Incentive 4,955 0
Asia Pacific Partnership 0 7,500
Program Direction (EE) 104,057 121,846
Earmarks 186,664 0
Adjustments -743 -738
Total, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy 1,722,407 1,255,393

*Water Power includes hydropower, stream, ocean and tidal energy technologies.

[More from EESI on the biomass budget can be found here.]

This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.