Energy budget reflects shifting priorities

The Obama administration is requesting $26.4 billion for Energy Department programs in 2010 -- a substantial decrease from the department's 2009 appropriation of $38.7 billion -- but Energy officials say it must be viewed together with the $38.7 billion the department has received through the economic stimulus.

Taken together, the fiscal 2010 budget proposal and the Recovery Act funds would advance the administration's twin goals of reducing dependence on foreign oil and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The budget puts the department on a path to fulfill President Obama's promise to double the federal investment in basic research during the next decade, in part by establishing eight new energy innovation hubs, multidisciplinary research and development organizations structured to field innovative, breakthrough technologies. The hubs will focus on solar electricity; fuels from sunlight; batteries and energy storage; grid materials, devices and systems; energy-efficient building systems design; extreme materials; and modeling and simulation.

The budget also significantly increases investment in renewable energy generation from solar, wind and geothermal, and in building technologies aimed at conserving energy. Funding for low-emissions transportation technologies and carbon capture and sequestration technologies to make electricity generation from coal much cleaner also received significant boosts.

The administration's 2010 proposal shifts money away from investment in a favorite Bush administration program -- development of hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles -- to one the Obama administration believes has more immediate promise, stationary fuel cells that could provide electricity for buildings.

Other programs would be cut altogether, such as $200 million for deepwater and unconventional oil and gas research. "This is something [for which] companies have incredible financial resources" to conduct on their own, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said.

Another top priority will be reforming the department's business operations. "We are assembling plans right now," Chu said. "Let me promise it will be very thorough."

It will be essential for the department to find more efficient ways to operate and to reform fundamentally the way it manages contracts and oversees programs if it is to meet its mission objectives, he said.

"It's going to take several years. This will require a cultural shift," Chu said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.