Meeting Clean Energy Goals in the Green Budget 2011

Last night during his State of the Union speech, President Obama referenced “Clean Energy” ten different times, and with good reason.  As our country emerges from an extremely challenging economic period, expanded public and private investments in domestic renewable energy and energy efficiency will be vital to developing new industries, boosting employment, and maintaining American competitiveness

The release of the new Green Budget 2011 could not come at a more opportune moment.  The Green Budget is developed by a broad coalition of environmental and public interest groups (34 this year), providing funding recommendations for Federal agency budget priorities on energy, climate and the environment in the new fiscal year.  This year’s Green Budget is a reflection of a new era, when protecting our environment, addressing climate change and developing a new clean energy economy are a real priority.  NRDC led the development of several sections, including the Department of Energy (DOE) section, which featured input from over a dozen NRDC energy experts.  (starts page 23 of this PDF)

DOE pursues a range of energy-related activities, including supporting research, development, demonstration and deployment of energy conservation and clean generation technologies, managing our nation's various nuclear programs, and funding a wide range of energy-related scientific research.  To help revitalize our economy, DOE has the opportunity to forge a new energy future that supports our economy, and makes our country safer and our environment cleaner.  Clean technology is a good investment for taxpayers and DOE must ensure that vital private and public sector investment supports a diverse suite of early stage and maturing clean technologies, and that we continue on the path to national energy independence.

And yet, as was also apparent in his speech last night, the President and Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle agree on at least one thing – a major focus of 2010 should be deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility. In light of this, this year we have presented realistic recommendations that account for both the dramatic one-time Stimulus boost, and the overall tightening federal fiscal climate. However, we temper this realism with our belief in the importance of long-term planning to ensure a cleaner energy, transportation and manufacturing infrastructures and a low-carbon economy.  We further believe that these objectives need not be mutually exclusive.  DOE can acknowledge current fiscal constraints, by redirecting spending away from inefficient, unproductive and unnecessary carbon-intensive and nuclear programs and instead focusing on vital clean energy efforts. 

We are proud to have been a part of this year’s Green Budget and look forward to the continued rapid expansion of our new clean energy economy.