Tuesday, July 12, 2011

House Rejects Massive Cut to DOE Renewable Energy Programs

Good. Hopefully this is a sign that they aren't totally insane. It looks like this amendment offered by the Republican Study Committee targeted the entire $3.2 billion for the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, home of the programs that are funding business start-ups and breakthroughs in renewable energy technology. It turns out elimination wasn't going to fly with a bunch of Republicans, even for show...

The House on Monday night rejected an amendment proposed by the Republican Study Committee that would have cut $3.25 billion from the Energy and Water Appropriations Act, effectively gutting the Department of Energy's alternative energy funding programs.

Members rejected the amendment, offered by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), by a 96-313 vote. In that vote, 96 Republicans supported the language, while 135 Republicans voted against it along with every voting Democrat.

McClintock earlier in the day said the amendment would ensure the government stops throwing money at various programs in an attempt to pick winners and losers, and also noted that many of these subsidies fund projects that private money does not see as viable.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) argued that Republicans were funding oil, coal and gas programs, but were looking to kill off funding for alternative energy programs. Markey has an amendment to move $100 million in funds from the former group to the latter group, which is expected to come up for a vote on Tuesday.

... but they aren't done chewing on the entire $30.6B bill yet. Lots of moving parts here, and don't be surprised if renewables take a hit in favor of oil and gas funding in the end. And what will make it through the Senate is anyone's guess, so stay tuned.

We'll get something out of this, but probably not as much as we need to keep up with the competition coming out of Asia. Unfortunate at this crucial point in renewable energy growth, but given currents events, we better take what we can get and run with it...