Obama adds $108 million for renewable energy

US President Barack Obama requested additional $108 million in allocations for renewable energy in the fiscal year 2011 (starting October 1st. 2010) budget. The aim is to position the United States as "the global leader of the new energy economy by developing new ways to produce and use renewable energy."

This funding is part of the $28.4 billion budget requested for the Department of Energy, which exceeds by 6.8% the 2010 budget.

Allocations for different sources are: $122.5 million for wind energy (+53% compared to the 2010 budget), 55 million for geothermal energy (+25%), 302 million for solar energy (+22.4%) , 40 million for hydroelectric and hydrokinetic energy (+19%) and 220 million (no increase) for biomass.

The "hydrogen funding" was changed into "hydrogen and fuel cell funding", for which 137 millions were requested. The budget explicitly points out the need to build demonstration plants, designed to show that it is possible to "lower wind power and solar energy prices, in order to make them fully competitive with other sources”.

Also, a $217 million increase has been requested for specific research projects, such as the Energy Innovation Hubs (107 million total), and to Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (300 million).

Funding for renewables is drawn from a drastic cut of resources allocated for conventional sources. Specifically, $2.7 billion were cut from financial support previously granted to the petroleum, coal and gas industries.