August 10, 2010
Ryan’s Budget Proposes Cuts to Energy Innovation Investments
On Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released his fiscal year 2012 budget proposal, a plan that would strip federal funding for energy innovation. If enacted, the budget would seriously threaten the country's clean energy competitiveness and damage innovation, the engine of economic growth.
The following is excerpted from the The New York Times:
A long-term Republican budget plan released this week by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin calls for drastic cuts in federal spending on energy research and development and for the outright elimination of subsidies and tax breaks for wind, solar power and other alternative energy technologies.
Under the Republican plan, overall discretionary funding for energy programs would fall to about $1 billion per year. President Obama's 2012 budget, meanwhile, would provide about $8 billion to support clean energy research and deployment.
Mr. Ryan's proposal calls specifically for "eliminating welfare for energy companies." The proposal does not include details on which subsidies would be curtailed, but its references to "uncompetitive" energy sources clearly point to wind and solar power, which typically generate electricity at a premium to fossil fuels like coal.
Clean energy advocates criticized the Ryan proposal, calling it a short-sighted plan that would cede dominance in the fast-growing clean-tech market to countries like China and Germany.
"The Ryan budget has handouts for big oil and a slammed door for the emerging technologies of the future," said Daniel J. Weiss, a senior fellow and director of climate strategy for the Center for American Progress, a liberal research organization. "It's bad for American competitiveness, innovation and job growth."
See this four-part series for an analysis of the budget battle and its implications for federal investments in energy innovation:
Budget Battle, Part I: President Obama's Budget Would Invest in Energy Innovation
Budget Battle, Part II: House GOP Budget Proposal Slashes Energy Innovation Investments
Budget Battle, Part III: Senate Democrats Aim to Invest in Clean Energy, Innovation, Infrastructure
Budget Battle, Part IV: Senate Democrats Propose Across-the Board Cuts in Energy Innovation Budgets