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Obama earmarks funds for clean energy projects in 2013 budget

14 February 2012
Obama earmarks funds for clean energy projects in 2013 budget

NEW YORK: President Obama proposed the 2013 budget yesterday, which includes the extension of a program that provides grants for clean energy projects

The 2013 budget announced by Obama in Virginia yesterday, includes $27.2 billion in discretionary funds for energy, an increase of 3.2% on 2012, and is to be concentrated in priority areas including clean energy, advanced manufacturing and research and development.

Obama's budget proposal renews the “Section 1602” cash grant program, which enables clean energy developers to receive up to 30% of project costs in a grant, as opposed to a tax credit. The program was passed in 2009, but expired last December. 

Extension of the program would generate thousands of jobs in the solar power sector according to Solar Energy Industries Association. The organization's President and CEO, Rhone Resch said in a statement: "America's solar industry appreciates President Obama's support for extending the 1603 Treasury Program [.] The 1603 program has helped leverage over $24 billion in private sector investment in for a wide range of clean energy projects, and extending the 1603 program will create an additional 37,000 jobs in the American solar industry in this year alone."

Further proposals include:

  • $350 million in 2013 to the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a group that supports clean energy innovation research and of which will benefit from this increase in funding from $275 million in 2012.
  • $2.27 billion to energy efficiency and renewable energy, an increase from $1.81 billion.
  • $310 million to solar energy, an increase from $289 million in 2012. Some of this funding will go to solar-energy research as part of Secretary Stephen Chu's SunShot Initiative which aims to make solar competitive with other more traditional fuel sources without using subsidies by 2020. 
  • $310 million to develop and promote technologies which cut buildings' energy use, an increase from $219 million.
  • $290 million to an advanced manufacturing program which will support industries in cutting their energy use, up from $116 million in 2012.

Amy Davidsen, Executive Director of the US, The Climate Group, said: “While this budget will no doubt undergo some changes, President Obama’s support for clean energy, including funding for the Treasury cash grant program and ARPA-E, is a good sign that he plans to stick to his commitment to a Clean Revolution.“

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