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US to 'compete' for cleaner energy and jobs with £17.4bn budget

America must “compete in the global race for the clean energy jobs of the future” and be at the forefront of green energy technology for a strong economy said US energy secretary Steven Chu.

Chu released details of the $27.2bn (£17.4bn) requested for the 2013 energy budget, which he said will help President Barack Obama’s plans to create a strong US economy with control of its own energy supply.

The budget includes making solar power affordable for Americans, cutting its dependence on oil, and strengthening national security by reducing nuclear dangers by maintaining an effective nuclear deterrent.

From headline figures released, most ($14bn) it appears will be spent on nuclear deterrents and the US’ non nuclear proliferation programme ($2.5bn). The remaining £1.6bn is being spent on green energy plans.

“The budget request for the department is part of the President’s blueprint for an American economy that is built to last based on American energy that is cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs,” said Chu. “The choice we face as a nation is simple: do we want the clean energy technologies of tomorrow to be invented in America by American innovators, made by American workers and sold around the world, or do we want to concede those jobs to our competitors?”

He added that the aim of the budget was to focus taxpayers’ money on areas that will bring the greatest returns over time.

More detail from the 2013 budget

  • Invest in cross-cutting research to lead in the research, development, deployment and production of clean energy technologies 
  • Promote efforts to make solar power affordable by reducing the cost of solar energy by 75% and make it cost competitive without subsidies by the end of the decade
  • Continue the Obama Administration’s efforts to reduce dependence on oil by one third by 2025
  • Support groundbreaking basic science, research and innovation to solve energy challenges and ensure the US remains at the forefront of science and technology
  • Strengthen national security by reducing nuclear dangers and maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent
  • Clean up the legacy from the Manhattan Project and the Cold War

Where the money will be spent

£38M on critical research on energy storage systems and new approaches for battery storage

£491M on nuclear energy, including £42M for cost-shared awards to support first-of-a-kind small modular reactors and £38M for nuclear waste R&D that aligns with the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future

£176M research and development of advanced fossil fuel power systems and carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies to allow for the continued use of domestic coal resources while reducing greenhouse gas emissions

£223M for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to continue support for promising early-stage research projects that could deliver game-changing clean energy technologies

£77M to support the Energy Frontier Research Centers and £89M for the five existing Energy Innovation Hubs and establish a hub to focus on grid systems and the tie between transmission and distribution systems; 

£7.34bn to protect Americans by maintaining US nuclear deterrence capabilities, reducing nuclear dangers in an increasingly unstable and unpredictable world, and providing for the Navy’s nuclear propulsion needs; and

£1.59bn to support NNSA’s Defense Nuclear Non-proliferation program, which plays a critical role in completing the President’s goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material around the world in four years.

Reducing costs

Eliminating 430,000m2 of excess real property, over 280,000m2 more than the FY 2011 target, which will avoid future operations and maintenance costs 

Reducing its time-to-hire new employees by 45%

Reducing, consolidating or moving 40% of its websites to the Energy.gov platform to increase communication and transparency, and streamline website infrastructure processes, which will save more than £6M a year

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