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  • Breaking Down the Energy Budget

    Looking at the energy sections of the budget blueprint released Thursday, two themes come to mind.

    Theme #1 Let’s give The Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more money.

    DOE’s budget for the fiscal year 2009 is just shy of $34 billion, up dramatically from $24.1 billion for 2008. Part of this is due to some of the $39 billion provided to the DOE in the 2009 stimulus bill signed by President Obama, but that $39 billion will be spent over the next several years. The EPA’s budget has typically been around $7.5 billion for the past few years and it looks like it will remain that way in 2009 with a budget of $7.8 billion. But the budget jumps to $10.5 billion in 2010. This could be a sign that EPA is preparing to take on the monumental task of CO2 regulator.

    Highlights of the DOE’s budget include for the following:

    Advances the development of Low-Carbon Fuel. Many Members of Congress who are pushing for a bill to reduce carbon dioxide are hedging their bets that carbon capture & sequestration will be commercially available in the near future. Despite government funding, it seems that CCS is still years away, paving the way for environmental activists to claim clean coal is a pipedream.
    Spending on the so-called Smart Grid: There are a lot of questions surrounding investing more government money, on top of the $11 billion for high-tech electricity infrastructure passed in the stimulus bill. Does a smart grid only make sense if we invest heavily in renewables? If it’s a good idea, why isn’t the private sector investing in it? Are there regulatory hurdles that are keeping the private sector from investing in a smart grid?

    And highlights of the EPA’s budget:

    Begins a Comprehensive Approach to Transform Our Energy Supply and Slow Global Warming: By this, The EPA is hoping Congress pass a cap-and-trade bill that would reduce carbon emissions 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and approximately 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Heritage Senior Policy Analyst Ben Lieberman emphasizes that a cap-and-trade program is nothing more than a regressive tax that will raise prices on energy and cost Americans jobs – all for little, if any, environmental gain.

    Strengthens Superfund: The 2010 Budget proposes to reinstate excise taxes that expired in 1995 and will collect over $1 billion to clean up the Nation’s most toxic, contaminated sites within the Superfund program. CEI’s Jonathan Tolman responds: “Environmentalists like to tout that the Superfund taxes are an example of the “polluter pays” principle. However, the reality of the superfund program is that is supposed to clean up abandoned hazardous waste sites and companies paying the petroleum and chemical feedstock taxes now may have had nothing to do with an industrial site abandoned 20 years ago.”

    Theme #2 Punishing Successful Energy Sources to Subsidize Unsuccessful Ones.

    Mandating a cap-and-trade program. In an ideal world for the EPA, in a 100 percent auction program for a carbon emission credits under a cap-and-trade program, $150 billion would allocated for clean energy investments. The idea that the government could invest in renewables through tax breaks, incentives and subsidies with hopes they could eventually compete in the market is, in reality, a very tired idea. Penalizing successful sources of energy to subsidize unsuccessful ones will only increase the costs to the successful sources, meaning the costs will eventually be passed down to the consumer through higher electricity bills and higher gas prices.

    All but killing Yucca Mountain. The Department of Energy will limit its activities to answering Nuclear Regulatory Commission inquiries regarding the NRC review of the Yucca Mountain construction permit. Given all of the progress that the last administration made on the Yucca Mountain issue and that the law obliges the federal government to open the Yucca Mountain waste repository, it is unfortunate that this administration, who said that it would respect science in its decision making, would make such an unscientific and politically motivated decision. That said, Yucca Mountain will never be opened if it does not have a construction and operating license, so that fact that the budget does at least respect the NRC’s authority to carry out its mission to finish its Yucca review of the permit application should be commended.

    Following these two themes, a third theme could very well be more economic pain to come for the energy consumer for years to come.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Breaking Down the Energy Budget

    1. UtilityApps 360 Bu says:

      I have been active in this industry for 26 years.

      Just in the last few years, I have been in R&D in all fields including all aspects of Power, as well as Telephone, CATV, Broadband, GPS,Geotaging and I am sure I am leaving some out. Working now with Flir/uphotomeasure/Jackson EMC/Southern Company and many more, we can do preventive maintaince on the distribution line of Power Delievery as well as many other things. I have developed multiply Apps that would save and promote jobs in all sectors. These apps can be easily reconfigured to work with all Utilities. All around the world. By educating the enterprizies and the public we can be green in a decade.I know these new apps, which one comes from NASA, will help get this nation back to where we need to be. Please feel free to contact me at:

      Bart Brand

      PO BOX 230

      Buford, GA. 30515


      thank you and GOD bless the USA

    2. Jim Goodrich, Miami, says:

      Unfortunately, President Obama's energy plan does not include the construction of new nuclear power plants. Our country's existing nuclear plants were designed and built in the 1960's. Until nuclear power is considered part of the future for our country's energy mix, utilities will only be able to maintain and upgrade existing sites. Many utilities have extended the operating life of their plants by recalculating operating cycles and asking the NRC for licensing extensions. This buys the country some more time, but without new plants the demand for oil will increase. We need leadership that is willing to lessen our demand for oil by using proven technology.

    3. Pingback: High Energy Future: The Nuts and Bolts of the Obama Renewable … - Daily Green | Utility Compare . Com

    4. Richard, Spring, TX says:

      Wind and solar can provide no more then 8% of our energy requirements. Additional nuclear will not be allowed to happen, domestic drilling for addition supplies of gas and oil will be denied and cap and trade will be implemented. As a result our economy will be what it was in 1900 and the USA will be a third world country. Blame Obama and Gore and all their liberal friends.

    5. Ardell Nagle , Rexbu says:

      Those who have ideas about energy are not being listen to. They are relying on people that have their agenda in mind. We need smart people who work in the field and use the hand on approach.

      We need to use common sense to approach the problems that our facing this country.

      I for one I can.t afford to pay more for gas or electricity. Those who live on a fixed income are going to suffer more.

    6. Engineer, Mississipp says:

      The green programs that Obama is touting will only add 5% to the national electric grid over the course of 10 years. There needs to be a short term energy program designed to buffer the shortfalls we have in this country and a long term research issue to move to alternative energy sources.

      Wind can only be used on a limited basis in certain parts of the country and does have some issues of noise and ugly wind turbines populating the landscape. Maintenance becomes a huge problem. Solar does not have the efficiency needed for conversion to electricity to make it economically feasible. Bio fuels are a long way off.

      In the near term compressed natural gas CNG which we have in abundance in this country is a viable alternative. The gasoline engine can be modified to run on CNG without too much difficulty.

      Offshore drilling has been proven to be very safe and effective and now one unit can be used for multiple drill sites.

      Coal with proper carbon scrubbing technology can provide us with a viable source of energy for generating power in the near term.

      In certain parts of the country thermal energy is a viable source for power generation.

      The problem with nuclear fission is an issue of scale. Pilot fission plants and indeed nuclear fission reactors on submarines are quite successful, however, when scaled to large enough facilities to generate energy for a large city, the process is not linear and many problems can occur (e.g., large nuclear material rods that cannot be shut down in a small period of time). There are disposal issues with fission.

      That is why using compact fission reactors that can be buried underground to generate electricity for many rural areas and small cities is a safe viable compromise. These are technologies that are currently available or can be developed within the next several years.

      In the long term fusion which is reaction of the sun and hydrogen cells are viable energy sources. Both do not contain radioactive wastes such as the current nuclear plants that rely on fission. The research issue for fusion is containment of the reaction. Hydrogen cells will require major changes in cars and suppliers.

      Another benefit of these programs is that it would create good paying jobs whereas all the green programs would be lower paying.

    7. Scott M, Elmhurst, I says:

      Hope is not a strategy. We're screwed.

    8. Marshall Hill MI. says:

      We have Nuclear Plants now that have no operating

      problems that cannot be met,along with Coal!We will not be sustaining Power with wind anytime


    9. Thomas Gray, South C says:

      Even if we were building new nuclear powered electric generating stations, we are still at an economic disadvantage becouse of added union labor cost to manufacturing,

      buba, get off your green horse, the titanic is sinking [the U.S.A.] and your plan is sinking it.

      atom power except for activist interference would be the least expensive of all energy sources.

      and I'm not so sure about abundant NG given the levels that it is currently being consumed, all of these fuels are going keep getting more expensive in time,

      atom power cost change very little compared to FF.

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