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Udall highlights muddled thinking on renewable energy research  

Representative Mark Udall, D-CO, has criticized the mixed signals being generated by Congress on the importance it places on renewable energy research during a debate on the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, HR 2419.

“I am very glad to note that the bill will provide funds for completing construction of the new science and technology facility at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. I find it highly ironic, however, that the new NREL facility comes at the expense of the very renewable energy research and development programs that would be conducted within it. It’s conceivable that we’ll have new buildings but nothing to fill them with – no scientists or other NREL personnel, since many of them will lose their jobs due to deep cuts in program funding,” he said.

As co-chair of the House renewable energy and energy efficiency caucus, Udall is a leading advocate of the strategic importance of research into sustainable energy sources. Both the NREL main laboratory site and its wind technology research lab lie within his home state, near Golden and Boulder, respectively.For example, wind energy research is allocated a slight reduction from its FY 2005 level and continues a trend that has seen its budget trimmed by 11 percent over three years. Moreover, about a third of this allocation is destined for projects that Battelle and the Midwest Research Institute, which manage the laboratory on behalf of the Department of Energy, plan to carry out with private partners.

“I am concerned that year by year, DOE’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs seem to be losing – through gradual cuts, shifts of more EERE dollars to hydrogen and fuel cells and out of core renewables technologies,” he said. “These cuts will only increase US vulnerability to energy supply disruptions, worsen fuel price volatility, and cause higher energy prices overall unnecessarily, and are especially ill-advised at a time when the need for a secure, domestic energy supply is so crucial.”


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