The Senate passed a catch-all $410 billion spending bill Tuesday that’s packed with appropriations for 12 cabinet departments and lower federal agencies. Several hefty investments for clean energy, climate science and energy efficiency made their way into the act, with multimillion-dollar increases on the way for the Department of Energy and EPA budgets if President Barack Obama signs the bill into law (as he’s expected to this week). Some of the highlights, based on information from the House Committee on Appropriations web site:
Environmental Protection Agency: $7.6 billion ($174 million above 2008). This includes $224 million ($7.2 million increase) for grants to states to implement the Clean Air Act, $60 million ($11 million above 2008) for grants to reduce emissions from diesel engines, and $50 million for the Energy Star program. Congress also appropriated $10 million for new grants to encourage communities to find ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Department of Energy: $27 billion ($2.5 billion increase) to build on stimulus-funded efforts to conserve and produce clean, efficient, domestic energy, and to improve nuclear security. Solar energy R&D and demo projects meant to make solar power more affordable get $175 million, while collaborative vehicle technology initiatives to help the auto industry improve efficiency with better batteries and clean-fuel engines get $273 million.
Weatherization grants and innovative technology loan guarantees figure large, with $200 million and $18.5 billion, respectively. The DOE’s Office of Science sees a $755 million increase to $4.8 billion in appropriations this year over 2008. That’s for “basic scientific research critical to addressing long-term energy needs,” and more than 2,500 more researchers.
Climate Change: $232 million ($39 million above 2008) for various programs to address global climate change, and nearly $2 billion to study it. This includes $10 million to meet the mandate that the U.S. produce 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022, and $3 million for carbon capture and sequestration research at the U.S. Geological Survey. Another $6.5 million is set to help fund development of a registry for greenhouse gas emissions. Congress appropriated $14.7 million for the Global Climate Change Mitigation Fund to encourage businesses to use green practices.
National Institute of Standards and Technology Research: $819 million ($63.1 million above 2008) to “promote American innovation and economic competitiveness by improving scientific measurements, standards, and technology.” $110 million goes to a public-private partnership program designed to provide small and midsized manufacturers with technical advice and access to technology, and to leverage private funds for job creation. Crucially for cleantech companies, the Technology Innovation Program gets $65 million for “high-risk high-reward research into areas of critical national need” at businesses, colleges and national labs.