Boons for Clean Energy Tucked Throughout Obama Budget Plan

Given the tone of his speech before Congress earlier this week and his support of clean energy infrastructure as a tool for economic recovery, it’s no surprise that the outline of President Obama’s 2010 budget proposal, released today, includes increased funding for the Department of Energy’s renewable energy initiatives. But beyond the $26.3 billion proposed for the DOE, agencies ranging from the Department of Agriculture to the National Science Foundation will see their coffers for renewable energy and other clean technology efforts bolstered if Obama’s wish list makes it through Congress.

Earlier this month, we asked “If green jobs are so hot, where are they?” and found that many of the openings are in science and engineering jobs with early-stage firms in obscure cleantech sectors (e.g. fuel additives and air filtration). Those looking to break into such fields may have new resources in 2010, thanks to new fellowships, grants, education programs (not to mention funding for high-risk research into radically new technologies) included in Obama’s outline. The document released today represents a very broad sketch (it describes “increases” and “expansions” rather than hard dollar figures), but it offers a general sense of the administration’s priorities for 2010. Here are some of the highlights:

Department of Energy: $26.3 billion

budget2010-doe

  • Increases funding for improving our understanding of climate science and continues the United States’ commitment to international energy and science projects.
  • Expands graduate fellowship programs that will train students in critical energy-related fields.
  • Includes investments in R&D and demonstration of smart grid technologies.
  • Supports carbon capture and storage projects (is in addition to the $3.4 billion allotted for low-carbon power plant demos in the stimulus)

NASA: $18.7 billion

  • Funds development of┬ánew space-based research sensors for a global climate research and monitoring system.

National Science Foundation: $7.0 billion
budget2010-nsf

  • Establishes a climate change education program to help develop the next generation of environmentally-engaged scientists and engineers.
  • Increases support for high-risk research proposals that could fundamentally alter understanding of nature, revolutionize fields of science, and lead to radically new technologies.

Department of Transportation: $72.5 billion

  • Proposes five-year $5 billion high-speed rail State grant program.

Department of Agriculture: $26 billion

  • Includes $250 million in loans and grants to increase the national supply of home-grown renewable fuels.

Department of the Interior: $12 billion

  • Includes more than $50 million in increases to conduct the environmental evaluations and technical studies needed to spur development of renewable energy projects, assess available alternative resources, and mitigate the impacts of development and Federal lands and waters.

Department of Housing and Urban Development: $47.5 billion

  • Creates a new Energy Innovation Fund to support an energy-efficient housing market — including retrofits of older, inefficient homes — and catalyzes private-sector lending in the residential sector.
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