|February 23, 2012|
Previously published on February 17, 2012
On February 13, 2012, FERC asked Congress to authorize the agency’s $304.6 million budget request for 2013. This is the same amount FERC requested for fiscal year 2012. FERC’s budget request states it will focus on two overarching goals for the year: (1) ensuring just and reasonable rates, terms and conditions; and (2) facilitating the deployment of new infrastructure.
President Barack Obama’s budget requests $27.2 billion for Fiscal Year 2013 for the Department of Energy (“DOE”), which includes FERC. This request constitutes a 3.2% increase in DOE funding from 2012 levels. The President’s DOE budget emphasizes the development of clean energy, eliminating approximately $4 billion annually in subsidies and tax preferences for oil and gas companies. Obama’s budget also includes $2.3 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy within DOE. The White House states that its energy budget request is fuel neutral, noting that it embraces an “all-of-the-above” strategy (i.e., short hand for a policy that does not favor one particular energy source).
Republican leaders have questioned Obama’s characterization of the budget as promoting an “all-of-the-above-energy” strategy. They state that removing oil and gas benefits, particularly with a stalled economy, runs counter to a fuel-neutral policy. Democratic leaders believe that subsidies should encourage nascent industries like renewable energy. They note that oil and gas is not longer a nascent industry that requires subsidies and tax breaks.
The President’s FY 2013 budget request for DOE includes:
- R&D support for clean energy technologies, including $276 million for clean coal and carbon capture and storage, and $350 million for more ARPA-E early stage R&D;
- Investing in basic science, research and innovation to solve U.S. energy challenges, ($60 million for research on energy storage systems, $120 million for the Energy Frontier Research Centers, and $140 million for six Energy Innovation Hubs for research commercialization);
- $770 million for nuclear energy, including $65 million for cost-shared awards for small modular reactors and $60 million for nuclear waste disposal research;
- $14 billion to reduce nuclear dangers and maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent and clean up the environmental hazard legacy from the Manhattan Project and the Cold War.