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Bush enthusiasm for wind may be waning

If actions speak louder than words, President George Bush's enthusiasm for wind power may not be as great as he claims. While visiting the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado, Bush said the US could generate up to 20% of its electricity needs from wind, strengthening an earlier statement during a tour of a solar plant in Michigan when he said: "They've identified 6% of the country's landmass as a good place for wind turbines that, if installed with the right technology, could have a major effect on the electricity that we all use. So we're proposing additional money for research and development." Yet the Bush Administration's fiscal year 2007 request for R&D funding for wind, at $43.8 million, is actually slightly less than the amount he originally asked for in his FY2006 budget proposal -- and less than the funds requested for a number of other technologies, including solar, nuclear and clean coal. Nonetheless, the request is up 12.8% from what Congress granted in FY2006. In his remarks at NREL, Bush said he wants to develop a comprehensive strategy for renewables. "In other words, we're not relying upon one aspect of renewable energy to help this country become less dependent. We're talking about a variety of fronts. And we're willing to work with both the public sector and private sector to make sure that we achieve breakthroughs."

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