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Increase requested

A 48% increase in wind research and development funding has been called for by the Clinton Administration. The White House's request for $42.858 million for the Department of Energy wind programme next fiscal year is significantly lower than last year's $49.65 million request.

A substantial increase in wind research and development funding has been called for by the Clinton Administration. The White House's request, issued on February 6, is for $42.858 million for the Department of Energy wind programme next fiscal year, or the equivalent of a 48% increase in what was approved by the US Congress for the current year fiscal year, FY 97, which ends on September 30.

Clinton's request, however, is significantly lower than his request a year ago of $49.65 million. It is also Clinton's first budget proposal as a "lame duck" president, but the proposed amount for wind seems more reflective of Clinton's much-vaunted promise to co-operate with the US Congress. When first elected, Clinton had positioned himself as more pro-environment.

The Sustainable Energy Coalition had urged Clinton not to retreat from his commitments, recommending wind funding of $50 million -- out of a total renewables and efficiency budget of $1.1 billion -- just two days earlier on February 4. It described the total $1.1 billion as the "minimum level of funding necessary to maintain progress in advancing these technologies that are critical to the prosperity of the United States in the 21st Century."

The total in Clinton's request for Fiscal Year '98 for renewables and energy efficiency is $1.052 billion, instead of the $1 billion the administration had apparently been contemplating. The wind proposal includes $14.1 million for applied research, $19.7 million for turbine research, and $9.06 million for co-operative research and testing.

Over the last two years, renewable energy and energy efficiency have suffered deep cuts. The budget for FY '96 was cut by one-quarter, far more than the average of 9% cuts for all federal programmes.

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