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Funding scare, federal Wind R&D

A plan to axe much of America's federal wind programme has been removed from a bill making its way through the House of Representatives. But as of April 21, the legislation was still designed to reduce wind funding by almost 40% over the next two fiscal years.

Earlier in the month members of the House Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment had appeared close to voting on legislation that included so-called "funding limitations" for, among other things, renewable energy programmes. If passed, the proposal would have ended almost all wind commercialisation programmes -- such as the Department of Energy's Next Generation Turbine Project -- while retaining only long term scientific research.

The scare died down, however, when the sub-committee chairman allowed the proposal to be dropped without debate, much to the relief of renewables lobbyists. Even so the bill, H.R. 1277, still contained provisions that would hold wind funding steady at about $29.5 million for next fiscal year, but which would reduce it to some $18 million the year after. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) was optimistic about getting the provision removed before a full vote, probably later in April. "We think we'll be able to do it," said AWEA's Jaime Steve.

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