Clinton keeps big budget alive

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President Clinton's proposed wind budget was not axed as feared and remains at about the level originally anticipated. A wind budget of $51.7 million was proposed for fiscal year 1995 by President Clinton on February 9, up from $30.353 million in fiscal year 1994.

The increase for wind is 70%, compared with the far lower increase of 15% for renewables overall -- specifically, 21% for photovoltaics, and 10% for solar thermal. "We must ensure that our budget request is completely aligned with our new mission and goals. The budget request reflects such an alignment," says Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary.

"The goal in FY95 will be to create jobs, reduce emissions, move technology into the market-place and increase US competitiveness and US exports abroad," adds O'Leary, head of the Department of Energy (DOE).

"We are pleased with the DOE's clear vote of confidence in wind," comments Mike Marvin of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). "The department has recognised wind as the near-term renewable technology and has funded its programmes accordingly." Versions of the budget must now pass through each house in the Congress and differences have to be ironed out in a conference committee.

Much of the hike is an $18 million allocation for wind commercialisation projects, says AWEA's Randy Swisher. "I'm thrilled with a 70% increase -- that's more than any other technology got that I'm aware of," he says. The wind increase comes as part of a budget that cut about 115 federal programmes, axed nuclear energy research and development spending by one-quarter, and spent $1.52 trillion overall, reducing the federal deficit to $176.1 billion.

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