United States

United States

Budget looking healthier

Next year's federal budget for wind is still on a see-saw, but it is looking far healthier. The US Senate on July 30 restored wind's funding to $31.5 million, far higher than its earlier proposal of just $16.5 million for federal research and development. Earlier in July, the House of Representatives had also upped wind's funding to $22.5 million, which would bring wind's total for fiscal year 1997 up to $28.5 million -- almost as high as this fiscal year's $32.5 million. Both parts of the US Congress are expected by wind lobbyists to iron out any differences between their proposed energy budgets this month, so that a final bill is ready in September. The final wind budget, somewhere between $28.5-31.5 million, should mean that wind will be cut by no more than about 12%, which is in line with the predictions of the American Wind Energy Association (Windpower Monthly, July 1996). Wind could have done much worse, especially in an election year. The overall proposed energy and water budget of $19.4 billion includes increases for nuclear power. At various points, all funding for the Department of Energy has been cut, essentially closing it down. In early July, a House panel had also voted to cut all wind monies, although not long after $6 million was restored in an amendment.

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