Clinton says he will axe $10.6 billion over five years from the Department of Energy (DOE) as part of his promised $78 billion in federal budget cuts. In December, Susan Tierney, the DOE's assistant secretary for policy, planning and evaluation, said that efficiency, renewables and gas will remain department priorities -- but that everyone is likely to feel the pinch.
Even so, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) does not see the next wind budget proposed by Clinton as being lower. The White House is expected to propose "level" of funding for fiscal year 1996, to start in eight months, says AWEA's Randy Swisher. But he cautions that the new US Congress is more of an unknown. Since the congressional session started in January, the right-of-centre Republicans have controlled both houses on Capitol Hill for the first time in decades.
Although the fiscal year 1995 budget has been approved and appropriated, Congress members could use the so-called revision process to cut it. But he says the likelihood of the Republican's goals of massively cutting government and balancing the budget is uncertain. Although they want cuts, there is little agreement on what is dispensable. "The more you look at the specifics, the less consensus you see," says Swisher.