A key House committee has approved a $21 million hike in the US wind energy budget for fiscal year 1995. In late May the Energy and Water Sub-committee approved $51.71 million for research, development and commercialisation, giving a boost to the Clinton administration's focus on increased support for renewable energy and efficiency. The budget includes $18 million for commercialisation activities and $33.7 million for traditional R&D, such as the advanced wind turbine programme. The vote is considered the key hurdle on the House side of the Capitol, although votes in the Senate are always less certain for wind. "We typically find, once the Energy and Water Sub-committee has voted, the rest of the House follows suit," says Randy Swisher of the American Wind Energy Association. He is "relatively confident" the funding level will pass in the Senate. "But you never know until they mark it up," he adds.
In other Capitol Hill news, the Agency for International Development (AID) has been told to boost its support for renewables. The Appropriations Committee's Sub-committee on Foreign Operations passed its fiscal year 1995 foreign aid bill, including $25 million for AID's Office of Energy. The sub-committee urged AID to invest a minimum of $20 million in "replicable" renewable energy projects such as wind energy.