DOE funds carbon capture with $340M & solar with $24M, Sigh

Thursday, August 14, 2008

From an article by Craig Rubens on

In the last two days, the Department of Energy has announced $24 million worth of new investments in solar energy while also revealing it’s putting a whopping $340 million into yet more clean coal research. In conjunction with the funding announcements, the DOE says it’s “committed to…developing the technologies that will ensure coal can be used,” but at the same time describes solar as “an important component of our comprehensive strategy to commercialize and deploy advanced, clean, alternative technologies.”

Parsing the language indicates this administration’s bias toward clean coal, but the numbers speak even louder. Since 2001 the DOE has put more than $2.5 billion into clean coal, including millions sunk into the scuttled FutureGen project. This week’s $340 million is part of President Bush’s $2 billion, 10-Year Clean Coal Initiative, but is separate from the $1.3 billion announced with the “restructuring” of the FutureGen project.

The DOE was not able to immediately provide us with the total amount of federal funding that solar projects have received, but we do know that the agency announced $60 million earlier this year and $168 million last year for solar projects. We’re sure that’s not the entire amount, but seems to come in significantly under its clean coal budget.