“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” - Often attributed to Plato but likely from Ian McLaren (pseudonym of Reverend John Watson)

Friday, June 28, 2013


A couple of things will come as no surprise to my regular readers. The first is that I consider myself to be a true conservative and that the foolishness, hypocrisy, obstructionism, and fact-free opining that passes for conservative commentary today is a source of deep embarrassment to me. The second is that I consider the ability to ensure a reliable and sustainable supply of primary energy to be one of, if not the, greatest and most important challenges we face not only in our nation but in the world (the other possibilities include "peak everything" and self-poisoning of our species, the latter including pollution of all types, CO2 emissions, etc.).

Thus, it is deeply disappointing, though not particularly surprising, that the full House Appropriations Committee approved along party lines, a bill with deep cuts to renewable energy projects and, particularly, to arpa-e, an organization whose annual "Energy Innovation Summit" I've attended the last three years. The $30.4B bill is $2.9B below the 2013 level and $700M below the sequestration level. arpa-e, in particular, received a cut from $252M to $50M, a reduction of 80.8%. This is tantamount to the committee saying "we don't want arpa-e." President Obama (of whom I'm certainly no fan) requested $379M. You can read the committee's press release here.

arpa-e is engaged in funding of high risk, high reward projects in the energy field and funds technologies from fuels and generation to storage to distribution to control, as well as carbon capture, efficiency in buildings, transportation technologies, and many others. Can anyone deny that these technologies constitute the way forward in a coming (if not here already) time of energy limits?

Energy Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinguysen (R-N.J.) was quoted as saying "It is our job to make do with what we have, not with what we hope to have." I wonder where the money could possibly be found?

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