WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) today expressed disappointment with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) continued funding cuts for energy efficiency in its FY 2006 budget request. Energy efficiency funding fell by about $20 million, or more than 2%, compared to the FY 2005 level. Since FY 2002, DOE research and development spending on efficiency has fallen by $50 million. Corrected for inflation, this represents a 15% drop in federal support for energy efficiency.
"The DOE budget backs away from the President's State of the Union energy policy goals, which called for an increased commitment to energy efficiency," said ACEEE Policy Director Bill Prindle. "Congress needs to raise the Administration's request if we are going to find real solutions to our pressing energy challenges."
Energy efficiency has been shown to be America's best remedy for the high oil and natural gas prices that continue to cut jobs and sap our economic strength. Recent ACEEE analysis illustrated that modest, cost-effective energy savings would have a major softening effect on natural gas prices. The study, found at http://aceee.org/energy/efnatgas-study.htm, showed that over the next one to five years, a 4–5% savings in gas usage would cut wholesale prices by 25% and would return over $100 billion in savings to the economy.
Although energy legislation under consideration in Congress could improve efficiency through better appliance standards, tax incentives, and other measures, the fastest way to respond to America's pressing energy problems would be for the Administration to ramp up spending on the deployment programs that would help consumers save energy now.
ACEEE therefore recommends increased spending for key efficiency programs, including DOE's appliance standards program, which saves more energy than any other DOE program. ACEEE also recommends increases for the ENERGY STAR® programs at DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, plus several other DOE deployment initiatives in the transportation, industry, buildings, and intergovernmental programs.