US could get clean energy upgrade by early summer

February 20th, 2009 - 5:59 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 20 (DPA) Renewable energy in the US could get a significant cash boost by early summer after President Barack Obama signed a massive $787-billion economic stimulus package this week, the administration said Thursday.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said his department was doing its best to speed up the evaluation of new projects and expected about 70 percent of the total energy funds to be used by the end of 2010.

More than $100 billion of the stimulus package was designated for renewable energy investments, tax incentives for new research and upgrading the country’s electricity grid. Obama has called “green jobs” a key element of his plans to pull the US economy out of a deep recession.

“We need to start this work in a matter of months, not years,” Chu told reporters at a Platts Energy Podium forum in Washington. Platts Energy is an energy industry group.

Obama has set a goal of doubling renewable energy production over the next two years, but Chu acknowledged the administration could not yet identify exactly which clean technologies were the most promising.

“Right now, quite frankly, it is not a slam dunk which technology is the right one,” Chu said.

Chu said many production-ready wind and solar projects in the US would get priority.

The funds would also be invested in future sources of clean energy. That includes research on carbon capture and storage techniques that could improve coal-fired power plants, the country’s chief source of electricity but also its dirtiest.

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