US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has said that America wants to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world when it comes to sustainability.
He was speaking as he unveiled President Barack Obama’s $29.5bn (£18.2bn) energy budget.
Mr Chu said: “The United States faces a choice today: will we lead in innovation and out-compete the rest of the world or will we fall behind? To lead the world in clean energy, we must act now. We can’t afford not to. Through our investments, we are laying the groundwork for the nation’s future prosperity and security.”
Highlights of the 2012 energy budget are a target of generating 80% of America’s electricity from clean sources by 2035; $3.2bn (£1.9bn) for energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes; $300m in credit subsidies to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; and $36bn in loan guarantees to “help jumpstart” the domestic nuclear industry, which it is hoped will result in the construction of up to 13 new reactors.
However, the Obama administration has also cut funding to some energy organisations. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has had funding for its hydrogen technology programme slashed by more than 40%, or nearly $70m, and the budget for the Fossil Energy Office has been reduced by 45%, or $418m.