Power? Who needs it.
In other news that affects Washington State it appears that the 2007 fiscal budget from the Bush administration erases funding for some renewable energy sources. Specifically canceled is budgeting for geothermal and hydropower energy (Washington state gets over 75% (PDF) of its energy from hydropower). While this cut is only $25M ($1M for hydropower, $24M for geothermal), it is significant to these industries. The administration uses the excuse that these are “mature technologies” and that previous government funding can be taken over by private sources. Also, in fairness it looks like this cut does not affect wind, solar, and some other renewable energy source research.
I can’t expect that a $25M cut is really going to save any money in the budget. A small cut like that is likely just going to be eaten up into some other pet cause. On the other hand, $1M could mean a lot to groups researching and developing hydropower. According to this article there are quite a few technical developments in the hydropower world that could change it drastically. We’re not talking just dam power; there are numerous ways to harness energy from the tides and waves in the ocean as well.
I don’t think that now is a time to cut funding for any potential energy research, especially renewable sources. I doubt that any of our future energy requirements are going to be fulfilled by an “silver bullet”, so research into lots of technologies is key. Hopefully the Senate or the House will raise their voices and oppose this cut.