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SUSTAINABLE ENERGY ROUNDTABLE SERIES (SERS):


FY05 Energy Budget and the Energy Bill’s Tax Incentives: Implications for Sustainable Energy

March 2004
Moderator: Marcus D. King, Research Director, SEI

Panelists:

Dixon Butler, Ranking Minority Staff Member, House Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee
Drew Willison, Chief Minority Clerk, Senate Energy & Water Appropriations Subcomittee
Joel Darmstadter, Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future

All three of the panelists at this event stressed the need for a more level playing field between the renewable and non-renewable energy sectors. The panelists agreed that in order to stimulate growth in renewable energy markets, the government needs to take action in creating an accommodating tax policy under which budding renewable energy industries can be temporarily supported. In addition, the speakers supported greater government investment in R&D and government purchasing of power from renewable sources. Mr. Darmstadter noted that one major hindrance to renewable market growth is the continued subsidization of industries that compete with renewables, such as the coal sector. Mr. Willison pointed out that renewable energy growth is also inhibited by the usual cuts applied by the Administration to DOE’s R&D programs in order to support other programs. Mr. Butler added that energy is currently not enough of a national priority, and that the government needs to diversify its energy technology investments. He argued that instead of concentrating on developing hydrogen technologies, the government should branch out in order to stimulate markets and emphasize to the public that there are other energy options available, such as Generation IV nuclear energy technologies. De-regulation was also mentioned as a key to promoting the growth of renewable energies in the future.







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