The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) says a 2016 spending bill for energy and water programs contains about $70 million in budget cuts for wind energy research and development (R&D).
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, chaired by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., passed the spending bill on May 21, just before Congress adjourned for a recess.
According to AWEA, the full House approved its own version of the bill earlier in May by a vote of 240-177. The White House has threatened a veto unless the bill is changed later in the appropriations process, which reportedly is far from over.
AWEA is urging the R&D cuts to be restored.
Research at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has helped advance technologies and drive down the cost of wind power and other renewables, explains Tom Kiernan, CEO at AWEA.
‘It's not right to single out wind energy for these budget cuts when it benefits so many people and has such broad support,’ he says.
DOE investment in research has driven wind technology forward, including funding radar technology to more accurately measure and model wind flow at project sites. Previous funding spurred innovative wind turbine blade designs, which led to a 12% increase in energy captured.
DOE field tests validated several ways of ensuring that wind farms can co-exist with radar at airports and military bases, working in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Department of Defense, Homeland Security and the National Weather Service.
‘Just when we're making so much progress on wind energy technologies that Americans need and want, now is not the time to stop,’ Kiernan says.’These research budget cuts must be restored.’