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Energy Secretary Highlights Hydrogen Fuel Initiative In Western New York

February 23, 2006 - 12:23pm

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HONEOYE FALLS, NY - Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman highlighted President Bush's $1.2 billion, five-year commitment to the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative while visiting General Motors Fuel Cell Activities in western New York today.  As part of President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 budget request for the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative is being increased by $53 million over FY 2006 to $289.5 million.

"Developing hydrogen as a key energy source for automobiles is an important step in diversifying our nation's energy mix," Secretary Bodman said.  "If we can fully implement the promise of hydrogen fuel cells, we can significantly reduce our reliance on foreign sources of oil within the next two decades."

The president's goal is to enable an industry commitment to commercialize fuel cell vehicles and a hydrogen infrastructure - which primarily includes fueling stations, storage, and transportation - by 2015.

General Motors has been involved in automotive fuel cell research and development since the mid-1980s and has partnered with Shell Hydrogen to participate in DOE's National Hydrogen Learning Demonstration Project.  The demonstration project is a unique collaboration of automobile and energy industry partners and the federal government to assess hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and infrastructure technology.  The goal of the project is to allow for a commercialization decision by manufacturers by 2015 with the potential to see hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in showrooms by 2020.

During today's event at General Motors, Secretary Bodman discussed the importance of two key energy-related initiatives announced by President Bush in his State of the Union address.  The Advanced Energy Initiative requests $2.1 billion, a 22 percent budget increase, to develop new technologies and alternative sources of energy to help diversify and strengthen America's energy mix.  The American Competitiveness Initiative is a multi-agency commitment to ensure that America remains competitive in the global marketplace.  Funding for scientific research will double to nearly $19.5 billion in 2016 at DOE's Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology.  The funding increase will begin in FY 2007 with the three offices receiving a total of $10.66 billion, an increase of 9.3% over FY 2006.

As part of the Bush Administration's broader effort to promote production and use of alternative and renewable sources of energy, Administration officials are traveling the country to promote President Bush's energy initiatives.  Secretary Bodman will make a total of four stops around the country this week, promoting the Advanced Energy and American Competitiveness Initiatives, in addition to highlighting a number of energy efficiency programs, notably biomass (including cellulosic ethanol), and solar.

Yesterday, Secretary Bodman met with students and teachers at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia, to discuss the importance of science and math education.  Also yesterday, Secretary Bodman toured the Archer Daniels Midland Ethanol plant in Decatur, Illinois, and announced a $160 million solicitation for Biorefinery Construction.  Earlier this afternoon, Secretary Bodman visited GT Solar Technologies in Merrimack, New Hampshire, to promote President Bush's Solar America Initiative, which seeks to accelerate the widespread acceptance of clean solar energy technologies throughout the U.S. by 2015.

Also this week, DOE Assistant Secretary Karen Harbert will visit green manufacturer Steelcase Wood Plant in Grand Rapids, and provide remarks at the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center, in Muskegon, Michigan; Assistant Secretary Jeff Jarrett will visit the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, West Virginia; and Assistant Secretary John Shaw delivered remarks at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Acting Assistant Secretary Doug Faulkner will make two stops, in the first, he delivered remarks at a biofuels conference in Auburn, Alabama, the second to deliver remarks at the Gerdau Ameristeel Steel Mill Energy Savings Assessment in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

Media contact(s):
Craig Stevens, 202/586-4940

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