CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today visited a wind turbine manufacturer to reinforce DOE's commitment to diversifying America's sources of renewable energy and to celebrate the anniversary of the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) - the first comprehensive energy legislation signed into law in more than a decade. The site of the visit was Clipper Windpower's Liberty Turbine production facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
"Clipper's Liberty Turbine is not only one of the most advanced wind turbines ever produced, it may well be the most efficient wind turbine in the world," Secretary Bodman said. "The turbines produced here in Cedar Rapids are an indispensable part of our strategy for the nation's energy future, one that envisions new developments in energy science and technology that will point the way toward reliable and renewable energy sources."
The Department of Energy (DOE), in close partnership with industry and other state agencies, is leading the nation's efforts to improve wind energy technology so that it can generate competitive electricity in areas with lower wind resources. DOE's goal is to reduce the cost of wind generated electricity by 2012. These turbines will be deployable in lower wind speed regions that are generally much closer to major load centers allowing the economic use of wind turbines over a geographic area 20 times larger than the previous generation of turbines.
The promise of wind energy is immense; however, reaping the full benefits from this technology rests heavily on sustaining aggressive research, development, and support programs. In his most recent State of the Union address, President Bush outlined the Advanced Energy Initiative to help break America's dependence on foreign sources of energy. The President's 2007 Budget includes $44 million for wind energy research - a $5 million increase over FY06 levels. Combined with ongoing efforts to expand access to Federal lands for wind energy development, this new funding will help dramatically increase the use of wind energy in the United States.
Today's trip to Iowa is part of a series of events highlighting the first anniversary of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which President Bush signed on August 8, 2005. A kick-off event was held in Washington, D.C., with Secretary Bodman and two Chairmen of Congressional Committees, Senator Pete Domenici and Congressman Joe Barton.
Earlier today, Secretary Bodman traveled to Joliet, Illinois, where he announced $250 million for two new bioenergy centers. The bioenergy centers will accelerate basic research on the development of cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels, which will help us reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy. Universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations and private firms are eligible to compete for an award to establish and operate a center. The centers are expected to begin work in 2008 and be fully operational by 2009.
Along with the continued work in wind energy, DOE will issue guidelines for loan guarantees that will facilitate private efforts, bringing the most promising clean energy technologies to market. And the Department will outline a new risk insurance program to guard against bureaucratic hurdles in getting new nuclear power plants up and running. DOE will also release a report identifying the most critical areas of electricity transmission congestion.
Craig Stevens, (202) 586-4940