President Barack Obama submitted his proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget to Congress on 10th April, 66 days after the legal deadline. The law does not subject the President to any penalties for missing the 4th February deadline, but no previous President has submitted his proposed budget more than a few days late. The budget proposes to increase federal spending by nearly five percent over the current fiscal year.
Subsidies for renewable energy and energy efficiency total $23 billion over ten years. Astonishingly, the President proposes to make wind, solar, and geothermal subsidies permanent. According to a White House fact sheet: “To provide a strong, consistent incentive to encourage investments in renewable energy technologies and to help meet our goal to double generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources by 2020, the Budget would make permanent the tax credit for the production of renewable electricity. The Budget makes the Production Tax Credit refundable so new, growing firms can benefit and provide renewable electricity generation.”
For decades, the leaders in the wind and solar industries have told Congress that they just need a few more years of subsidies before they become competitive with energy produced from conventional sources. Last December, during the debate over whether to extend the wind subsidy for another year, the American Wind Energy Association came forward with a plan to phase out the subsidy over six years. The Obama Administration has concluded that wind and solar will never become competitive with coal and natural gas.