Obama wants oil companies to pick up $2bn advanced vehicles tab

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The headline-grabbing and potentially provocative policy as far as the Republican dominated House of Representatives is concerned, was the President’s call for a US$2 billion fund to back research into cleaner transport development up to 2023.

Under the proposed Energy Security Trust, which President Obama wants to establish, the funding would come from royalties paid by oil and gas companies developing the federal owned Outer Continental Shelf.

The trust, if established, would invest in research and development into advanced vehicles fuelled by renewably generated electricity as well as homegrown biofuels, U.S. natural gas and fuel cells.

The President has also called for the Production Tax Credit for renewable energy to be made permanent, another proposal which will set him on a collision course with the Republicans as the White House press release announcing the clean energy proposals said such tax credits would be applied "instead of continuing centuries old subsidies to oil companies."

President Obama wants to allocate a one-off $200 million, performance-based funding pot for states achieving success in energy efficiency and modernizing grids.

Finally the President has announced a 20% rise in the Bureau of Land Management budget to help streamline the permitting process for energy projects.

It now remains to be seen whether the President can put his proposals into action in the face of defiance from the House of Representatives, whose Republican-dominated Energy and Commerce Committee is already pressing the Environmental Protection Agency for details of its clean energy plans which, it says, will further hit U.S. businesses with excessive regulation.

The U.S. Department of Energy has also announced plans to share resources with those of the Sultanate of Brunei’s newly established Brunei National Energy Research Institute, after a visit from the Sultan of Brunei, His Majesty Hassanal Bolkiah, to the White House.

The countries will work to find ways of reducing policy barriers to renewable energy investment in East Asia Summit (EAS) countries – including the U.S., China, India and Japan – will share the results of testing at the U.S. Clean Energy Solutions Center and Brunei’s new solar demonstration facility and will share renewable energy mapping information for ASEAN countries.

The co-operation will also look at the effects of climate change on hydropower and sustainable hydro development.