Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk. [Page: H5070]
The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will report the amendment.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order on the gentlewoman's amendment.
The Acting CHAIR. A point of order is reserved.
Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Eshoo) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California.
Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I offer this amendment to help promote a dynamic energy market in America through continued development of our budding solar industry. My amendment conservatively would transfer $10 million from administrative costs within the Department of Energy and shift those to solar energy research and development within the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy account.
Certainly I understand the difficulty in drafting this bill, given the large allocation cuts for the Energy and Water Subcommittee, and I appreciate the chairman's work and the ranking member's work in helping America meet the energy and water challenges of our Nation, which are huge. Yet this bill cuts research in solar energy by more than one-third from last year and over 60 percent from the President's request, providing $166 million--$97 million below fiscal year 2011 and $291 million below
The $10 million transfer I propose from administration to implementation represents less than 5 percent of the funds in the administrative budget of the Department of Energy. I want to make clear that this amendment does not target other programs that are critical to our Nation's energy needs. Rather than cut fossil fuels and nuclear power, this amendment asks the Department of Energy to tighten its administrative belt a little bit more to prioritize the administration's core mission, the promotion
of a viable energy future for America, and to do it in a sector that is growing jobs in our country despite what we face in terms of international global competition.
While this amendment proposes a modest 5 percent cut from the Department's administrative accounts, these dollars will go far in supporting additional energy options for American consumers and companies.
Solar energy production has nearly tripled in the last 5 years. In 2006, we generated 508,000 megawatt hours. Today, we produce 1.4 million megawatt hours annually. And I can't wait until it is 100 million.
Ernst & Young predicts the cost of solar will decrease by as much as half next year. And while the U.S. economy is anticipated to increase jobs by just 2 percent over the next year, in the solar industry that number is 26 percent, according to Cornell University. As costs go down and production capacity grows, solar energy becomes a viable alternative to imported energy sources. And this is exactly what our country needs right now: a vibrant energy market that gives Americans choices and encourages
economic growth here at home.
Now, some would argue that with numbers like these, solar energy doesn't need anything, any additional funding, but I disagree. It is precisely because of our investment in this fledgling, cutting-edge industry that is high tech that such successes are possible. We cannot allow America to be complacent. Right now we are in competition to be the energy leader of the future in this sector. For years, we were the leader in developing new technology, but we have been falling behind. And guess who
has been right at our heels the whole time: China. China knows that our technology will power the future, and they are setting themselves up to be the new global leaders in solar. I can verify that.
As we sat back and patted ourselves here, China exponentially increased their funding for solar and other clean energy technology. In addition, they are providing 15-year tax holidays for firms that locate production there. So as we develop this very fledgling industry here, they are more than willing to outsource it there. So we must redouble our efforts and continue our investment in research and bring this market to scale in America.
Right now, we are powering homes and some bases with solar. We should be powering neighborhoods and entire communities. That's what it means to have the real thriving, new energy market that Americans are demanding, and the jobs that go with them.
This amendment will create increased efficiency within the Department of Energy and promote American industry and energy independence. I ask my colleagues to think about it and help me by supporting this amendment which merely takes less than 5 percent of the administrative budget of the Department of Energy, $10 million--we are not talking about billions here--and shifts it to the Solar Energy account. I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting the Kaptur amendment for solar.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. The gentlewoman's amendment would reduce funding in the departmental accounts. Because of quite a few amendments we [Page: H5060]
have already passed on the floor, your reduction would not be a 5 percent reduction; it probably would be a 10 percent reduction.
I know generally there is not a lot of sympathy for administrative responsibilities in the Department of Energy, but this would leave Secretary Steve Chu with not perhaps enough people in his operation to oversee a lot of issues that he has before him, including solar energy.
May I say for the record, the Solar Energy account in the Department of Energy budget is $166 million. It is less than perhaps what it should be, but if you take it from the Department administrative account, we will have, I think, cause for more managerial problems to deal with. We also, may I say, have in the Energy Efficiency and Renewable program, as I have mentioned on a number of occasions, $9 billion of unspent stimulus funds. So there is plenty of money in here, and I don't think that
the Department salaries and wages ought to suffer and be reduced at a time when they need the additional leadership over there. I somewhat reluctantly oppose your amendment and urge my colleagues to do so as well.
I yield back the balance of my time.