rep for the Union of Concerned Scientists. UCS is a public interest
orgÂ£inization here in town dedicated to advancing responsible pub-
lic policies in areas where science and technology play a critical
role. Thank you for the opportunity to testify.
Before jumping into specific budget numbers and programs, I
would like to sincerely thank two members of this panel, Mr. Riggs
and Mr. Fazio, for joining the brand new House Renewable Energy
Caucus just recently established by Chairman Dan Schaefer from
Colorado. Other key members of the panel, or key members who
helped form the panel, are Representatives Klug, Richardson,
Salmon, Thurman, Ehlers, and Minge.
Members of this panel may be aware that Chairman Schaefer
will formally launch the Renewable Energy Caucus at a reception
on Wednesday, March 6, in room 2325, Rayburn.
Jumping right into the fiscal year 1997 budget, UCS urges this
panel to approve the 1998 renewable energy budget request that
approximates the fiscal year 1995 funding level adopted by Con-
gress. This would place fiscal year 1997 renewables funding at ap-
proximately $400 million.
Yes, I am another person coming up asking for money, but I am
also a person who will suggest where it can be found. This can be
accomplished while also reducing the overall DOE budget, specifi-
cally by cutting at least $65 million from DOE's Fusion Energy
Mr. Myers. He is meddling now, isn't he?
Mr. Steve. My apologies, Mr. Frelinghuysen.
UCS supports increased funding for research and demonstration
of all forms of clean, renewable energy that have been represented
here today for the following reasons, which are economic reasons,
rural and industrial development reasons, national energy security
reasons, and, of course, environmental.
First, Federal R&D investments have brought renewable energy
technologies to the verge of commercial success. You have heard
the wind example: 80 to 90 percent reductions in the cost of these
Second, commercial successes for renewables within the U.S. will
spur economic growth by creating thousands of new jobs, many of
them in manufacturing and many in rural areas seeking economic
Furthermore, instead of allowing over $50 billion a year to flow
out of our country to purchase imported fuel, that money could and
should stay here in the United States to help provide U.S. manu-
facturing jobs for renewables and agricultural production.
Third, domestic commercial success for renewables will also help
U.S. companies compete in this emerging market international
Fourth, commercialization of these technologies would provide
assurance against gradual or sudden increases in the cost of fossil
fuels â€” I am particularly talking about oil â€” which we had seen in
the 1970s and again during the Persian Gulf War to a lesser ex-
While some may deem these energy price shocks as footnotes in
history, many leading economic and energy analysts, including
high-level officials at DOE, anticipate another serious oil price
shock sometime in the next decade.
Lastly, and of equal importance with the economic and national
security concerns, is the fact that renewable energy offers virtually
pollution-free power with few or no emissions of smog-forming pol-
lutants, like nitrogen oxides, acid-rain-forming chemicals like sul-
fur, and carbon dioxide gases, strongly linked to global climate
In short, renewable energy technologies, once commercialized,
can help hold down the overall cost to tÂ£ixpayers of preserving the
environment and protecting people's health.
Let me jump quickly into biomass. You have heard various defi-
nitions of biomass. I have a brief one. Biomass is essentially any
organic matter available on a renewable basis for conversion to en-
ergy. While biomass can also be used to produce transportation
fuels and chemical products, I want to focus on DOE's efforts to
commercialize technologies for converting biomass resources into
low-cost electric power.
Electricity from biomass is particularly important right now be-
cause biomass crops can provide farmers with an additional high-
value crop at the very time â€” today the House is voting on the farm
bill â€” at the very time when changes in Federal agriculture policy
are likely to begin removing traditional support for commodity
crops such as corn and wheat.
Biomass has the potential to generate two-thirds of America's
electricity needs, reduce net carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, re-
duce sulfur dioxide, and many other benefits. Biomass has a near-
term potential to do all these things, and, as a direct result of Fed-
eral support over the past 3 years, the technology to do so is near-
However, for biomass to achieve its potential, it is essential that
Congress provide a fiscal year 1997 budget closer to the wholly jus-
tified fiscal year 1996 administration request of $80 million.
The biomass program is of particular â€” the biomass power pro-
gram is of particular importance. About 10 biomass power and eth-
anol power projects throughout the country are currently midway
through demonstration. These projects, each of which requires in-
dustry to pay at least a 50-50 cost share, include projects in Ver-
mont, two projects in Hawaii, Minnesota, Kansas, and Chariton
Do you want me to sum up? Okay.
Without Federal support, most of the projects I have listed will
not survive to prove their commercial viability and investments
today will have been wasted. This would be a shame.
On average, each of these minimum 50-50 cost shares requires
approximately $2 million over the next 2 to 3 years.
In conclusion, for every taxpayer dollar spent on renewable en-
ergy R&D, the Federal Government is providing America with
rural economic revitalization, development of high-technology in-
dustries, increased national energy security, and a cleaner environ-
ment. I ask you to apply these criteria to all the programs that are
under your jurisdiction.
Thank you again.
Mr. Myers. Well, thank you, Mr. Steve.
We apologize to all of you. We have several hundred witnesses
and we have to stay pretty close to schedule, so I hope you will un-
[The statement of Mr. Steve follows:]
TESTIMONY OF JAIME STEVE, ESQ.
ON BEHALF OF
THE UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Febniaiy 29, 1996
Good aflemoon. My name is Jaime Steve and 1 serve as Washington, DC. representative for
the Union of Concerned Scientists. UCS is a public interest organization dedicated to advancing
responsible public policies in areas where science and technology play a critical role. I appreciate the
opportunity to testify regarding the fiscal 1997 budget for renewable energy programs.
House Renewable Energy Caucus
Before jumping into specific budget numbers and programs 1 would like to sincerely thank
Rep. Riggs (R-Calif ) and Rep Fazio (D-Calif ) of this panel for joining the new House Renewable
Energy Caucus launched by House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Dan Schaefer of
Colorado. Other key members in forming this information-sharing group are Reps. Klug (R-Wis.),
Richardson (D-NM), Salmon (R-Ariz.), Thurman (D-FIa), Ehlers (R-Mich.), and Minge (D-Minn.).
As members of this panel may be aware. Chairman Schaefer will formally launch the Renewable
Energy Caucus at a reception on Wednesday March 6 at 10:00 a.m. in room 232S Raybum.
Overall Renewable Energy Budget Recommendation
Returning to the fiscal 1997 budget, UCS urges this panel to approve a fiscal '97 renewable
energy budget that approximates the fiscal 1995 funding level adopted by Congress. This would place
Fiscal '97 renewables funding at approximately $400 million, thus maintaining the steady and
reasonable increases that began during the Bush Administration. This can be accomplished while also
reducing the overall Department of Energy budget. Specifically, by cutting at least S6S million in
DOE's fusion energy program.
UCS supports increased funding for research and demonstration of all forms of clean
renewable energy represented here today ~ including wind, solar, geothermal, hydro power, and
biomass ~ for the following economic, rural and industrial development, national energy security, and
â– hington Offlca: 1616 P StrMt NW Suit* 310 â€¢ Washington, DC 20036 â€¢ 202-332-0900 â€¢ FAX: 202-332-0905
Cambridge Headquarters: Two Brattle Square â€¢ Cambridge. MA 02238 â€¢617-547-5552 â€¢ FAX 617-864-9405
Calitornia Office: 2397 Shattuck Avenue Suite 203Â« Berkeley. CA 94704 â€¢ 510-843-1872' FAX 510-843-3785
* First, Federal R&D investments have brought renewable energy technologies to the verge of
commercial success. For example, since the early 1980's, the cost of wind power has fallen by 80
* Second, commercial success for renewables within the US will spur economic growth by creating
thousands of new jobs - many of them in manufacturing and many in rural areas Furthermore,
instead of allowing over SSO billion a year to flow out of our country to purchase imported fuel, that
money could and should stay in the US, providing jobs in manufacturing renewable energy
technologies and agricultural production of energy crops.
* Third, domestic commercial success for renewables also will help US companies compete in the
burgeoning multi-billion dollar export market for renewable energy technologies. At least one-third of
the world's population - over 2 billion people - do not have access to reliable electricity. Currently,
most developing countries are turning to small-scale, clean renewable technologies to fill this need.
The US is poised to become the supplier of choice to these countries, but not without continued
federal investments to help finish building the foundation for renewables to flourish in the market.
* Fourth, commercialization of these technologies would provide insurance against gradual or sudden
increases in the cost of fossil fuels, such as were seen in the 1970's and again during the Persian Gulf
War. While some may deem these energy price shocks as footnotes in history, many leading
economic and energy analysts, including high-level officials at DOE, anticipate another serious oil
price shock sometime in the next decade.
* Lastly, and of equal importance with economic and energy security concerns, renewable energy
offers virtually pollution-free power with few or no emissions of smog -forming pollutants like nitrogen
oxide, acid rain forming chemicals like sulfur, and carbon dioxide gases strongly linked to global
In short: renewable energy technologies - once commercialized - can help hold down the
overall cost to taxpayers of preserving the environment and protecting people's health.
While UCS supports all renewable technologies being considered by this panel, 1 would like
to highlight biomass technologies, which offer great potential for producing jobs, revitalizing rural
economies, and developing cleaner domestic sources of energy.
Biomass is essentially any organic matter available on a renewable basis for conversion to
energy. This includes, agricultural crops and residues, commercial wood and logging residues, animal
wastes, and the organic portion of municipal solid waste. Biomass resources, which may be solid,
liquid, or gas, are derived from these raw materials, known as feedstocks.
While biomass can also be used to produce transportation fuels and chemical products, I want
to focus on DOE's effort to develop and commercialize technologies for converting biomass resources
into low-cost electric power. Electricity from biomass is particularly important right now because
biomass energy crops can provide farmers with an additional high-value cash crop at the veiy time
when changes in federal agriculture policy are likely to begin removing traditional federal support for
commodity crops such as com and wheat. Biomass in its many forms has the potential to:
â€¢ create at least 300,000 jobs, mainly in the agricultural sector;
â€¢ generate up to two-thirds of America's electricity needs;
â€¢ reduce net carbon dioxide (C02) emissions by 90 percent;
â€¢ cut sulfur dioxide (S02) emissions by 70 percent,
â€¢ reduce the country's solid waste disposal problem; and
â€¢ reduce federal payments to farmers under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), while
p^serving the soil conservation and wildlife habitat protection benefits of the CRP.
Biomass has the near-term potential to do all these things, and, as the direct result of federal
support over the past three years, the technology to do so is nearing commercialization. However, for
biomass to achieve its potential it is essential that Congress provide a fiscal 1997 budget closer to the
wholly justified fiscal 1996 Administration request of $80 million for the entire biomass program
(including biofuels, biopower, industrial uses, and the regional biomass program).
The biopower program is of particular importance. About ten biomass power and ethanol-
power projects throughout the country are currently mid-way through demonstrating the commercial
viability of different power options. These projects - each of which requires industry to pay at least
50 percent of the costs - include:
1) the Vermont wood chip gasification power project ; (Burlington, VT)
2) the Hawaii sugarcane gasification power project ; (Maui, HI)
3) the Hawaii sugarcane gasification ethanol/power project ;
4) the Minnesota alfalfa gasification project ;
5) the Kansas switchgrass pvrolvsis project :
6) the Chanton Vallev (Iowa) switchgrass co-firing project ;
7) the Niagara Mohawk Olew York) willow co-firing project :
8) the Florida energy cane ethanol and power project ;
9) the California sorghum -kenaf ethanol cogeneralion project.
10) the California nee straw ethanol cogeneralion project (Gridley, Calif)
Need/Justification for Additional Investments
An increase â€” placing these programs at roughly the fiscal 1996 administration request -
would support demonstrations of additional technologies and feedstocks. The technologies vary from
co-firing with coal, to gasification with a combined cycle turbine, and combined ethanol and power
production facilities. The feedstocks range from com cobs to alfalfa, and from wood chips and
sawdust to specially grown energy crops such as hybnd poplar trees, willows, and switchgrass. Many
of these biomass resources are best developed in different parts of the countr>', therefore requiring
targeted assistance in commercialization. For this reason, geographically dispersed demonstrations are
the best method to develop new technologies, build regional markets, and accelerate
Without federal support, most of the projects I have listed will not survive to prove their
commercial viability and investments to date will have been wasted. This would be a shame, for these
projects are aimed at proving their economic worth within the foreseeable future. On average, each of
these minimum 50/50 cost share projects are likely to need approximately $2 million per year for the
next two to three years. For the biopower program overall, we suggest at least $30 million for fiscal
1997 to fund the projects I have mentioned and other components of the biopower program.
For every taxpayer dollar spent on renewable energy R&D, the federal government is
providing America with rural economic revitalization, development of high-technology industries,
increased national energy security, and a cleaner environment. If you apply these criteria to each
energy program under your Jurisdiction, you will find that dollar-for-dollar there is no better bargain
than renewable energy research and development.
Again, I thank you for the chance to share our views with you on these important programs.
Members of the
House Renewable Energy Caucus
as of February 28, 1 996
Dan Schaefer (R-Colo.)
Scott Klug (R-WiBc.)
Karen Thuman (D-Fla.)
Bill Richardson (D-N.M.)
David Hinge (D-Minn.)
Vem Ehlers (R-Mich.)
Matt Salmon (R-Arii.)
Victor 0. Frazer (1-v.i.)
Gerald 0. Kleczka (D-Wisc.)
Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.)
Constance A. Morella (R-Md.)
David E. Skaggs (D-Colo.)
John H. Olver (D-Nass.)
Martin Olav Sabo (D-Minn.)
Maurice D. Hinchey (D-M.V.)
Jin HcDemott (D-Nash.)
Nathan Deal (R-Ga.)
Wayne Gilchrest (R>Md.)
Blanche Laabert Lincoln (0-Ar)c.)
Greg Ganske (R-Iowa)
Patsy Mink (D-Hawaii)
Carlos J. Moorhead (R-Callf.)
Frank Riggs (R-callf.)
RoBCOe G. Bartlett (R-Md.)
Joel Hefley (R-Colo.)
Organizations Supporting the
House Renewable Er>er9y Caucus
Anerican Energy Crop Association
American Solar Energy Society
American Wind Energy Association
Bionass Energy Alliance
Clean Fuels Development Coalition
Geothermal Energy Association
National Bioenergy Industries Association
National Hydropover Association
Passive Solar Industries Council
Solar Energy Industries Association
â– â– â– 1
Thursday, February 29, 1996.
STEWART C. PRAGER, CHAIR, DIVISION OF PLASMA PHYSICS, THE
AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY
Mr. Myers. Stewart Prager, chair of the Division of Plasma
Physics, the American Physical Society.
Mr. Prager, your prepared statement will be placed in the record
and for the next 5 minutes you may proceed as you like.
Mr. Prager. Thank you very much.
I am here to speak about the Fusion Energy Program.
Mr. Myers. We just heard about it.
Mr. Prager. I heard, and I giiess the American Physical Society
is going to have a different opinion from the Union of Concerned
I speak on behalf of the Division of Plasma Physics of the Amer-
ican Physical Society. I am chair of that division and also a physics
professor at the University of Wisconsin.
The Division of Plasma Physics of the APS strongly supports re-
search in fusion energy science, and I want to deliver two mes-
sages, and these messages are strongly resonant with the com-
ments you heard this morning about the fusion program.
The first message is to stress the value of the program, and in
particular I want to emphasize that the program is the prime spon-
sor of a basic field of science; that is, plasma physics. This is fun-
damental science of vast importance to the Nation's science and
The second point I will deal with concerns the new strategy for
the foreseeable future, which you heard a bit about this morning.
We are about to embark on a new program which is much leaner
than in the past but which represents a significant and a very ex-
citing alteration in our approach. So let me treat the first point
Plasma physics, you probably know, is a fundamental branch of
science that just happens to draw its funding support from the fu-
sion program. While plasma physics is the intellectual engine driv-
ing progress in fusion, its importance extends far beyond fusion. Its
ideas and results affect research in astrophysics, complex systems,
chaos, turbulence, scientific computing, and other areas.
Plasmas are pervasive in nature and in industry. They constitute
most of the known matter in the universe, and they are also play-
ing a large and expanding role in the electronics and material proc-
essing industries. For example, plasmas are used in the production
of computer chips, tool hardening, advanced defense systems, light-
ing, and other things. Plasma physics is prototypical of fundamen-
tal science in the Nation's interest.
Thus, an important and fundamental field of science is depend-
ent upon fusion energy funding. It is critical to the health of this
field that funding, having just declined by perhaps more than any
other basic science, must now be stabilized.
The second point is that the fusion community in the U.S. is
ready to embark upon a rather new path. We recognize that we
cannot afford to construct large facilities requiring increasing budg-
ets. We must turn to a fusion program that remains at a level
which is reduced from that of any time probably in the past 20
We realize that the wisest path is one which emphasizes the
basic science underlying fusion. The increased scientific focus that
is planned is both exciting and necessary for the long-term progress
in fusion energy. These realizations are the basis for a fusion pro-
gram that is genuinely different than the past and, though small
compared to the fusion efforts in Europe and Asia, continues to
hold vital scientific excitement and technological promise.
However, it must be appreciated in 1 year the fusion science
community received a dramatic 33 percent cut, causing the loss of
many of our best young scientists and the shutdown of viable facili-
ties. This cut was rather draconian and disproportionate and, in
our opinion, wholly unjustified scientifically. We think we cannot
now take a cut without devastating our endeavor and would urge
you to hold the line and commit steadfastly to stable support of
this extraordinary scientific endeavor.
In the past year, as you probably know, there have been two
independent, high-level outside scientific reviews of the fusion pro-
gram, one done by the President's Committee of Advisers on
Science and Technology, and the other done by DOE's Fusion En-
ergy Advisory Committee â€” FEAC. Both committees lauded the pro-
gram's remarkable scientific progress as well as the enormous po-
tential of fusion as a renewable energy source. Both noted the high
importance to the Nation of fundamental plasma physics. Both rec-
ommended a strong basic scientific focus for the program.
Recognizing the fiscal realities, both committees described the
dynamic program that made sense at funding levels which are less
than fiscal year 1995. In particular, in this very last month, FEAC
has recommended a funding level of $275 million. This is $90 mil-
lion less than fiscal year 1995, and I strongly urge you to adopt
this recommended funding level. It is time to save the Fusion
Science Program, which is a field of major importance to the sci-
entific health of the Nation and to our long-term energy security.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Myers. Well, thank you very much for your fine testimony.
[The statement of Mr. Prager follows:!
FUSION ENERGY SCIENCE RESEARCH
Stewart C. Prager
Chair, Division of Plasma Physics
American Physical Society*
House Sub-Committee on Energy and Water Development
February 29, 1996
I wish to express, on behalf of the Division of Plasma Physics of the
American Physical Society, strong support for the US fusion energy sciences
program. The Division of Plasma Physics represents essentially all the plasma
physicists and fusion researchers in the country. I speak to you as Chair of the
Division, on behalf of the Chairs of the Division for the next two years, and as
a physics professor at the University of Wisconsin.
Today, I will deliver two messages. The first will be to stress the value of the
fusion program. In particular, I emphasize that the program is the prime
sponsor of the scientific field of plasma physics, a fundamental science of vast
importance to the nation's science and technology foundation. The second
point concerns the new research strategy for the foreseeable future. We are
about to embark on a new program which, though much leaner than the past,
represents a significant and potentially exciting change in approach.
Plasma physics is a fundamental branch of science that draws its funding
support from the fusion program. While plasma physics has been the
intellectual engine driving fusion progress, its import extends far beyond
fusion. Its ideas and results affect research in astrophysics, complex systems,
chaos, turbulence, scientific computing and materials science. Plasmas are
pervasive in nature and in industry. They constitute most of the known
matter in the uruverse, and they are playing a large and expanding role in the
electronics, power, and materials processing industries. For example, plasmas
are used in the production of computer chips, tool hardening, advanced
defense systems, and lighting. Indeed plasma physics is prototypical of