NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Panel Wants Spending Tripled To Promote Energy Technology Abroad

August 20, 1999

A presidential panel would have the government triple funding for programs to help energy companies develop and promote new energy technologies abroad. The President's Committee of Advisers on Science and Technology wants taxpayers to support companies' efforts to get contracts in the exploding market for power in developing countries.

"We ought to be interested in U.S. firms having a substantial part of that action," says Harvard University environmental scientist John P. Holdren, the committee's head.

  • According to the committee's report, the U.S. spends about $230 million a year on programs aimed at influencing energy use abroad.
  • The report calls for boosting the budgets of federal agencies involved in the projects to a total of $750 million a year within the next five years.
  • World energy demand is expected to double by 2025, the panel predicts -- with about half that growth in developing countries.
  • Continued reliance on fossil-fuel technologies, unless they are improved, would "commit the world to increased smog, acid rain" and risk accelerating global warming, the panel said.

In coming years, there would be a "multi-hundred-billion dollar per year" market for U.S. companies that are prepared for it, the panel said. The government's role in helping prepare them would include a continuing drive to build safer nuclear power plants.

Source: John J. Fialka, "Panel Urges Boost in Funds to Push Energy Use Abroad," Wall Street Journal, August 20, 1999.


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