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Catharine Richert
By Catharine Richert January 8, 2010

Research money has more than doubled

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama lamented the lack of funding for clean energy science and research.

"At present, the federal government spends over $3 billion per year on all energy innovation efforts," he wrote in his Plan to Make America a Global Energy Leader. "While this may seems like a significant sum, it is much less than what we spent in the late 1970s when adjusted for inflation, and is less than the pet food industry invests in its own products. We must do better."

Obama promised to double funding for the efforts, which means we should have seen at least $6 billion dedicated to clean energy research this year.

We started by poking around in the stimulus bill. According to the Department of Energy, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy got about $2.5 billion for applied research, development and production of geothermal energy, solar energy and wind energy among other renewable fuels. The same office got an additional $2.2 billion through in the latest round of the appropriations process.

So far, that brings us to $4.7 billion.

The stimulus bill also included $1.2 billion to the Department of Energy's Office of Science to support major construction, laboratory infrastructure and research efforts. Among other renewable energy research facilities, the money so far has been given to Oak Ridge National Laboratory and to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, both hot spots of advanced energy research. The Office of Science got an additional $4.9 billion in its latest appropriations bill.

All told, that brings us to $10.8 billion, far more than the $6 billion Obama needed to meet his goal. Since Obama has met and exceeded his goal, we'll give him a Promise Kept on this pledge.

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