The Bush administration says it is committed to promoting "clean energy," but has asked the private sector to take the lead in developing the technology. Victoria Cavaliere files this report for VOA.
The United States is one of the world's largest energy consumers and also one of the top polluters. As a worldwide push for clean, renewable energy gains momentum, the U.S. federal government says it is adjusting its policies to promote environmentally friendly methods of producing heat, electricity and fuel.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman says the best role the U.S. government can play is one of support for private companies developing alternative energy sources. "Ultimately I believe the transition to a more energy efficient U.S. economy will happen as a result of changes that happen largely in the private sector, but in some cases, with government support," he said.
Bodman says government support will include tax incentives and federal grants for research. He announced a two-point-five million dollar grant to 13 U.S. cities, including New York City, who are promoting the use of solar power.
Last week, the Department of Energy said it was teaming with the U.S. entertainment giant, the Disney Corporation, to produce a 30-second TV commercial to promote energy awareness. That ad will urge Americans to switch from incandescent light bulbs to energy efficient fluorescent lighting.
Bodman says there is room for improvement at the Department of Energy. "We need to do a better job of moving new technologies off the drawing board at our DOE national laboratories and to a place where they are market ready. And it is important we improve our performance quickly," he said.
Meanwhile, gas prices are at record highs in the United States, and some lawmakers and policy analysts say the Bush administration has done too little to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil.
The Democrats controlled Senate is debating a new bill that would strip about $15 billion in tax incentives from oil companies over the next decade and dole that money out to suppliers of renewable energy.