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QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY SENATOR MATTINGLY
Question: Mr. Secretary, I want to commend the Department of Energy for its involvement, through the Biological Energy Research (BER) subprogram, in supporting complex carbohydrate research activities. As I have expressed in the past, I believe that research in this area is of critical importance to this Nation and its future.
As the Secretary is aware, last October the University of Georgia established a Complex Carbohydrate Research Center which has attracted Dr. Peter Albersheim and his team of distinguished scientists to the University. Major financial support of the team's research has been provided through competitive grants within the Biological Energy Research program for years.
In October and December, I requested that the Department of Energy give serious consideration to providing federal support to the University of Georgia's Complex Carbohydrate Research Center as part of its Fiscal Year 1987 budget request. I note that the Departmental budget request acknowledges the importance of complex carbohydrate research. Specifically, the request states that the funding levels suggested by the Department will allow for enhanced support for ongoing projects in complex carbohydrate research. In addition, it states that an effort will be made to "respond to a few of the numerous very high quality research opportunities presently available in these areas."
The University of Georgia clearly represents one of these "very high quality research opportunities," perhaps the highest. Will specific consideration be given to substantial, ongoing support for the University of Georgia's Complex Carbohydrate Research Center? What portion of BER program funds are set aside for these "research opportunities"? When and how will specific allocations be made?
Answer: The Biological Energy Research program of the Office of Basic Energy Sciences expects to continue in a leadership role in respect to complex carbohydrate research in this country. The University of Georgia projects on complex carbohydrates have been considered by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences in the category of "very high quality research opportunities". As a reflection of this, the DOE program increased its funding of the projects in FY 86 over FY 85 (FY 86 $430,000 versus FY 85 $419,456) despite an overall reduction in the Biological Energy Research subprogram within the Basic Energy Sciences program's budget. In addition, the DOE, through its university equipment program, awarded Dr. Albersheim on a competitive basis a sizable mass spectrometer and associated lab computers ($345,000) which were transferred from the University of Colorado to the University of Georgia. Further, we are planning, in close collaboration with the Complex Carbohydrate Center in Athens, an international workshop for this coming summer on the needs for developing an information data base of structures of complex carbohydrates.
Specific consideration will be given to on-going support to the University of Georgia's Complex Carbohydrate Research Center. As a matter of fact, a site visit review in Athens of the research program with peer reviewers is already planned for July of this year.
The amount of funds in FY 87 that can be set aside for research opportunities will depend on the appropriation received from the Congress and prior commitments to ongoing research projects. The Department's procedure for awarding funds is based on scientific merit as determined by peer review, as well as programmatic needs. Specific plans for allocations are made principally in the first half of the fiscal year. In the case of the Complex Carbohydrate Center at the University of Georgia, we plan to set a level of support for FY 87 soon after the beginning of the new fiscal year starting this October.
Chairman HATFIELD. The hearing will be recessed until tomorrow at 2 o'clock in this same room, when we will review the Tennessee Valley Authority project.
(Whereupon, at 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, the hearing was recessed to reconvene at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 5.)
ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT
TUESDAY, MARCH 11, 1986
Washington, DC. The subcommittee met at 2:05 p.m. in room SD-192, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Mark O. Hatfield (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators Hatfield, Abdnor, Kasten, Mattingly, and Domenici.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
SOLAR AND RENEWABLE ENERGY PROGRAMS STATEMENT OF DONNA R. FITZPATRICK, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR
CONSERVATION AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
This afternoon we continue our examination of the fiscal year 1987 budget request for the Department of Energy. We will receive testimony from three principal witnesses on the request for the solar and renewable programs, next the Department's energy and research activities, and finally, a request for the agency's environmental program.
As our first witness, we welcome Donna Fitzpatrick, the Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Renewable Energy.
Madam Secretary, I believe you have come now in your own right, rather than acting in this role. We congratulate you on that, and your full statement will be placed in the record. If you care to highlight it or summarize it, we will be very happy to hear from you.
Miss FITZPATRICK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to summarize.
SUMMARY OF STATEMENT I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today and to discuss the fiscal year 1987 budget request for the renewable energy programs of the Department of Energy. The budget for these programs is consistent with the goals and objectives of national energy policy and is fully responsive to the administration and congressional goals of deficit reduction.
The administration's overall energy goal is to foster an adequate supply of energy at reasonable cost. Achieving this goal will require that we make full use of our Nation's vast natural resources and the daring and ingenuity of its citizens.
Deficit reduction is perhaps the preeminent domestic economic imperative today, and the Department fully recognizes that fact. For this reason, we are doing all we can to concentrate increasingly scarce resources on those programs and projects that directly fulfill a responsibility of the Federal Government and truly require Federal assistance. If we are to achieve our overriding goal of deficit reduction we have no choice but to concentrate scarce resources where they show promise of bringing the greatest benefits.
As we seek ways to gain the greatest benefit from our limited resources, we will investigate cooperative research and development ventures with private industry consortia. This approach to R&D funding has the potential to provide greater leverage of Federal resources and more effective technology transfer. We have had a number of successes in the last year, and in order to continue to contribute to the achievement of our goals, our 1987 budget request for renewable energy R&D will continue to support development of a mix of technologies that can contribute to both energy supply and improved energy efficiency.
SUMMARY OF BUDGET REQUEST
Renewable energy is an important part of the Nation's energy supply mix. In fact, renewable energy based sources-solar, biofuels, wind, ocean, hydropower, and geothermal-now supply about 8 percent of the energy consumed in the United States. When the federally supported renewable energy program began in 1974, most of the technologies were either in the conceptual stage or existed in limited, primitive form. During the past decade, major advances have been made in all of the renewable energy technologies. New materials have been developed with thermal, optical, and physical properties required for lower cost and higher performance.
New components have been tested and substituted for less effective ones; extensive systems analyses have been performed, and hundreds of systems have been studied in both laboratory and field conditions. Teams of scientists and engineers in Government laboratories, universities, and industry have created solid technology bases, and the expertise that we require in the broad array of disciplines pertaining to renewable energy technologies. As these various technologies continue to develop, their economic and technological viability will improve, along with their collective contribution to the Nation's energy needs. In order to support this development, we will continue to address a range of fun. damental issues.
These include basic materials-related work on the structural integrity of reflective surfaces, and the conversion efficiency of photovoltaic materials; resolution of wind technology reliability and durability issues