Proposed 2011 budget for hydro-related U.S. agencies announced, ocean renewables funding increased

U.S. President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2011 budget requests for hydropower-related government agencies and ocean energy research have been announced.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s fiscal year 2011 budget request totals $1.1 billion, while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Civil Works) announced a budget of about $4.9 billion. The 2011 budget proposal also seeks more than $40 million in funding of ocean renewables development.

"The president's budget proposal promotes fiscal responsibility while allowing Reclamation to continue to meet its mission of providing water and producing renewable, clean hydropower," said Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor. "The president's proposal will help communities in the West address their water-related challenges by supporting Reclamation's mission of managing, developing, and protecting water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American people."

Reclamation's funding request addresses administration, departmental and bureau priorities. Key focus areas include the WaterSMART Program, Restoring Rivers, Climate Change Adaptation and Renewable Energy and Supporting Tribal Nations, Reclamation reported.

The administration's budget proposal also enables Reclamation to fulfill its core missions of managing the delivery of water and the generation of hydroelectricity in the West, Reclamation reported.

The president's budget proposal for Reclamation's Water and Related Resources account for $913.6 million, including $489.9 million for water and energy, land, and fish and wildlife resource management and development activities. Funding in these activities provides for planning, construction, water conservation activities, management of Reclamation lands including recreation and actions to address the impacts of Reclamation projects on fish and wildlife. The request also emphasizes reliable water delivery and power generation by requesting more than $423.7 million to fund operation, maintenance and rehabilitation activities at Reclamation facilities, including dam safety. 

For more about Reclamation’s FY 2011 budget, click here

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Civil Works:

The president's budget for fiscal year 2011 includes $4.939 billion in gross discretionary funding for the Civil Works program of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, offset in part by a proposal to cancel $52 million of prior year funding. 

"This year's civil works budget for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supports the administration's priorities of improving the nation's infrastructure and revitalizing the economy,” said Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army, Civil Works. "The budget funds the planning, design, construction, and the operation and maintenance of projects, and focuses on the Corps' three main Civil Works mission areas: commercial navigation, flood and coastal storm damage reduction, and aquatic ecosystem restoration.”

The new federal funding in the Civil Works budget consists of $4.051 billion from the general fund, $764.4 million from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, $82.3 million from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, and $41 million from Special Recreation User Fees, the Corps of Engineers reported.

Non-federal partners are expected to make approximately $400 million in cost-sharing contributions to the Rivers and Harbors Contributed Funds in FY 2011. Additionally, $16 million in Federal Permanent Appropriations will be available to the Corps in FY2011, and about $83 million will be available from the Federal Coastal Wetlands Restoration Trust Fund for the work of the interagency task force led by the Corps.

The FY2011 Operation and Maintenance (O&M) program is funded at $2.515 billion, including $154 million in the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) account. The budget emphasizes performance of existing projects by focusing on the maintenance of key commercial navigation, flood and storm damage reduction, and other facilities.

The fiscal year 2011 O&M program also includes $15 million for the National Levee Inventory Program for ongoing development of the national levee database. $3 million is also provided for the Coastal Data Information Program and $10 million for Global Change Sustainability.

The total FY2011 construction program is $1.775 billion, including $85 million in the MR&T account. The construction program uses objective, performance-based guidelines to guide the allocation of funding towards the highest performing economic and environmental construction projects.

For more about the Corps of Engineers (Civil Works) FY2011 budget, click here

Ocean renewables:

President Obama’s FY 2011 budget proposal includes $40.5 million in funding for marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy-an increase of $10.5 million over the $30 million proposed by the president in FY 2010.

The $40.5 million budget request includes marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) system testing, MHK device and component design and development, as well as some feasibility studies for capacity and efficiency upgrades at conventional and non-powered dams.

“This is a clear example of our executive and legislative branches beginning to align their priorities in support of ocean renewable technologies,” said Sean O’Neill, president of the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition. “Power captured from waves, tides, ocean currents and thermal differentials, are poised for commercial application in the U.S.”

The Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition is a U.S. trade association exclusively dedicated to promoting marine and hydrokinetic energy technologies from ocean resources.

For more hydropower news and information, click here

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