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New Goals For U.S. Energy

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Department of Energy (DOE) will invest up to $25 million over the next 4 years, subject to annual appropriations, for research and development of processes that produce biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value biobased products.

"These projects will be among many Obama Administration investments that will strengthen our economy and address the climate crisis," said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. "A robust biofuels industry – focused on the next generation of biofuels – is critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing our addiction to foreign oil and putting Americans back to work," he said.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said "these grants will help support the development of a sustainable domestic biofuels industry by broadening the nation's energy sources as well as improving the efficiency of renewable fuels."

The USDA and DOE funding opportunity announcement will fund several types of projects aimed at creating a diverse group of economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass, or biological material that can used to produce energy. Advanced biofuels produced from these sources are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 50 percent.

In his January 20th inaugural address, President Barack Obama stressed the importance of expanding America's use of renewable energy technologies, emphasizing the importance of harnessing "the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories."

Among the key goals of President Obama's "New Energy for America Plan" are the creation of 5 million new jobs by investing $150 billion over the next 10 years to stimulate private efforts to produce clean energy; putting 1 million plug-in hybrid cars on U.S. roads by 2015; creating a new $7,000 tax credit for purchasing advanced vehicles; ensuring 10 percent of electricity in the U.S. comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025; implementing an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 and weatherizing one million American homes annually.

The U.S. recognizes that it must play a leading role in meeting the challenge of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. As Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change, noted, "We can only expect to lead abroad if we are prepared to act decisively at home."