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Clean energy development and deployment was one of the central themes of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.  The President urged Americans “to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world” and stressed that, with respect to clean energy, “this is our generation’s Sputnik moment.”    President Obama emphasized two clean energy-related goals for the United States in his address: (a) to become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 and (b) to have 80 percent of the country’s electricity be generated from clean energy sources.

Following the State of the Union address, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) submitted to Congress (PDF) the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget request of $29.5 billion, a $3.1 billion (11.8 percent) increase from the DOE’s FY 2010 budget.  Included in the proposed budget are (a) an additional $200 million to pay the credit subsidy costs for loan guarantees for innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy projects under Section 1703 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (PDF), which the DOE estimates should support an additional $1 billion to $2 billion in loan guarantees, (b) up to $36 billion in additional loan guarantee authority for nuclear power projects, and (c) $650 million (including $100 million from the Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative) for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), to support early-stage clean energy research projects.