They will spend $60 million over five years studying how to optimize solar thermal, which stores solar energy as heat so the turbines that produce electricity can be powered even when the sun isn’t shining. This is a welcome step. Perhaps one day the US government will be spending $6 billion or maybe even $60 billion over a period of years on renewable energy research.
We need the equivalent of a Marshall Plan for energy in the US. I’m hopeful that incoming President Obama will push for such a plan. Not only would this provide clean energy, it would also provide energy security. The more energy we generate with our own (non-coal) resources, the better.