The World Solar Summit and proposed World Solar Program 1996-2005 address energy problems through increased use of renewable energy technologies. The World Solar Commission will host the World Solar Summit in Harare, Zimbabwe, on September 16 and 17, 1996, and it will direct the World Solar Program 1996-2005. At the Summit, the Commission is expected to adopt a World Plan ofAction and a number of Strategic Projects. The proposed World Plan of Action includes a selection of high-priority renewable energy projects at the national or regional level to be implemented between 1996 and 2005.
Interest in restructuring (including eliminating) the Department of Energy (DOE) and its laboratories has increased since the end of the Cold War, and especially since the beginning of the 104th Congress. A number of non-legislative proposals and activities to this end are reviewed, including DOE's own proposals for "alignment and downsizing" of the Department and its laboratories.
In 1992, the Nation spent $522 billion for energy ($1996 constant), while energy efficiency and conservation measures were saving the economy about $275 billion per year. Energy is conserved when technical means are employed to improve efficiency or to reduce energy waste. In 1996 constant dollars, conservation research and development (R&D) funding declined from $698 million in FY1979 to $198 million in FY1988 and then climbed to $486 million in FY1994, 31% below the FY1979 peak.
In response to the foreign challenge in the global marketplace, the United States Congress has explored ways to stimulate technological advancement in the private sector. The government has supported various efforts to promote cooperative research and development activities among industry, universities, and the federal R&D establishment designed to increase the competitiveness of American industry and to encourage the generation of new products, processes, and services. Among the issues before Congress are whether joint ventures contribute to industrial competitiveness and what role, if any, the government has in facilitating such arrangements.
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