Commentary: Ocean power research needs more funding

President Obama might want to have a chat with his Interior secretary, Ken Salazar.

While Salazar and his agency have lately been touting the promise of harnessing of ocean tides and waves, the rest of the Obama administration appears headed in another direction.

In the budget Obama recently sent to Congress, he seeks big increases for nearly every source of renewable energy but wave and tidal power.

The budget would deliver big boosts to research of solar, wind and geothermal power-generating technologies. But funding for studies of wave and tidal power would be cut one-fourth, from $40 million to $30 million.

The administration, rather than trying to defend its decision, wants credit for requesting far more than President Bush did.

What past administrations sought is largely beside the point; all that matters is what lawmakers ultimately decided to spend. When it comes to ocean power, Congress has been inclined to be a good deal more generous than the White House.

Lawmakers should keep it up.

Tidal and wave power represents a potentially huge source of clean energy. Some think they could someday rival hydroelectric power in helping meet the nation’s energy needs.

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