Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Trump Administration Wants Deep Cuts to 'Clean Energy' Programs

Alberta's Farmers Advocate Office says negotiating for a wind or solar lease is different than negotiating with the oil and gas sector Alberta's Farmers Advocate Office says negotiating for a wind or solar lease is different than negotiating with the oil and gas sector
Nellie Chapman | 01 February, 2018, 04:14

Mr Trump has made his preference for natural gas and "clean coal" known, boasting in his recent State of the Union address that he had "ended the war on clean coal" and made America "an exporter of energy to the world".

The Trump administration is poised to ask Congress for deep budget cuts to the Energy Department's renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, slashing them by 72 percent overall in fiscal 2019, according to draft budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.

The Trump administration has reportedly suggested cutting funds for the Energy Department's renewable energy office by almost three-quarters, as part of the President's shift away from "green" energy development.

Meanwhile, China has budgeted more than $70 billion a year for renewable generation alone through 2020. The new draft proposal calls for a request of an even-lower $575.5 million.

The Post said it had obtained draft documents that outlined the administration's starting point for negotiations for the 2018 budget, set to be unveiled in February. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., an influential appropriator on energy issues, said in a statement.

The Energy Department did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. Sources also said Rick Perry's focus on nuclear energy may have played a role in diverting funds from renewables and efficiency programs.

The large bulk of its funding is deployed on research, most frequently at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Co. The laboratory's 2017 budget of $293 million mostly came from EERE.

The Department of Energy had asked the White House for more modest spending cuts to the programs on advancing wind and solar power and efficiency technologies, but the executive branch's Office of Management and Budget wanted deeper cuts, the report said.

The Post said the proposed cuts are a "double whammy" for renewable energy because the government imposed tariffs on imported solar panels just last week.

Other cuts to funding would include research for fuel-efficient vehicles, bioenergy, solar energy, electric vehicles, and geothermal, hydro, and wind power. Lawmakers, many of whom represent states that benefit from booming job growth in renewable energy, may once again refuse to approve the cuts. Most DOE funds go to clean up nuclear waste sites across the US, and to maintain the country's stockpile of nuclear weapons.