The Trump administration has released a draft of its 2019 budget, which proposed cuts to clean energy research.
And according to washingtonpost.com, though the administration is seeking $30.7 billion for the Energy Department, a 2% increase from fiscal year 2017, much of the additional funds will go to overseeing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, with funds being slashed from renewable energy research.
The article outlines the below proposed changes:
- Slashes 66% of the budget for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which studies advanced transportation, wind and solar energy.
- Eliminates the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a program popular in Congress.
- Cuts the department’s loan guarantee programs, although the existing portfolio would be maintained.
- Terminates construction of a mixed-oxide nuclear fuel fabrication facility in South Carolina that has the support of Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.).
- A 17.5% boost for the department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which makes up nearly half the department’s budget.
- The administration is also seeking to sell electric transmission assets of federally-owned utilities in the northwestern United States.
- These moves represent Trump’s wish to shift energy department priorities from renewable energy research to fossil fuels and nuclear weapons.
The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) budget, where a majority of the cuts are focused, includes funding for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) based in Golden, Colorado. Currently, the lab employs about 1,700 people working on research, development, commercialization, and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. “The University of Colorado Boulder Leeds School of Business estimated that, back in 2014, NREL converted $380 million in federal funding into $870 million in economic impact nationally,” the Denver Post reported last week.
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