Trump budget seeks 72% cut to DOE clean energy research

Trump budget seeks 72% cut to DOE clean energy research

Documents obtained by The Washington Post show the Trump administration is prepared to ask Congress to cut the Department of Energy's (DOE's) renewable energy and energy efficiency programs by as much as 72% in fiscal year 2019. The White House said in a statement: "We don't comment on any leaked or pre-decisional documents prior to the release of the official budget".

President Donald Trump is about to send a new budget draft to Congress that will once again demonstrate his fealty to the energy industry. For the 2019 fiscal year, the Trump administration wants the budget to fall to $575.5 million.

Currently, annual spending by the Department of Energy's renewables and efficiency office is about $2 billion.

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.

People familiar with the matter tell the Post the Energy Department requested more modest spending cuts, but was overruled by the Office of Management and Budget.

But the U.S. energy watchdog terminated the proposal, finding it neither justified nor reasonable.

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The paper suggests, without providing specific evidence, that Congress will likely restore most of money, but the proposal is still troublesome because it sets the mark for where the negotiations will start when the budget negotiations begin in earnest this month.

Reflecting on 2017, Clarke noted that the year was anything but conventional for the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is perhaps best known for the solar "SunShot" program, which strives to drive down the price of solar energy.

At the same time, Trump's promise to increase coal jobs have hit a roadblock.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), head of the energy and water subcommittee on the Senate Appropriations Committee, stressed to the Post that the White House budget is merely a proposal for Congressional lawmakers to review. The vast majority of the laboratory's $293 million budget in 2017 came from EERE. Fuel efficient vehicle research would be cut 82%, bioenergy funding by 82% and solar funding by 75%. The majority of the department's budget goes to maintaining the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile and cleaning up sites contaminated by federal nuclear programs.

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