Trump’s renewable energy cuts alarm former officials
President Trump isn’t shy about expressing his love for coal. His proposed budget offers no such love for investing in renewable energy.
Trump wants to gut a key division of the Department of Energy designed to accelerate the development of clean energy like solar and wind power. The administration’s 2018 budget would slash funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by a stunning 71.9%.
Those deep spending cuts are alarming the last seven Senate-confirmed individuals who led the renewables office, including three who served under Republican presidents.
“We are unified that cuts of this magnitude…will do serious harm to this office’s critical work and America’s energy future,” the former officials wrote in a letter to members of Congress on Thursday.
The Department of Energy didn’t respond to a request for comment on the letter, which was previously reported by the Washington Post.
Budget documents published by the DOE argue that the spending cuts to the renewables office will focus resources on early-stage research & development. The DOE added that it also “reflects an increased reliance on the private sector to fund later-stage research, development and commercialization of energy technologies.”
But the former renewables officials note that investing in clean energy can support two key areas of focus for Trump: jobs and America First.
Investments made by that office are critical to “creating good-paying jobs, cutting pollution and ensuring American global competitiveness,” the letter said.
Solar employment expanded last year 17 times faster than the total U.S. jobs market, according to the Solar Foundation.
Overall, taxpayer investment of $12 billion in the DOE’s renewable division has generated an estimated net economic benefit to the U.S. of more than $230 billion, according to its website.