Trump Back Again With Severe Cuts in RE Funding

The Trump administration is looking to make “severe” budget cuts to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, according to a news report.

US President Donald Trump, wants to take an axe to the funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. According to Bloomberg, when the administration’s proposed budget is released this week, starting today, it will propose to slash funding for that office by 70% from $2.3 billion to just $700 million.

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Unlike India, wherein the annual budget is presented in Parliament by the Finance Minister, in the United States, the president sends his budgetary proposals in the form of a document to the Congress.

The report notes the president’s request is “unlikely” to be granted, though “the figure represents an opening bargaining position for negotiations by the White House.”

This isn’t the first time that the putative president has tried to cut Renewable energy funding in his country. The Trump administration had tried a similar cut last year. In his 2019 budget, Trump requested $696 million in funding for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which would have been a $1.3 billion cut. Congress instead granted the office $2.3 billion for 2019.

Trump, who rejects the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding the climate crisis, has repeatedly vowed to zero out federal spending on clean energy research and development (R&D). However, he isn’t the only one denying the existence of climate change. Conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation have called for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, to be eliminated entirely, saying energy innovation is best left up to the private sector.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which provides hundreds of millions of dollars a year in grants and other financial assistance for clean energy, has financed research into technologies ranging from electric vehicles to energy projects powered by ocean waves. It has been credited with financing research to help make the cost of wind power competitive with coal and cutting the costs of LED lighting.

Clean energy crusaders, however, were not surprised by the recent report. “President Trump’s annual attack on clean energy research is a brazen ploy to gin up support from the fossil fuel industry,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit which promotes healthier environment. “This latest attempt to roll back the clean energy revolution will fail. Even members of Congress who represent deep red districts and states understand how important the renewable energy sector is to the economy.”

The spread of 100% clean and renewable energy policies being implemented across the United States highlights the growing importance of the issue for voters and the ensuing action taken by newly-elected policy-makers. Among the states that generate the most wind power are Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas. More than a third of California’s retail energy sales in 2018 came from renewable energy sources. Three more US States–Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois –have joined the ranks with New Jersey, New York. All the newest three have made moves, in the opening days of March, to move to decarbonize their state’s electricity supply and transition to 100% renewable energy, highlighting the importance of clean energy in 2018’s elections and the recent introduction of the Democrats’ Green New Deal.

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