The Trump administration is set to ask Congress for huge budget cuts to the Energy Department’s renewable energy efficiency programs. The cut, which would be an astonishing 72 percent overall in fiscal year 2019, was outlined in draft budget documents.
Congress is expected to restore some of that total 72 percent proposal but the goal of the Trump administration is obvious. Trump’s budget documents, which are due out in February, continues to underscore the administrations focus on the continued use of fossil fuel resources, or as Trump put it in his State of the Union address, “beautiful clean coal”.
Trump’s push for more coal over renewable technologies has many concerned and the administrations decision to continue to push the boundaries further with its latest budget should only increase that concern. Renewable technologies are at the core to solving the problem of climate change.
Other nations throughout the world have seen large investments in renewable technology and infrastructure as a global trend is pushing to renewable as the primary source of energy looking into the future.
This recent proposal really hurts the advancement of clean energy in the U.S. especially after the recent announcement that the U.S. will impose a 30% tariff on imported solar panels.
The results of the tariff is expected to reduce the amount of panels installed in the U.S. in the coming years as producing panels is much more costly state side.
The proposed cuts would be larger than those Trump hoped for this current fiscal year, but was unable to implement because of the budget impasse in Congress. The Federal government has been operating on short term budgets to maintain existing spending. The current budget expires February 8th.
The current spending for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is set at $2.04 billion for the current year, which ends October 1st. The current request by the Trump administration is to lower the budget to $575.5 million. For comparison, Trump is asking $18 billion to pay for border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Renewable energy and efficiency programs represent about seven percent of the Energy Department’s overall budget. The majority of the department’s budget is allocated to nuclear waste clean up and maintaining the nuclear stockpile.