Trump Budget Proposes Deep Cuts in Energy Innovation Programs

The budget would likely significantly scale back public financing for federal energy research. The Energy Department focuses on the next generation of energy technologies — via advanced nuclear reactors to algae biofuels — conducting basic research in its network of 17 national laboratories, in addition to aiding private companies struggling to bring risky brand-new technologies to market. Yet Mr. Trump’s proposal envisions sweeping cuts which would likely neuter most of the agency’s critical energy programs.


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The agency’s Office of Energy Efficiency in addition to Renewable Energy, which has helped nudge down the cost of solar power, faces a 69 percent cut. The Office of Fossil Energy, which invests in methods for capturing carbon dioxide via coal plants in addition to burying the item underground, faces a 54 percent cut. The Office of Nuclear Energy, which is usually pursuing technology to help extend the life of the United States’ existing nuclear reactors, faces a 31 percent cut.

The Trump administration’s plan was heavily influenced by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank which argues which the federal government should fund only very basic scientific research in addition to get out of the business of helping companies commercialize brand-new energy technologies.

Accordingly, Mr. Trump’s plan would likely provide no funds for initiatives like the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, which in 2010 provided Tesla that has a crucial $465 million loan six months before the electric car producer went public.

from the natural resources sections of the budget, the administration proposes opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil in addition to gas drilling, estimating which royalties in addition to fees via exploring for fossil fuels from the protected area could generate $1.8 billion in brand-new federal revenue by 2027. yet drilling from the Arctic refuge is usually an intensely contentious proposal which has failed repeatedly in Congress.

Mr. Trump also proposes repealing part of a 2006 law which diverted about 37 percent of the revenues via oil in addition to gas drilling from the Gulf of Mexico to Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi in addition to Alabama via the federal government.

The White House estimates which repealing the law in addition to redirecting the state oil revenue back to Washington could yield $3.5 billion over 10 years. Those states, in addition to the oil lobby, are supposed to push back fiercely.

The budget also proposes selling off half of the oil from the federal government’s 700,000-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was established after the oil crises of the 1970s to provide a cushion against unexpected shortages. Mr. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters on Tuesday which the item was “no longer necessary” to hold so much crude in reserve, thanks to the boom in domestic oil in addition to gas drilling over the last decade.

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The administration estimates which selling the oil will generate a profit of $16.5 billion over 10 years. While the Energy Department has the authority to sell some oil from the reserve, such a major reduction would likely almost certainly need action via Congress, in addition to the prospects of success for such a move are unclear.

“There are credible arguments which the optimal size of the S.P.R. should be smaller than the item is usually,” Mr. Bordoff said. “yet if we’re selling off a big chunk of a national security asset which we’ve held for 40 years, which should be rooted in a detailed analysis of the country’s energy needs, not short-term budget considerations.”

from the meantime, Congress will probably resist major improvements to federal research spending. Last week, a group of six Republican senators, led by Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, wrote a letter to the White House warning against major reductions at the agency. “Federally funded research is usually imperative to ensuring we meet our energy, science in addition to national security needs for generations to come,” they wrote.

Mr. Trump’s budget also proposes a drastic restructuring of the way electricity is usually bought in addition to sold in Western states, which rely heavily on cheap hydroelectric power generated by government structures like the Hoover Dam in Nevada. Mr. Trump proposes selling off thousands of miles of government-owned transmission lines which move which electricity to homes across nearly 20 Western states, via Arizona to Wyoming, creating estimated revenue of about $10 billion over a decade.

Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee, said the plan had no chance.

“Selling government-owned transmission lines to the highest bidder will just hold the effect of jacking up power rates, in addition to no one in which region is usually going to be in favor of which,” she said.

The proposal would likely also restart the Nuclear Waste Fund fee program, which charges electricity users money to be funneled toward construction of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada, with estimated revenues of about $3 billion over 10 years. yet which money would likely be specifically earmarked for construction of the nuclear waste repository, which has been mired in delays in addition to disputes for decades.

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