2 april 2019

Trump's Budget Could Have Chilling Effect on U.S. Clean Energy Leadership

The national labs are the country's cradle of innovation for renewable energy and efficiency. Trump's proposal for deep budget cuts sends a message.

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News, Apr 2, 2019

At the Ames Laboratory, a national energy lab in the heart of Iowa, scientists and engineers are developing low-cost substitutes for the rare-earth metals used in electric-vehicle batteries and solar cells to reduce the need for imports from geopolitical rivals like China.

It's the kind of foundational research and development being carried out at national labs across the country that has helped to dramatically lower energy technology costs and pushed clean energy toward a tipping point.

But that renewable energy work and its local economic impact are at risk in the Trump administration's budget proposal for the coming year.

The administration's proposal would zero out energy efficiency and renewable energy (EERE) funding at the Ames lab and would slash similar funding by more than half at almost all of the national labs with EERE programs. With labs targeted for cuts in more than a dozen states, each representing jobs and local economic impact, the budget plan isn't likely to get through Congress without major changes, but scientists say that kind of proposal alone can have a chilling impact.

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