Trump budget calls for 70% reduction in renewable energy spending

Despite consistent rhetoric which has shown both a hostility to and an utter lack of understanding of renewable energy, many both inside and outside the solar industry have questioned whether U.S. President Trump intends to take action against solar and wind.

Attempts to cut the main policies that support solar and wind deployment, the federal Investment Tax Credit and Production Tax Credit, have not surfaced. However, recently leaked information on the Trump Administration’s budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) shows a willingness to axe federal support, including research and development.

According to a 2018 budget draft published by energy reporter Amy Harder, the president has proposed cutting fiscal year 2018 funding for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to only $636 million, a 69% reduction from the $2.1 billion it is enjoying during the current fiscal year.

Data: Draft of Energy Department budget; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

This would include a 70% cut in funding for renewable energy programs to only $134 million. And while the president is proposing cuts to DOE across the board, he is only proposing a 31% cut to nuclear energy programs and a 54% cut to fossil fuel funding at DOE.

Such cuts are in sharp contrast to the FY 2017 budget deal reached by the U.S. congress at the end of April, which ended in only minor cuts to EERE and solar spending, and actually increased funding for a number of key areas such as battery research.

Despite this loss, the Trump Administration appears as ready as ever to take the ax to federal funding for renewable energy, and has stated that it will send its proposal for FY 2018 spending to congress next week.