Colorado’s NREL could face severe cuts under Trump, says report

Source: By Cathy Proctor, Colorado Business Journal • Posted: Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Budget proposals from President Donald Trump’s administration could cut deeply into the operations of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden.

NREL’s last budget, in fiscal 2016, was $386.8 million including money from all sources.

The national laboratory in Golden employs 1,700 scientists and researchers, contributed $872 million in economic impact across metro Denver in 2014 and has drawn $380 billion in private sector investment over the years, NREL’s director, Martin Keller, said in mid-March at a statewide solar power conference.

EERE typically gets about $2 billion a year, but is targeted for a cut of $517 million for fiscal 2017 — the budget year currently underway that ends September 30, according to a report by the Washington Post.

“Even deeper cuts are expected to be sought for 2018 — a possibility that has alarmed researchers in clean energy and even some Republicans in Congress,” according to the Post story.

EERE was responsible for $273 million out of NREL’s total federal budget of $292 million in 2016.

The Post said unnamed EERE staffers told the paper the office could be facing a cut of $1 billion in the 2018 fiscal budget — and “suggested much of the brunt of the cuts could fall on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at Golden, … the country’s leading clean energy research facility.”

Every year the president proposes a budget that is changed by Congress.

But worries about NREL’s fate under the Trump administration have been swirling since the election.

NREL has been a driving force nationally for research into renewable energy technologies including solar and wind power, and is also works on commercializing the technology for the market.

Trump has spoken repeatedly about the need to roll back regulations and policies from President Barack Obama’s administration that aimed to curb greenhouse gases and boost the use of renewable energy.