Drastic cuts for EE programmes in Trump 2020 budget request, many programmes threatened

(eceee news, 12 Mar 2019) Trump’s proposed 2020 budget would drastically cut down on energy efficiency and clean energy, and proposes risky strategies for funding the Energy Star programmes by user fees. This would hurt both jobs and the climate, ACEEE and ASE claim.

According to ACEEE, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, the Trump administration’s 2020 budget request would lead to a drastic, 86% cut in new funding for the Department of Energy’s office that handles popular and cost-saving energy efficiency programs. It would also seek to fund the popular Energy Star programme entirely from user fees.

“This proposal, if enacted, would cause Americans’ energy costs to rise, while killing jobs around the country,” said Steve Nadel, ACEEE’s executive director. “Energy efficiency directly supports 2.3 million US jobs and indirectly, many more. In addition to putting these jobs at risk, these cuts run counter to the administration’s own goals of promoting economic growth and reducing wasteful spending. We hope Congress will stand up for business owners, workers, and consumers by blocking the proposed 2020 budget cuts.”

The proposed 86% cut new funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy could severely impact many of the programmes run by that Office. While the Department of Energy has not yet released detailed numbers, the Environmental Protection Agency would eliminate the SmartWay program, Combined Heat and Power Partnership, and other voluntary programs, as well as seek to make ENERGY STAR self-funding and cut funding for its vehicle emissions program, ACEEE claims.

Also the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) reacted with dismay: “This proposal would take an ax to innovation in our energy sector, cutting critical research funds and energy efficiency investments that have a proven track record of reducing energy costs for consumers and businesses” its President Jason Hartke said in a statement, and continued:

“Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have resoundingly rejected these cuts for the past two years because they know the huge economic value these investments deliver. They understand how these programs ensure that the U.S. leads the world in developing energy efficiency technologies, how they support the more than 2.3 million people who work in the energy efficiency sector, and how they drive enormous energy savings, reducing Americans’ energy bills by hundreds of dollars per year while cutting carbon emissions.”

ACEEE has estimated the impact of seven Federal programmes in a Federal Energy Efficiency Program Fact Sheet:

  1. The Department of Energy (DOE) appliance standards program sets minimum efficiency levels for about 60 consumer and commercial products. It already saves the average family almost $500 each year in energy and water bills.
  2. The Environmental Protection Agency vehicle emissions program sets emissions requirements and fuel economy labels for cars and trucks. If allowed to take effect, the 2017–2025 standards will help Americans save $370 billion through 2030.
  3. The DOE Building Energy Codes Program helps states and local governments develop and implement energy codes for homes and commercial buildings. It saves the average family with a new home $260 in energy bills each year.
  4. The ENERGY STAR program labels efficient products and runs efficiency programs for homes, commercial buildings, and industry. It saves as much electricity as 30 million homes use in a year.
  5. DOE Industrial Assessment Centers train college students to help small and medium-sized manufacturing plants save energy. They have assisted more than 18,000 plants.
  6. The DOE State Energy Program helps state governments advance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy security. Additional investments could save as much as $7 billion through 2040.
  7. The DOE Weatherization Assistance Program (with added funding from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) makes energy efficiency improvements to the homes of low-income families. It saves families an average of $4,200 in lifetime utility bills.

Read the ACEEE press release

Read the ASE press release