by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) Good-bye ARPA-E, DOE, Loan Guarantee program, Energy Star, OPIC, USTDA, NEA, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program. Even Big Bird gets the guillotine. In Washington, the White House released its budget requests for 2018,
a high-level, 62-page overview of President Trump’s strategy for “Making America Great Again”.
6 points to absorb for now.
1. It’s a budget request, not an appropriation.
All of this has to go through the sausage-making process in the House and Senate.
2. It’s in many ways a War Budget
. Not so much a war on big government — as much as a War Budget in the form of sharply increased defense-related and security-related spending. ...
3. The focus is shifting
away from the expensive, risky, Murky Middle of “bringing technologies from the lab to ready-for-commercialization”. The budget emphasizes the late-stage groovy of deployment (“energy technologies best positioned to enable American energy independence and domestic job-growth in the near to mid-term”) and the early-stage groovy ‘fun with big toys” of basic R&D (shifting spending “toward early-stage research and development”).
If you say to yourself that “the commercialization program was built because private industry, in the past, has repeatedly not picked up
the slack”, you’ve raised a good point.
4. There’s a lot of “we’re still going to do it”
combined with “someone else is going to pay for it” in Trumpenomics. ...
5. EPA enforcement
or responsiveness on anything is likely to be greatly affected.
6. A lot of Goodbye.
In the sector of the advanced bioeconomy, think Energy Star, ARPA-E, the DOE Loan Guarantee program, and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program.
What does it mean?
1. Big companies rock.
Those that have the financial resources to absorb a bigger commercialization effort will face less competition, that’s for sure — from entities that have relied on loan guarantees.
2. For the advanced bioeconomy
, as we have pointed out before, the Obama Administration was so profoundly shifted towards the power sector and electric cars that the cuts will be felt by fuels and chemicals perhaps less than any other sector in clean tech.
3. I wouldn’t bet on a gigantic appetite
for continuing the $7500 tax credit for buying an electric vehicle, under this Administration.
Which might, in the end, put more emphasis back onto renewable fuels as an affordable, low-cost, pro-American, environmentally-friendly technology set. Not to mention that renewable chemicals got so little love that they literally had almost nothing to lose.
The Bottom Line
Bad news for many, but look on the bright side: perversely, could be great times for renewable fuels and chems — it’s a bit of a playing field leveler for the liquid cleantech sector that’s been the Cinderella under Obama (and I mean the early scenes when Cinderella is progressively reduced from daughter to wretch). READ MORE