Over the past decade, the U.S. government has spent tens of billions of dollars to speed onto the market the energy technology that many believe is the future — from solar panels to industrial-size batteries to modernized nuclear reactors.
“Building the new energy economy,” the U.S. Energy Department still proclaims on its Twitter feed.
But with Barack Obama out of the White House, a coalition of conservative politicians led by San Antonio Congressman Lamar Smith, the powerful chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, is pressing to overhaul a system they say allows the government, rather than the market, to decide the future of the country’s energy industry in a bid to create a new low-carbon economy.
Instead, Smith’s coalition of Republican politicians wants to cut funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy research. They’re questioning a program from the George W. Bush era that backs loans for advanced energy projects that can’t find financing in the private sector.