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Trump appoints renewables critic to head renewables office

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CleanTechnica

In yet another we-wish-it-were-baffling appointment, Donald Trump has announced renewable energy critic Daniel Simmons as the new head of the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Donald Trump’s appointments to key positions in his administration have been slow going, but have never failed to raise eyebrows.

He appointed an ex-fossil fuel CEO to be his Secretary of State, a renowned climate skeptic to head up the transition for the EPA and a renowned EPA antagonist and fossil fuel-puppet to head up the EPA, a racist anti-equal rights muppet as Attorney General, and any number of Wall Street bankers to positions in an Administration which was supposed to be “for the people.”

His energy and science appointments have been especially telling, prioritizing traditional economics over the new reality and scientific fact.

So, to make matters worse and to ensure he doesn’t make a sensible appointment, Donald Trump has appointed Daniel Simmons (pictured below), a conservative scholar and renewable energy critic to be the head of the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).simmons-large-200x301

The Washington Post‘s article on the appointment explains that “The selection marks one of several recent Trump appointments to top energy and environmental posts, which appear to repudiate the Obama administration’s policies aimed at shifting the nation to low-carbon sources of electricity.” However, that hardly seems to go far enough.

Donald Trump’s appointments don’t simply “appear to repudiate Obama administration’s policies” but go all the way to simply repudiating sensible business and scientific realities.

Scott Pruitt’s time at the top of the EPA will only castrate the necessary environmental work that organization has been doing for decades, in the face of all good science. Rick Perry’s time as the head of the Department of Energy will severely hamstring the country’s economic development and energy security.

And appointing Daniel Simmons as head of the EERE will only further hinder America’s growth and development. Not only will it obstruct renewable energy development — a vital step in minimizing the country’s emissions — but it will likely kill billions in investment and thousands of jobs across the country.

The EERE’s mission “is to create and sustain American leadership in the transition to a global clean energy economy.” So far, according to the EERE, $12 billion in EERE taxpayer investment has yielded an estimated net economic benefit to the US of more than $230 billion with an overall annual return on investment of more than 20%.

However, Dan Simmons recently served as vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, a notoriously conservative think tank, bought and for primarily by fossil fuel money, that unsurprisingly advocates greater fossil fuel use and opposes the international climate agreement signed in Paris.

According to the group’s own website, “IER maintains that freely-functioning energy markets provide the most efficient and effective solutions to today’s global energy and environmental challenges and, as such, are critical to the well-being of individuals and society.” Recently, it has called for an end to wind subsidies, and hit out at Earth Day marches as “ignoring the economic science of climate change” based on some absurd concentric faulty reasoning.

Further, the IER’s president, Thomas J. Pyle, was the head of the transition team for Trump’s Energy Department. He is quoted as unsurprisingly backing the appointment of Simmons: “I applaud President Trump and Secretary Perry for selecting Daniel for a leadership role at the Department of Energy. His years of experience in energy and environmental policy and appreciation for the power of free markets and consumer choice will bring a fresh perspective to the agency.”

Simmons has gone out of his way to set himself up as the poster boy for dismantling renewable energy funding and development, doing so in such a way as to get across the least amount of reality possible. Renewable energy is too expensive, wind and solar will raise electricity prices, and oil and gas should be prioritized. He makes no mention of the massive subsidies currently backing the fossil fuel industry in America, and what that would do to electricity prices if those same subsidies were removed — or handed over to renewable energy sources.

It’s a common enough argument: Fossil fuel is cheaper than renewable energy, therefore, choose fossil fuels. However, two unfortunate facts (or Inconvenient Truths, as they often like to say) give lie to this. Not only are fossil fuels supported by massive subsidies, but solar and wind are becoming more and more cost competitive all the time.

All of this is to say, America’s next four years are going to be rough, whichever way you look at it.  

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  • howardpatr

    As many professionally people in the area of psychiatric disorders have concluded, Trump has serious mental disorders. Hardly a day goes by when he does not demonstrate this.

  • Ken Dyer

    Trump embodies the essence of this decayed, intellectually bankrupt, immoral and increasingly polluted world. He is its natural expression. He is the king of the idiots. We are his victims.

    • Ren Stimpy

      Brain-sucked Dracula with a peroxide blonde birds nest (corpse) haircut. Lining up perfectly with all his corpse policies. That is Trump summarised.

    • Ren Stimpy

      When are we going to give someone below the age of 40 a chance to form a government? We have much better ideas than you’re aged outdated ones!

      • Ken Dyer

        Age has nothing to do with it. If you are 40 and prepared to extend the age of idiots then you are a waste of oxygen!
        http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/05/02/reign-of-idiots/

        • Ren Stimpy

          You are joking (with your link).

          You old folk (+40) do not have your finger on the pulse. You don’t have a clue what we (young people) are doing. Leave the future to us. We know what to do with it and you should stay well out of it!

          • Ren Stimpy

            Trump and the rest of you old fuckers no matter how good your intentions are still yesterday’s fuck-ups. Go away. Go-the-fuck-away. Let us start again. I guarantee we will do better than you ego-maniacs did.

          • Ren Stimpy

            Though Ken I like you and generally what you say. Does that make sense?

          • Ken Dyer

            Why thank you Ren Stimpy. However, I seriously doubt that anyone calling themselves after an unstable dog and a dimwitted cat, a TV series that last aired in 1996 over 20 years ago, could actually be serious. Cheers.

          • Ren Stimpy

            Yeh I was rambling on with nonsense again, sorry.

  • phred01

    What a great appointment it rivals Dracula appointment to run the blood bank

  • Miles Harding

    It would be helpful if the TRump administration read sites such as https://srsroccoreport.com which is not reporting from a political viewpoint.

    Some of its recent headlines are:
    “Future World Economic Growth In Big Trouble As Oil Discoveries Fall To Historic Lows”
    “The Disintegrating Energy Sector Will Make The Entire System Grind To A Halt”
    “Troubling Signs At Bakken As Oil Production Growth Stalls”
    and something more troubling:
    “Wind & Solar Technology Won’t Stop the Collapse Of The U.S. Empire”

    The very steep well decline rates in the tight oil sector and low oil prices have already seen drilling rates fall behind the exponential increase necessary to maintain the fiction of American energy independence. The big initial plays (Bakken and Eagle Ford) have already peaked and are now declining.
    Shale gas exhibits a similar decline behaviour, but less severe, so I would expect to hear of difficulty maintaining gas supplies in the near future. Sites such as http://www.peakoilbarrel.com indicate that this may have been underway for more than a year now, although I would have difficulty separating the physics from poor economics due to low gas prices.
    Any way I look at it, the USA is soon to be left with only coal, which is also suffering its own decline with lower quality deposits replacing higher quality as they are exhausted. Again, the end of economic coal in the USA may be quickly reached if it’s use replaces oil and gas in an Abbott-esque attempt to return to the 1960s, this time a Trump-oid great leap backwards.

    As one of the stories above indicate, saving the US economy’s bacon will be very difficult with a progressive administration and, I would add, about impossible with regressive TRump policies.

  • Mark Fowler

    I expect that this will end up being nothing more than posturing as it seems the RE genie has escaped from the subsidy bottle now the cost of RE technologies have dropped to parity or below compared with coal etc.

    Perhaps he could introduce a tax on solar panels to pay for new coal burners.