Our Department of Energy v/s President Trump

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An interesting showdown is brewing. Recently, Trump's transition team sent the DOE a memo asking 74 very penetrating and well thought out questions.

From Willis Eschenbach writing at Anthony's:

Now, bear in mind that the Department of Energy has been the conduit for the billions of dollars wasted on propping up failing solar companies like Solyndra, it’s been the “Friends of Obama Funding Agency” … as a result, it’s not the Augean Stables, but it’s close …

So, let’s take a look at this already infamous 74-question memo. In it we’ll find two things: (1) just what is setting their hair on fire, and (2) whatever clues are there about future actions by the new administration. I’ll discuss both individual questions and groups of questions.

Questions for DOE

This memo, as you might expect, is replete with acronyms. “DOE” is the Department of Energy. Here are the memo questions and my comments.

1. Can you provide a list of all boards, councils, commissions, working groups, and FACAs [Federal Advisory Committees] currently active at the Department? For each, can you please provide members, meeting schedules, and authority (statutory or otherwise) under which they were created?

If I were at DOE, this first question would indeed set MY hair on fire. The easiest way to get rid of something is to show that it was not properly established … boom, it’s gone. As a businessman myself, this question shows me that the incoming people know their business, and that the first order of business is to jettison the useless lumber.

Here are three more - just a brief sampling:

6 The Department recently announced the issuance of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for electric vehicles (and perhaps associated infrastructure). Can you provide a status on this effort?

Oh, man, they are going for the jugular. Loan Program Office? If there is any place that the flies would gather, it’s around the honey … it’s good to see that they are looking at loan guarantees for electric vehicles, a $4.5 billion dollar boondoggle that the government should NOT be in. I call that program the “Elon Musk Retirement Fund”.

Folks, for $4.5 billion dollars, we could provide clean water to almost half a million villages around the world … or we could put it into Elon Musk’s bank account or the account of some other electric vehicle manufacturer. I know which one I’d vote for … and I am equally sure which one the poor of the world would prefer.

And:

27 Is there a readily available list of any technologies or products that have emerged from programs or the labs that are currently offered in the market without any subsidy?

Quite possibly not, but if so it would be an interesting list.

There is no alt.energy program that I know of that operates without some sort of subsidy - they are not economically viable otherwise. The price difference is toxic to their development unless the government steps in with our taxpayer dollars.

55 EIA’s assessments of levelized costs for renewable technologies do not contain back-up costs for the fossil fuel technologies that are brought on-line to replace the generation when those technologies are down. Is this is a correct representation of the true levelized costs?

Since this is an issue I’ve raised publicly in my posts on levelized costs, I’m overjoyed to see them ask it.

EIA is the Energy Information Agency and is charged with collecting and maintaining energy-related data. I have said many times that alt.energy is not baseload and that for every Megawatt of alt.energy, you need to have a duplicate Megawatt of installed natural gas turbine generating capacity for when the wind doesn't blow/sun doesn't shine/etc... A lot of the reports on alt.energy fail to take this into account when they compare levelized costs of generating technology - windmills, solar, hydro, gas, coal and nuke.

And of course, from Reuters today:

U.S. Energy Department balks at Trump request for names on climate change
The U.S. Energy Department said on Tuesday it will not comply with a request from President-elect Donald Trump's Energy Department transition team for the names of people who have worked on climate change and the professional society memberships of lab workers.

The Energy Department's response could signal a rocky transition for the president-elect's energy team and potential friction between the new leadership and the staffers who remain in place.

The memo sent to the Energy Department on Tuesday and reviewed by Reuters last week contains 74 questions, including a request for a list of all department employees and contractors who attended the annual global climate talks hosted by the United Nations within the last five years.

Energy Department spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said Tuesday the department will not comply.

"Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of (the Energy Department) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people," Burnham-Snyder said.

The list of names in only three or four questions out of the 74 in the memo - this is skewed so far off-base to qualify as being "fake news" - does this mean that the DOE is going to respond to all of the other questions or are they just attempting to stonewall. The next couple of months are going to be a lot of fun and whomever Trump has working on Energy policy knows their stuff and is damn good at it.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on December 13, 2016 9:15 PM.

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