As promised, the Trump administration is shaking up the country’s energy policy, one plan at a time. Shortly before announcing the US will pull out of the Paris climate deal, Trump’s administration released its 2018 budget proposal late May and requested $3.6 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade.
If approved, these cuts will affect several Department of Energy (DOE) programs including Resilient Distribution Systems, formerly Smart Grid Research and Development. Many in the electric utility and data systems industry are anticipating what these proposed changes will mean for the grid.
To help you stay on top what’s happening, here’s a breakdown of some of the budget cuts that may significantly affect utilities and the smart grid.
The Trump administration’s proposed budget might change the future of the smart grid.
42% reduction in the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE)
OE leads the Department of Energy’s effort to improve America’s energy delivery system through grid modernization. It’s a key driver behind technology and policies to ensure the grid is secure, resilient and reliable. OE’s initiatives include the smart grid, cybersecurity and energy storage programs. The Trump administration proposed a 42% overall cut to this office in fiscal year 2018. This includes a:
- 67% cut in the Transmission Reliability program
- 71% cut in Resilient Distribution Systems (Smart Grid Research and Development)
- 32% cut in Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems
Minimal cuts were proposed for Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration. See the chart below.
DOE – Electricity Office – Proposed Budget FY 2018.
Elimination of the State Energy Program (SEP)
Trump’s budget plan will eliminate the SEP which offers financial and technical assistance for energy efficiency, the reduction of energy costs, and economic development along the line of alternative energy. The program says it generates $585 million in economic development for every $50 million in SEP funding.
Elimination of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E)
This program helps support new energy technologies to enhance the energy security of the US. Trump’s administration has proposed closing this office and transferring activities to another program within the DOE. In 2015, ARPA-E spent $95 million to fund 22 projects focused on innovative methane detection and thermal management technologies. Two of these projects went public, while 20 raised $625 million in private-sector investment.
It’ll be up to Congress to ultimately decide where the money goes. In the meantime, smart grid providers and utilities must prepare for any significant changes at the federal level. We have to also stay steadfast in modernizing the grid and realizing grid cybersecurity.
At SSS, our utility engineering services team offer guidance and support to utilities, rolling-out new technology in the most effective and cost-saving way possible. To get in touch with our team, call us at 844-789-9111.
The picture of President Trump and Ivanka Trump used in our June newsletter is compliments of The White House.