How Will Rick Perry Shape the Department of Energy?

Forecasting the DOE’s focus


President-elect Trump recently announced his intention to nominate Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, to serve as secretary of energy. “My administration is going to make sure we take advantage of our huge natural resource deposits to make America energy independent and create vast new wealth for our nation, and Rick Perry is going to do an amazing job as the leader of that process,” Trump said in a statement.

The Department of Energy was created by former President Jimmy Carter in 1977 to promote energy development and protect nuclear resources. Today, scientific advancement and nuclear security constitute nearly two-thirds of the department’s $30 billion budget according to the Wall Street Journal. The government agency also oversees national laboratories and is responsible for setting energy efficiency standards and authorizing the exportation of natural gas.

The DOE’s programs have changed significantly with each new president. Under President Obama, emphasis was placed on clean energy programs and development programs for solar, energy storage, and efficient vehicles.

As governor of Texas, Perry promoted the development of the state’s oil and gas resources and streamlined permitting processes. But he also supported the renewable energy industry in Texas as well by signing legislation that mandated the expansion of renewable capacity and allocating $50 million to develop algae, biomass, and solar technology.

“He created an environment conducive to economic investment through robust infrastructure and competitive power markets that allowed new technologies to enter. The Texas model under Gov. Perry’s leadership enabled the growth of low-cost wind energy that made the grid more diverse and reliable while saving consumers money,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association told Science Magazine’s Jeffrey Mervis.

Not long ago though, Perry expressed his intention to eliminate the Department of Energy and even forgot it during a televised debate during his 2012 presidential campaign. Thus, it will be interesting to observe how the Department of Energy’s focus will shift under his leadership. What are your predictions? How will the Department of Energy direct its attention? What value will Perry’s administration place on oil and gas? DE_bug_web

  • Paul Baker.

    My bet is that the Nuclear Security is transferred out, thus reducing the size by 40%, then the remaining portion will be thinned out by at least 50%, leaving the overall size at roughly 30% of the original size.

  • Michael A. Marullo.

    Perry has virtually no discernible knowledge or experience with nuclear, which is clearly the focal point of DOE. This is yet another example of Trump’s amazingly minimal understanding of how our government functions. If Trump/Perry think that all Perry has to do is focus on opening new areas for O&G, they are both in for a rude awakening. I shudder to think where this tainted mentality might lead the country — or NOT…

  • steve factor.

    Mr Trump probably envisioned the vast expanses of barren mountaintop coal mines, shale oil pits and cluttered oilfields feeding crude through his pipeline investments. Please remind him that our nations most readily accessible energy sources are solar and wind.

  • Malcolm Nason.

    I hope Mister Perry recognizes that the reasons former President Carter established the Department of Energy (energy development and protection of nuclear resources) still exist. DOE’s contributions to nuclear security (our nuclear plants aren’t getting any younger) and research into energy production, transmission, and distribution offer a solid return on investment.

  • Rosemary Sutherland.

    If you want to find out how someone will behave in the future look at how they have behaved in the past. What matters most. The lobbyist push. The State popularity vote. The message so far is “I am” “I want”. …..and I hope that the next 4 years is largely uneventful. But that’s a wish not a prediction.


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