by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
To many on the environmental left, funding cuts to green energy amount to a war on “clean technology.” Revelations in December that President Trump was redirecting funding away from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program was met with dismay by steadfast backers of the program.
Now, the president is seeking to end ARPA-E, and to slash funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by $1.3 billion. Despite fear-mongering over the demise of clean tech, the best research shows these programs have minimal benefit. Rather than bolstering emerging technologies, they have chiefly siphoned money away from more promising private sector research with actual potential. …
… Rather than doubling down on failed “clean tech” programs, proponents of green energy research should work to ensure that tax rates remain low enough to encourage innovation and investment. A recent analysis shows that reductions in tax rates spur patent filings and the hiring of star scientists by businesses. While the analysis examined state-level, rather than federal-level, tax changes, the results imply that top innovators readily alter behaviors in response to tax policy changes.