What’s next for energy?

That’s what I was pondering the day before President Obama’s first inauguration as I left my office at the U.S. Department of Energy for the last time—after serving for several years as head of public affairs during President Bush’s Administration.

The energy landscape changed under President Obama. And certainly, his legacy will include advancing renewable energy and climate change protections.

There is, of course, another side to those policies: While the Obama Administration stated that it had an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, in reality, his environmental policies were anti-fossil fuels. The President’s Clean Power Plan and other regulations pushed many coal companies into bankruptcy; his onshore and offshore oil and gas restrictions hampered domestic development; and there has been virtually no support for nuclear energy.

So with President-elect Trump already outlining his 100-day agenda, what might his Administration’s energy policy look like?

Expect change.

While there are not a lot of specifics at this point, here’s what we know about Mr. Trump’s Energy Agenda:

  • He wants to make America energy independent, create millions of new jobs, and protect clean air and water;
  • He supports U.S. shale, oil, natural gas, and coal development—opening onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands, eliminating the moratorium on coal leasing and opening shale energy deposits;
  • He will encourage the use of natural gas to reduce the price of energy and increase our economic output; and
  • He wants to reduce and eliminate all barriers to responsible energy production, scrap the Clean Power Plant regulation, unravel the Paris climate agreement and ask TransCanada to renew its permit application to build the Keystone pipeline.


Experts are asking: how will Mr. Trump juxtapose the protection of clean air and water with the emphatic support for traditional sources of energy? It will also be interesting to see how he balances the increased use of natural gas with his focus on bringing back coal.

There has been virtually no mention by Mr. Trump of nuclear, solar and wind power, so there’s a lot of speculation as to what support these industries will receive. And there’s the question of how he and the Republican Congress will manage the widespread support and trust that the the general public places in the renewables industry as reflected in the recent 2016 Makovsky Energy Report.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he pursued an “all-of-the-above” strategy similar to President Bush—less restrictions on traditional energy sources and an adequate level of support for alternative forms of energy.

We’re about to find out.

thought leadership

Powering Through the Glass Ceiling: Women-Led Change in Energy


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