The new appointee to lead DOE may be less of an ideologue and more of a pragmatist, but he is still a loyal supporter of the Trump Administration’s approach to energy policy.
On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he has nominated a new head of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The pick was no surprise; since the news that acting Energy Secretary Rick Perry would step down broke on Thursday, many news outlets have speculated that Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette would replace him.
Brouillette has kept a lower profile domestically than Perry, leading many outlets to publish rather bland descriptions of him as the nominee to head U.S. energy R&D and keep an eye on the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
So who is Dan Brouillette? We’ve compiled a few quick details:
He says he is an “all of the above” guy
In multiple media appearances, Dan Brouillette has presented himself as an advocate for President Trump’s “All of the above” energy policy. This slogan itself was first used by President Obama, but the Trump Administration has attempted to put its own stamp on the phrase. As explained by Brouillette before the International Energy Agency:
For perhaps the fist time, the United States is finally embracing a true, all of the above energy policy. One that does not pick winners and losers, but instead opens the door to innovation.
And in his role at DOE, Brouillette has been an enthusiastic participant the Solar Decathlon. This and DOE’s continuation of solar programs such as SunShot and SolSmart suggests that unlike some of the pro-coal ideologues that President Trump has appointed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Brouillette may not be hostile to renewable energy.
Brouillette has also been identified by Politico as being a key player in getting the Energy Policy Act of 2005 passed, which created the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar and the DOE loan guarantee program. And even with solar outgrowing the need for loan guarantees, these two programs have probably been the most significant supports for solar at the federal level.
…but he was part of the effort to get a coal and nuclear bailout
The Deputy Secretary may have a different idea about what not picking winners and losers means, than we do (or than eight former commissioners at FERC), as he was part of Secretary Perry’s attempt to ram a bailout for coal and nuclear power plants through FERC.
Brouillette has defended the coal and nuclear bailout on the claim that coal and nuclear power plants are not being adequately recognized for the value they provide. “One of the main reasons that coal and nuclear are, quote, uneconomic is because they don’t get paid for their services,” Brouillette told the Washington Examiner in a February 2018 interview.