The budget outline that President Trump released yesterday proposed a historic scaling-back of research and development by the Department of Energy, upending decades of bipartisan consensus on the department's mission.
Trump thinks that the federal government is meddling in the market and that it should limit itself to basic research and shift the billions of dollars it spends on applied research and commercialization to private industry.
Meanwhile, many entrepreneurs who receive DOE research funding see themselves as helping the United States gain a competitive edge in a global energy sector that is being transformed by new technology. That level of private money, they say, simply doesn't exist.
"This is the worst time in history to do this, and it will lead to America losing in the next 10 years," said Saul Griffith, founder of Otherlab, a private California research facility that gets half of its funding from DOE. "Germany and China will come marching in."
On the other side are conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, which have great sway in forming the Trump administration's views on energy matters
Read more at Should DOE Get Out of the Research Business?