President-elect Trump's successful deal to keep Carrier's jobs in the U.S. is being used to coax support for clean energy subsidies left out of last year's omnibus spending bill.
A number of clean energy lobbying groups are looking to get their subsidies extended in a short-term budget resolution that Congress is seeking to pass by Friday.
The GOP leadership wants the budget measure to pass with no added provisions to extend expiring tax credits for such items as geothermal heat pumps, hydrogen fuel cells, energy efficiency and a number of other technologies. For that reason, the groups are looking for Trump's much-needed support.
Doug Dougherty, president of the Geothermal Exchange Organization, was the first to jump on the Carrier deal, saying even more jobs would be saved by extending the tax credits for geothermal heat pumps and other clean energy resources before they expire.
"Headlines today are heralding a deal with Carrier Corp. to keep approximately 1,000 jobs in the state of Indiana," Dougherty said. "But tens of thousands of jobs across the country remain on the line if Congress fails to act on the Investment Tax Credit."
Carrier used to be a member of Dougherty's group because it manufactures geothermal heat pumps as well as more conventional heating and cooling devices. The geothermal heat pumps use the constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool homes. They also provide jobs for the mom-and-pop drilling companies that have benefited from increased interest in deploying the technologies, he told reporters. Pipes have to be installed underground to install the devices.
"It has been widely reported the successful deal was the result of significant tax incentives offered to Carrier to remain in the state," Dougherty said. "If President-Elect Trump and members of Congress are serious about saving American manufacturing jobs, they can act right now by supporting an extension of the Investment Tax Credit," he said in a statement after the deal was done.
Dougherty told the Washington Examiner that his lobbying team has been actively seeking to meet with several members of Trump's transition team. "We've reached out to several people on the transition team," he said in an email. But no meetings have occurred.
It is not clear how Trump will view clean energy and the subsidies they receive, although he has said he supports clean coal. During his campaign, Trump was hostile to wind and solar, criticizing what he described as the poor economics of renewable energy compared to fossil fuels.
Other clean energy groups have begun seeking meetings with the Trump team to press their concerns and understand where he stands.
Some lobbyists representing the solar industry said they are reaching out to his team and have had some meetings with transition officials. But other groups say it has been a struggle to get sit-down meetings with transition team energy officials.
Part of the reason for that is the Energy Department transition team just arrived at agency headquarters to begin the formal transition process a week ago, said Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan, who also is looking for meetings with the incoming administration.
The Trump energy transition group is comprised of a handful of people, Callahan said in an interview with the Examiner. Her group supports ways of making energy use in homes and buildings more efficient, and wants to see tax credits orphaned last year extended.
"As of a few days ago, there was only one person at [Department of Energy], and that one person had only come on Monday," she said. "I am sure they have friends, and maybe they are meeting with some people, but at least with respect to the DOE transition team, I would expect that there are very, very few meetings because there are so few people and they just walked into the doors on Monday."
Callahan said the alliance has not met with any Trump officials, although they tried to schedule meetings well before the election. She said a meeting was scheduled with senior Trump political adviser Sam Clovis in the summer to meet with their associates and board, but it was canceled less than 30 minutes before the scheduled meeting.
"So, they had agreed to meet with us," Callahan said. "We had spoken to Sam on the phone," she said. The alliance is continuing to try to meet with the head of the energy transition team, Tom Pyle, who had been the head of the conservative Institute for Energy Research.