Dan Simmons spent years fighting government sponsorship of renewable energy sources, and now after spending a year as acting head of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, President Donald Trump has nominated him to be the office’s assistant secretary.
He previously served in leading roles at the Institute for Energy Research (IER) and the American Legislative Exchange Council, both conservative groups that generally oppose policies like tax credits and grants aimed at boosting solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy.
On several occasions, Simmons has railed against government subsidization of renewable energy industries, saying in 2013 that it is “not a good deal for taxpayers”.
Still, Simmons – who said he opposes government subsidies for all energy industries – claims that he is not opposed to the mission of the office he led for the past year, telling department officials shortly after coming on board that he likes renewable energy:
“I like renewables & efficiency,” Simmons said in the post first reported by E&E News. “I know that's contrary to some of the things that have been written about me, but it's true.”
Simmons said the house he grew up in had a wood-burning stove and passive solar heating.
“In addition to the sun, we had a wood-burning stove, and because the house was efficient (i.e., well insulated), we only needed to burn about a quarter of a cord of wood a year," he said. "For me, both renewable energy and efficiency were part of my childhood home and those experiences have shaped my perspective."