Cory Gardner School of Mines

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner announces a partnership between the Department of the Interior, the U.S Geological Survey and the Colorado School of Mines at a ceremony in Denver last October.

Despite dire predictions early on, federal energy laboratories in Colorado continue to reap rewards under the Trump administration.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma, on Monday touted last week's announcement that ExxonMobil intends to invest up to $100 million for research and development to lower emissions over the next decade.

One of the beneficiaries is the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, as well as the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh.

“This investment from ExxonMobil is great news for Colorado,” Gardner said in a statement.

“It’s crucial that our state continues to support innovative lower-emissions research and development in order to enhance the transportation, power generation and industrial sectors across Colorado and the country.

"I will continue to advocate for the collaborative energy research being done at NREL.”

Gardner is a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The Department of Energy said in an announcement last week that the agreement "will foster research collaboration on projects that will advance potential scalable technologies that improve energy efficiency, minimize greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce emissions from the production of fossil fuels and petrochemicals."

Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes said the administration is proving it can grow the economy and look out for the environment via the work of its national labs.

Martin Keller, NREL's director, said his researchers were excited to work on "scalable energy solutions" with ExxonMobil.

“Our partnerships with industry, government, academia, and other research organizations drive the collaboration and innovation that is integral to revolutionizing the global energy landscape,” he said in the statement. "By working side-by-side with ExxonMobil researchers, this partnership provides an unprecedented opportunity to explore new technologies and transform energy through science.”

Separately last year NREL picked up $8 million in federal grants for research to bolster innovative solar power technology, as part of a $72 million grant program operated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.

That was a few months before then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke came to Colorado to announce a $161 million deal to forge a partnership between Golden’s Colorado School of Mines and the U.S. Geological Survey for research and development.

“The focus is to look out West and look at the right institutions and bring out field scientists back from working behind a desk to working in the field and collaborating with really smart people,” Zinke said at the announcement in Denver last October.

The Department of Interior also is considering moving its headquarters out of Washington, D.C.

Grand Junction is considered a prime contender for the office.

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