Department of Energy
Hubs and clusters, institutes and ecosystems: In recent years, we and others have talked a lot about the morphology of innovation systems, which are frequently anchored by major centers of research and comprised of related regional groups of entrepreneurs, orbiting firms, industry actors, and educational institutions. Strengthening that optimal structure was the idea behind our companion proposals for the creation of a network of regional energy discovery-innovation institutes and the establishment of a program to aid and abet nascent clusters with competitive grants.
On May 31, standing in front of Solyndra’s vacant headquarters, Mitt Romney lambasted President Obama for granting the company a $528 million loan guarantee.
In August 2008, a week before Barack Obama went to Denver to collect his nomination, Steven Chu stepped onto a stage in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s Cox Pavilion. The 60-year-old physicist was a towering presence in his field, a Nobel Prize winner and the director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. But he was largely unknown to the Washington-centric crowd of several hundred, in town for a clean energy conference co-hosted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund.
Last month I said I thought it would be premature for the Department of Energy (DOE) to rush into authorizing massive exports of natural gas, notwithstanding the amazing recent boom in American shale gas production. My worry was that precipitous large-scale exports could tighten U.S. supplies and raise prices, with negative ramifications for domestic industrial concerns that depend on cheap gas. My thought: Wouldn’t it be preferable to re-shore good-paying manufacturing jobs rather than serve as a resource colony for the rest of the world? Seems we should be prudent here! Now, Rep.
Notwithstanding the bleak outlook surrounding federal clean energy policy detailed in our recent report “Sizing the Clean Economy,” the FY 2012 omnibus spending compromise hammered out last week actually contains several reassuring affirmations of the value of recent institutional experiments. One winner is the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, perhaps the Department of Energy’s most popular program. Although the program is funded at just $275 million--about half the level President Obama had requested--many will probably be relieved that the program has now survived, which hasn’t alwa
Last week I argued here that it would be premature for the Department of Energy to authorize massive exports of natural gas, notwithstanding the astonishing recent boom in American shale gas production. I worried that precipitous large-scale exports could tighten U.S. supplies and raise prices, with negative ramifications for U.S. industrial concerns that depend on cheap gas. For that reason I argued that gas should be exported not in its raw form but only as a low-cost input to higher-value production and job creation by American companies.
The astonishing boom in American shale gas production continues to change everything--perceptions of fuel abundance and scarcity, projections of the U.S.
As everyone by now knows, Solyndra, a California-based solar panel manufacturer, has gone bankrupt and defaulted on $535 million in loans, the payment of which was guaranteed by the Department of Energy (DOE). And, as everyone also knows, a White House official, who was connected through his wife to a law firm that worked for Solyndra, may have inappropriately involved himself in the loan process. The apparent conflict of interest inside the administration is inexcusable, of course. And it’s obviously not a happy occasion when a company defaults on government-backed loans.
Imagine a federal government program that created one full time job for every $5,000 of taxpayer spending. Under this program, obligations are only made after many months of careful analysis by career officials at the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Energy, in consultation with independent private sector experts. On top of that, the program increases domestic U.S. energy production and vastly reduces the economic damage caused by pollution.