Monday, February 16, 2009

Whither DOE?

One constant message I've heard in my travels as DOD Energy Blogger is that the Department of Energy (DOE), originally created during the Carter Administration in response to the energy crisis of that time, is ill structured (and therefore ill prepared) to play the new energy leadership role so many envision for it in our time of multiple energy related crises. Everyone praises the potential of the DOE labs, which sponsor more basic and applied scientific research than any other Federal agency. But the nuclear weapons and energy oversight tasks which the Department also owns leave it very little room to maneuver re: adding additional capabilities.

One source that's tracking the ongoing DOE debate in DC is an online publication EnergyWashington. As EW sees it:
Several former DOE officials have begun questioning whether DOE should be restructured and refocused on energy tasks at hand: “These critics suggest that DOE is now being asked to take on a massive new energy policy function – the Obama administration’s and Congress’ call for a green energy transformation of the U.S. economy – and predict that it cannot perform both this major new function and its nuclear weapons-related responsibilities, which take up two-thirds of DOE’s budget.”
You can find a summary of EnergyWashington's recent DOE transformation articles here, and if you want to go deeper and stay tuned all year, you can ask for subscription info here.

No comments: