United States Department of Energy

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United States
Department of Energy
US-DeptOfEnergy-Seal.svg
Seal of the U.S. Department of Energy
Flag of the United States Department of Energy.svg
Flag of the U.S. Department of Energy
US Dept of Energy Forrestal Building.jpg
James Forrestal headquarters complex in Washington, D.C.
Department overview
Formed August 4, 1977; 37 years ago (1977-08-04)
Preceding agencies Federal Energy Administration (FEA)
Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA)
Headquarters James V. Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington D.C
38°53′13″N 77°1′34″W / 38.88694°N 77.02611°W / 38.88694; -77.02611Coordinates: 38°53′13″N 77°1′34″W / 38.88694°N 77.02611°W / 38.88694; -77.02611
Employees 16,000 federal (2009)[1]
93,094 contract (2008)
Annual budget $30.6 billion (2012)
Department executives Ernest Moniz, Secretary
Daniel Poneman, Deputy Secretary
Website energy.gov

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material. Its responsibilities include the nation's nuclear weapons program, nuclear reactor production for the United States Navy, energy conservation, energy-related research, radioactive waste disposal, and domestic energy production. It also directs research in genomics; the Human Genome Project originated in a DOE initiative.[2] DOE sponsors more research in the physical sciences than any other U.S. federal agency, the majority of which is conducted through its system of National Laboratories.[3]

The agency is administered by the United States Secretary of Energy, and its headquarters are located in southwest Washington, D.C., on Independence Avenue in the James V. Forrestal Building, named for James Forrestal, as well as in Germantown, Maryland.

History[edit]

In 1942, during World War II, the United States started the Manhattan Project, a project to develop the atomic bomb, under the eye of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After the war in 1946, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was created to control the future of the project.[citation needed]

In 1974 the AEC gave way to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which was tasked with regulating the nuclear power industry, and the Energy Research and Development Administration, which was tasked to manage the nuclear weapon, naval reactor, and energy development programs.

The 1973 oil crisis called attention to the need to consolidate energy policy. On August 4, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed into law The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 (Pub.L. 95–91, 91 Stat. 565, enacted August 4, 1977), which created the Department of Energy.[4] The new agency, which began operations on October 1, 1977, consolidated the Federal Energy Administration, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Federal Power Commission, and programs of various other agencies.

Weapon plans stolen[edit]

Main article: Wen Ho Lee

In December 1999, The FBI was investigating how China obtained plans for a specific nuclear device. Wen Ho Lee was accused of stealing nuclear secrets from Los Alamos National Laboratory for the People's Republic of China. Federal officials, including then-Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, publicly named Lee as a suspect before he was charged with a crime. The U.S. Congress held hearings to investigate the Department of Energy's mishandling of his case. Republican senators thought that an independent agency should be in charge of nuclear weapons and security issues, not the Department of Energy.[5] All but one of the 59 charges against Lee were eventually dropped because the investigation finally proved that the plans the Chinese obtained could not have come from Lee. Lee filed suit and won a $1.6 million settlement against the federal government and news agencies.[6]

Organization[edit]

Sign in front of the United States Department of Energy Forrestal Building on Independence Avenue in Washington D.C.

The Department is under the control and supervision of a United States Secretary of Energy, a political appointee of the President of the United States. The Energy Secretary is assisted in managing the Department by a United States Deputy Secretary of Energy, also appointed by the President, who assumes the duties of the Secretary in his absence. The Department also has three Under Secretaries, each appointed by the President, who oversee the major areas of the Department's work. The President also appoints eight officials with the rank of Assistant Secretary of Energy who have line management responsibility for major organizational elements of the Department. The Energy Secretary assigns their functions and duties.

Facilities[edit]

As a leading federal research and development agency in the United States, the Department of Energy operates a system of national laboratories and technical facilities.

The DOE National Laboratories are as follows:

Other major DOE facilities include:

Other[edit]

Responsibility for nuclear weapons[edit]

The DOE/NNSA has federal responsibility for the design, testing and production of all nuclear weapons. NNSA in turn uses contractors to carry out its responsibilities at the following government owned sites:

Related legislation[edit]

Organizational structure of the U.S. Department of Energy

Budget[edit]

President Barack Obama unveiled on May 7, 2009, a $26.4 billion budget request for DOE for fiscal year (FY) 2010, including $2.3 billion for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The budget aims to substantially expand the use of renewable energy sources while improving energy transmission infrastructure. It also makes significant investments in hybrids and plug-in hybrids, in smart grid technologies, and in scientific research and innovation.[7]

As part of the $789 billion economic stimulus package in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Congress provided Energy with an additional $38.3 billion for fiscal years 2009 and 2010, adding about 75 percent to Energy's annual budgets. Most of the stimulus spending was in the form of grants and contracts.

For fiscal year 2011, each of the operating units of the Department of Energy operate with the following budgets:[8]

Division Funding (in billions)
Management $0.4
Energy and Environment $10.6
Science $4.9
Nuclear Security $10.5
Other $0.6
Total $27

Energy Savings Performance Contract[edit]

Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) are contracts under which a contractor designs, constructs, and obtains the necessary financing for an energy savings project, and the federal agency makes payments over time to the contractor from the savings in the agency's utility bills. The contractor guarantees the energy improvements will generate savings, and after the contract ends, all continuing cost savings accrue to the federal agency.[9]

Loan Guarantee Program[edit]

Main article: Loan guarantee

Title XVII of Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes the DOE to issue loan guarantees to eligible projects that "avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases" and "employ new or significantly improved technologies as compared to technologies in service in the United States at the time the guarantee is issued".[10]

In loan guarantees, a conditional commitment requires to meet an equity commitment, as well as other conditions, before the loan guarantee is completed.[11]

Energy Innovation Hubs[edit]

Energy Innovation Hubs are multi-disciplinary meant to advance highly promising areas of energy science and technology from their early stages of research to the point that the risk level will be low enough for industry to commercialize the technologies.[7] The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL) was the first DOE Energy Innovation Hub established in July 2010, for the purpose of providing advanced modeling and simulation (M&S) solutions for commercial nuclear reactors.

The DOE budget includes $280 million to fund eight Energy Innovation Hubs, each of which is focused on a particular energy challenge. Two of the eight hubs are included in the EERE budget and will focus on integrating smart materials, designs, and systems into buildings to better conserve energy and on designing and discovering new concepts and materials needed to convert solar energy into electricity. Another two hubs, included in the DOE Office of Science budget, will tackle the challenges of devising advanced methods of energy storage and creating fuels directly from sunlight without the use of plants or microbes. Yet another hub will develop "smart" materials that will allow the electrical grid to adapt and respond to changing conditions.[7]

In 2012, The DOE awarded $120 million to the Ames Laboratory to start a new EIH, the Critical Materials Institute, which will focus on improving the supply of rare earth elements, which is controlled by China.[12]

List of Secretaries of Energy[edit]

# Name Term Began Term Ended President served
1 James R. Schlesinger August 6, 1977 August 23, 1979 Jimmy Carter
2 Charles W. Duncan, Jr. August 24, 1979 January 20, 1981
3 James B. Edwards January 23, 1981 November 5, 1982 Ronald Reagan
4 Donald Paul Hodel November 5, 1982 February 7, 1985
5 John S. Herrington February 7, 1985 January 20, 1989
6 James D. Watkins March 1, 1989 January 20, 1993 George H.W. Bush
7 Hazel R. O'Leary January 22, 1993 January 20, 1997 Bill Clinton
8 Federico F. Peña March 12, 1997 June 30, 1998
9 Bill Richardson August 18, 1998 January 20, 2001
10 Spencer Abraham January 20, 2001 January 31, 2005 George W. Bush
11 Samuel W. Bodman February 1, 2005 January 20, 2009
12 Steven Chu January 21, 2009 April 22, 2013 Barack Obama
13 Ernest Moniz May 16, 2013 Incumbent

Symbolism in the seal[edit]

Excerpt from the code of federal regulations, Title 10: Energy[13]

The official seal of the Department of energy "includes a green shield bisected by a gold-colored lightning bolt, on which is emblazoned a gold-colored symbolic sun, atom, oil derrick, windmill, and dynamo. It is crested by the white head of an eagle, atop a white rope. Both appear on a blue field surrounded by concentric circles in which the name of the agency, in gold, appears on a green background."

"The eagle represents the care in planning and the purposefulness of efforts required to respond to the Nation's increasing demands for energy. The sun, atom, oil derrick, windmill, and dynamo serve as representative technologies whose enhanced development can help meet these demands. The rope represents the cohesiveness in the development of the technologies and their link to our future capabilities. The lightning bolt represents the power of the natural forces from which energy is derived and the Nation's challenge in harnessing the forces."

"The color scheme is derived from nature, symbolizing both the source of energy and the support of man's existence. The blue field represents air and water, green represents mineral resources and the earth itself, and gold represents the creation of energy in the release of natural forces. By invoking this symbolism, the color scheme represents the Nation's commitment to meet its energy needs in a manner consistent with the preservation of the natural environment."

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "Genomes to Life, Black Bag". U.S. Department of Energy. 
  3. ^ "NSF Science and Engineering Indicators 2012". National Science Foundation. 
  4. ^ Relyea, Harold; Thomas P. Carr (2003). The executive branch, creation and reorganization. Nova Publishers. p. 29. 
  5. ^ Plotz, David (June 23, 2000). "Energy Secretary Bill Richardson". Slate.com. Retrieved November 7, 2008. 
  6. ^ Mears, Bill (May 22, 2006). "Deal in Wen Ho Lee case may be imminent". CNN. Retrieved November 7, 2008. 
  7. ^ a b c "EERE News: DOE Requests $2.3 Billion for Efficiency, Renewable Energy in FY 2010". Apps1.eere.energy.gov. May 13, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 
  8. ^ Department of Energy FY2012 Budget Request, Department of Energy – Office of the Chief Financial Officer, February 2012
  9. ^ "EERE News: DOE Awards 16 Contracts for Energy Savings at Federal Facilities". Apps1.eere.energy.gov. January 7, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Department of Energy – Loan Guarantee Program". Lgprogram.energy.gov. December 31, 2006. Archived from the original on February 1, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 
  11. ^ "EERE News: DOE Offers $535 Million Loan Guarantee to Solyndra, Inc". Apps1.eere.energy.gov. March 20, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 
  12. ^ "US spots $120M for lab to tackle rare earth shortages". Networkworld.com. 2013-01-09. Retrieved 2013-01-16. 
  13. ^ "Code of Federal Regulations, Title 10- Energy, PART 1002 - OFFICIAL SEAL AND DISTINGUISHING FLAG". U.S. Department of Energy. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]