United States Department of Energy
Seal of the U.S. Department of Energy
Flag of the U.S. Department of Energy
James Forrestal headquarters complex in Washington, D.C.
|Formed||August 4, 1977|
|Preceding agencies||Federal Energy Administration (FEA)
Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA)
|Headquarters||James V. Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington D.C
|Employees||16,000 federal (2009)
93,094 contract (2008)
|Annual budget||$30.6 billion (2012)|
|Department executives||Ernest Moniz, Secretary
Daniel Poneman, Deputy Secretary
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. 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.
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.
- 1 History
- 2 Organization
- 3 Facilities
- 4 Responsibility for nuclear weapons
- 5 Related legislation
- 6 Budget
- 7 Energy Savings Performance Contract
- 8 Loan Guarantee Program
- 9 Energy Innovation Hubs
- 10 Polygraphs
- 11 List of Secretaries of Energy
- 12 Symbolism in the seal
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes and references
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
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.
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. 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
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. 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.
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.
- Secretary of Energy
- Deputy Secretary
- Under Secretary of Energy for Energy and Environment
- Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Energy
- Under Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Security
- Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
- Energy Information Administration
- Bonneville Power Administration
- Southeastern Power Administration
- Southwestern Power Administration
- Western Area Power Administration
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
- Deputy Secretary
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:
- Ames Laboratory
- Argonne National Laboratory
- Brookhaven National Laboratory
- Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
- Idaho National Laboratory
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- Los Alamos National Laboratory
- National Energy Technology Laboratory
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
- Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
- Sandia National Laboratories
- Savannah River National Laboratory
- SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
- Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility
Other major DOE facilities include:
- Albany Research Center
- Bannister Federal Complex
- Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory – focuses on the design and development of nuclear power for the U.S. Navy
- Kansas City Plant
- Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory – operates for Naval Reactors Program Research under the DOE (not a National Laboratory)
- National Petroleum Technology Office
- Nevada Test Site
- New Brunswick Laboratory
- Office of Fossil Energy 
- Office of River Protection  (Hanford Site)
- Radiological and Environmental Sciences Laboratory
- Y-12 National Security Complex
- Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository
Responsibility for nuclear weapons
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:
- Design of the nuclear components of the weapon: Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- Engineering of the weapon systems: Sandia National Laboratories
- Manufacturing of key components: Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Kansas City Plant, and Y-12 National Security Complex
- Testing: Nevada Test Site
- Final weapon/warhead assembling/dismantling: Pantex
- 1920 – Federal Power Act
- 1946 – Atomic Energy Act PL 79-585 (created the Atomic Energy Commission)
- 1954 – Atomic Energy Act Amendments PL 83-703
- 1956 – Colorado River Storage Project PL 84-485
- 1957 – Atomic Energy Commission Acquisition of Property PL 85-162
- 1957 – Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act PL 85-256
- 1968 – Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act PL 90-481
- 1973 – Mineral Leasing Act Amendments (Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline Authorization) PL 93-153
- 1974 – Energy Reorganization Act PL 93-438 (Split the AEC into the Energy Research and Development Administration and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission)
- 1975 – Energy Policy and Conservation Act PL 94-163
- 1977 – Department of Energy Organization Act PL 95-91 (Dismantled ERDA and replaced it with the Department of Energy)
- 1978 – National Energy Act PL 95-617, 618, 619, 620, 621
- 1980 – Energy Security Act PL 96-294
- 1989 – Natural Gas Wellhead Decontrol Act PL 101-60
- 1992 – Energy Policy Act of 1992 PL 102-486
- 2000 – National Nuclear Security Administration Act PL 106-65
- 2005 – Energy Policy Act of 2005 PL 109-58
- 2007 – Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 PL 110-140
- 2008 – Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 PL 110-234
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.
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:
|Division||Funding (in billions)|
|Energy and Environment||$10.6|
Energy Savings Performance Contract
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.
Loan Guarantee Program
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".
Energy Innovation Hubs
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.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.
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.
In 1998, the Director of Counterintelligence of the DOE announced that he believed that China had received information about the W-88. As a result from this event, in 1999 U.S. Congress placed a clause in the National Defense Authorization Act that required DOE employees and contractors who had access to specific high risk programs to take counterintelligence polygraph examinations. The DOE planned to require up to 13,000 DOE employees to take polygraph tests. Many DOE employees were unhappy with the proposal and referred to polygraphs as a tool which a police state would use and a witch hunt. Steven Aftergood of Science said that "As soon as the DOE announced its plans to comply with the new requirement, the response from the weapons labs was vocal and hostile." DOE employees unhappy with the polygraph plans attended hearings against polygraphs, issued reviews of scientific literature which opposed polygraphs, wrote letters protesting against plans, and created critical websites. A Congressional panel chaired by Paul Redmond, a former counterintelligence chief of the Central Intelligence Agency, concluded that "The Department of Energy has failed to gain even a modicum of acceptance of the polygraph program in the laboratories. The attitude toward polygraphs at the laboratories runs the gamut from cautiously and rationally negative to emotionally and irrationally negative." By 2000, the DOE announced that only around 800 employees, instead of 13,000, would be required to take polygraphs, and those 800 were in jobs that are in some highly sensitive categories.
Aftergood wrote that the polygraph issue involved a conflict between most scientists, who are "deeply skeptical of [the polygraph's] usefulness in screening employees as a way to enhance security" and between security professionals who "have an equally profound commitment to the polygraph and view it as an indispensable counterintelligence tool."
List of Secretaries of Energy
|#||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
Exert from the code of federal regulations, Title 10: Energy
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."
- Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations
- 2010 United States federal budget
- Advanced Energy Initiative
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
- Appropriation (law)
- Energy Policy Act of 2005
- Federal Energy Management Program
- Fernald Feed Materials Production Center
- Funding Opportunity Announcement
- Green job
- Human experimentation in the United States[further explanation needed]
- Institute of Nuclear Materials Management
- Loan guarantee
- National Council on Electricity Policy
- North American Solar Challenge
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- Radioactive waste
- Smart grid
- Solar Decathlon
- State Energy Program
- The World Institute for Nuclear Security
- Weatherization Assistance Program
- Carolyn Huntoon
Notes and references
- [dead link]
- "Genomes to Life, Black Bag". U.S. Department of Energy.
- "NSF Science and Engineering Indicators 2012". National Science Foundation.
- Relyea, Harold; Thomas P. Carr (2003). The executive branch, creation and reorganization. Nova Publishers. p. 29.
- Plotz, David (June 23, 2000). "Energy Secretary Bill Richardson". Slate.com. Retrieved November 7, 2008.
- Mears, Bill (May 22, 2006). "Deal in Wen Ho Lee case may be imminent". CNN. Retrieved November 7, 2008.
- "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.
- Department of Energy FY2012 Budget Request, Department of Energy – Office of the Chief Financial Officer, February 2012
- "EERE News: DOE Awards 16 Contracts for Energy Savings at Federal Facilities". Apps1.eere.energy.gov. January 7, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2009.
- "Department of Energy – Loan Guarantee Program". Lgprogram.energy.gov. December 31, 2006. Archived from the original on February 1, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2009.
- "EERE News: DOE Offers $535 Million Loan Guarantee to Solyndra, Inc". Apps1.eere.energy.gov. March 20, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2009.
- "US spots $120M for lab to tackle rare earth shortages". Networkworld.com. 2013-01-09. Retrieved 2013-01-16.
- McCarthy, Susan. "The truth about the polygraph." Salon. March 2, 2000. Retrieved on July 5, 2013.
- Aftergood, Steven. "Polygraph Testing and the DOE National Laboratories." (Essays on Science and Society) Science. 3 November 2000: Vol. 290 no. 5493 pp. 939–40 DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5493.939. Retrieved on July 5, 2013.
- "Code of Federal Regulations, Title 10- Energy, PART 1002 - OFFICIAL SEAL AND DISTINGUISHING FLAG". U.S. Department of Energy.
- Cumming, Alfred (Specialist in Intelligence and National Security). "Polygraph Use by the Department of Energy: Issues for Congress." (Archive) Congressional Research Service. February 9, 2009.
- Michaels, Robert J. (2008). "Electricity and Its Regulation". In David R. Henderson (ed.). Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (2nd ed.). Indianapolis: Library of Economics and Liberty. ISBN 978-0865976658. OCLC 237794267.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to United States Department of Energy.|
- Official website
- Department of Energy in the Federal Register
- The U.S. Department of Energy's Ten-Year Plans for the Office of Science National Laboratories
- Loan Guarantee Program
- Works by the United States Department of Energy at Project Gutenberg
- Advanced Energy Initiative
- Twenty In Ten
- Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
- United States Department of Energy collected news and commentary at The Washington Post