United States Department of Energy
The United States Department of Energy
) 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 led by the United States Secretary of Energy
, and its headquarters
are located in SouthwestWashington, D.C.
, on Independence Avenue
in the James V. Forrestal Building
, as well as in Germantown
United States Department of Energy
Formation and consolidation
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.
The Atomic Energy Act of 1946
also created the framework for the first National Laboratories
. Among other nuclear projects, the AEC produced fabricated uranium fuel cores at locations such as Fernald Feed Materials Production Center
in Cincinnati, Ohio
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
, 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. Former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger
, who served under Presidents Nixon and Ford during the Vietnam War
, was appointed as the first secretary.
created the Department of Energy with the goal of promoting energy conservation and developing alternative sources of energy. He wanted to not be dependent on foreign oil and reduce the use of fossil fuels
With international energy's future uncertain for America, Carter acted quickly to have the department come into action the first year of his presidency. This was an extremely important issue of the time as the oil crisis was causing shortages and inflation
With the Three-Mile Island disaster
, Carter was able to intervene with the help of the department. Carter made switches within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
in this case to fix the management and procedures. This was possible as nuclear energy and weapons are responsibility of the Department of Energy.
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 episode eventually led to the creation of the National Nuclear Security Administration
, a semi-autonomous agency within the department.
Loan guarantee program of 2005
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".
In loan guarantees, a conditional commitment requires to meet an equity commitment, as well as other conditions, before the loan guarantee is completed.
On March 28, 2017, a supervisor in the Office of International Climate and Clean Energy asked staff to avoid the phrases "climate change
," "emissions reduction
," or "Paris Agreement
" in written memos, briefings or other written communication. A DOE spokesperson denied that phrases had been banned.
In a May 2019 press release concerning natural gas
exports from a Texas facility, the DOE used the term 'freedom gas' to refer to natural gas. The phrase originated from a speech made by Secretary Rick Perry
in Brussels earlier that month. Washington Governor Jay Inslee
decried the term "a joke".
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 seven 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.
Symbolism in the seal
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
, oil derrick
, 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."
represents the care in planning and the purposefulness of efforts required to respond to the Nation's increasing demands for energy
. The sun
, oil derrick
, 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
, 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
The Department of Energy operates a system of national laboratories and technical facilities for research and development, as follows:
Other major DOE facilities include:
Nuclear weapons sites
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:
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 2013, each of the operating units of the Department of Energy operated with the following budgets:
In March 2018, Energy Secretary Rick Perry testified to a Senate panel about the Trump administration's DOE budget request for fiscal year 2019. The budget request prioritizes nuclear security while making large cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. The proposal is a $500 million increase in funds over fiscal year 2017. It "promotes innovations like a new Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) and gains for the Office of Fossil Energy. Investments would be made to strengthen the National Nuclear Security Administration and modernize the nuclear force, as well as in weapons activities and advanced computing." However, the budget for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would be lowered to $696 million under the plan, down from $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2017. Overall, the department's energy and related programs would be cut by $1.9 billion.
Programs and contracts
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.
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 2009 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, were created to 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 was made to develop "smart" materials to 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.
Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy
List of Secretaries of Energy
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- ^ "Office of Fossil Energy". Department of Energy. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
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- ^ Galford, Chris (March 20, 2018). "Perry defends nuclear investment and cuts to renewables in $30.6 bln DOE budget proposal". Daily Energy Insider. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
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- ^ Cooney, Michael (January 9, 2013). "US spots $120M for lab to tackle rare earth shortages". Network World. Retrieved January 16, 2013.
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Last edited on 14 June 2021, at 18:40
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