Alternative Energy: Government Investment Helps

With the government still in full shut down, the alt energy sector is taking a few licks.  A number of research programs and installations are either fully closed or being worked with a skeleton staff.

Here is a list of some the problems the government shutdown is causing for renewable energy:

  • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management stopped all new offshore wind demonstration project permitting
  • The Department of Energy’s research and technology development offices are being operated by a skeleton crew
  • National Lab research (all non-security related) is being slowed or shut down
  • The Department of Energy’s technology program, ARPA-E, has been shut down
  • Research at NIST and NOAA, including climate and weather research, material science, Nano science, and energy science has been shut down
  • NASA’s energy and earth systems research has been stopped, and 98% of its staff are out of work

A lot of people may not realize how important government investment is for the growth of alt energies.  Companies enjoy bidding wars for government investment contracts that will give them the funds to implement green energy possibilities that they could not accomplish without. 

For Example, recently the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers announced a new contract for geothermal energy use.  It’s part of the Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC), which deals with alternative energy work orders at the Department of Defense (DOD).

According to Defense.gov, the geothermal company New Generation Power was awarded “potential vendor indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price, non-option, non-multi-year contract with a cumulative maximum value of $7,000,000,000.”

But New Generation isn’t the only contractor involved with this contract.  According to geothermal energy association they have joined a group of geothermal companies including:

  • Constellation NewEnergy
  • ECC Renewables
  • Enel Green Power North America
  • LTC Federal
  • Siemens Government Technologies

Col. Rober Ruch, Commander of the US Army Engineering and Support Center had this to say about the new contract:

“Today we are expanding the pool of potential contractors for geothermal projects to include a small business. Including more potential contractors and small business allows us to further expand competition among qualified bidders and encourages the best value for renewable energy projects.”

This is just one example out of many that could be used to demonstrate how government investment helps the private alternative energy sector grow, and innovate.

 But with Congress sitting on their hands, and America STILL lacking a federal energy policy, all the progress towards a renewable America is being delayed, or stopped altogether. While the rest of the world is making serious ground with new energy legislation, the States are now sitting idle while green opportunities and potentials are going untapped.

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