Issue Date: November 21, 2011
Senate Takes Up Energy Planning
Members of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee last week strongly endorsed the Department of Energy’s “Quadrennial Technology Review,” a recently completed reexamination of the department’s energy research priorities. Presenting the review was Steven Koonin, DOE undersecretary for science, who oversaw the review. He announced a week ago that he would leave DOE to join the Institute for Defense Analyses’ Science & Technology Policy Institute. Among the quadrennial review’s far-reaching recommendations was for DOE to shift its research direction over the next four years to a greater emphasis on transportation-related R&D and away from aid to stationary sources of clean electricity (C&EN, Oct. 3, page 9). Most of the Senate panel’s comments focused less on the fruits of the review and more on the importance of charting a long-range direction for U.S. energy policy. Indeed, committee leaders underscored the importance of two bills, S. 1703 and S. 1807, which, respectively, would make the quadrennial review process mandatory every four years for all federal agencies and would create an interagency planning and budget process for all agencies doing energy R&D.
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