Lucas wonders whether new energy office is mismanaged

New DOE office could help bridge 'valley of death' for clean energy technologies | S&P Global Market Intelligence


Congressman Frank Lucas, using his powers as the Ranking Member of a House committee, has been asking a lot of probing questions of the Biden administration and its agencies.

One of the latest is a letter to the Department of Energy to carry out oversight of the agency’s newly created Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations. Rep. Lucas, the top Republican on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, has his suspicions about mismanagement and even misappropriation of some of the more than $27 billion meant for the new office.

Lucas was joined by Texas Congressman randy Weber who noted the magnitude of the spending along with concerns arising from a lack of detail provided by the Department and previous failures to properly manage demonstration projects.

“Energy demonstration projects are a critical bridge between lab discoveries and commercial application of new technologies,” Lucas and Weber wrote.

“The nature and scale of these projects can make administering them difficult, as we have seen in the past at DOE. Given past reports of mismanagement of demonstration projects at DOE, we are particularly concerned about the Department’s plans to ensure this massive influx of new money is managed appropriately so taxpayers receive the greatest possible benefit.”

They noted that although the OECD was established a year ago, many basic questions about its role in the DOE research enterprise remain unanswered. “While DOE has shared some information about this office through its website, congressional briefings, and announcements for specific programs, the Committee has received minimal details about OCED’s activities, its role within the Department, and the status of its efforts to comply with the directions in the IIJA,” they wrote. “As such, we must request more information from the Department in order to fulfill our congressional oversight responsibilities.”

The full letter is available here.