WASHINGTON, DC - At the direction of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, $5 million was transferred to Midwest Research Institute, the operating contractor for the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), over the weekend. DOE has been informed that the NREL lab director will use these funds to immediately restore all of the jobs that were cut earlier this month due to budget shortfalls.
"The programs at NREL are critically important to realizing the President's vision to diversify and strengthen our nation's energy mix," Secretary Bodman said. "The action we are taking today will allow the dedicated employees at NREL to continue their work that will bring us great innovation in renewable energy technologies."
DOE transferred the $5 million from other accounts. The department is working with Congress to restore funds to those accounts through one of several methods, including the deobligation of funds provided to several congressionally directed projects in 2001 and 2002 that have failed to make progress.
President Bush's FY 2007 budget request seeks a 78 percent increase in solar energy research, a 65 percent increase in biomass research, and a 42 percent increase in hydrogen research - all core areas of research work done at NREL. Should the Congress fully fund the President's request, unencumbered by earmarks, NREL should be able to maintain a vibrant and stable workforce in the future.
Craig Stevens, 202/586-4940