November 1, 2012
Implementation of the Department of Energy's Concentrating Solar Power Program
The Department of Energy's (Department) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Concentrating Solar Power Program is intended to broaden the use of concentrating solar power by making the technology cost competitive in the conventional power market. The Department plans to achieve this goal through cost-shared contracts with private industry, as well as facilitating advanced research at its national laboratories. Concentrating solar power technologies concentrate the sun's energy and convert it to heat which is then used to drive an engine or turbine to produce electrical power. The audit found that the Department had implemented controls over the selection and monitoring of both its Baseload and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) Awards. For its Baseload Awards, the Department developed and implemented a control process that, in our opinion, provided reasonable assurance that funds were properly awarded and subsequently managed. Similarly, for its Recovery Act Awards, the Department implemented a control process that included an application and award selection process, onsite monitoring and regular performance reviews. This control process differed from the Baseload Award in that the Recovery Act Awards were restricted to national laboratories operated by established Management and Operating contractors. For both award types, test work did not identify problems with supporting documentation for costs claimed by the recipients and reimbursed by the Department. In addition, projects were generally meeting established deadlines and milestones according to available recipient and Department progress and monitoring reports.
Thus, the audit did not identify any material concerns with the management of the Concentrating Solar Power Program. Therefore, the Department was encouraged to continue its monitoring of the Concentrating Solar Power Program as projects move forward to ensure success in meeting program objectives.