When Did We Vote For This?

Lost in the discussion of Dan Carol's criticism of Steven Chu and his conduct in the Energy Department was an amazing implicit assumption about the DOE's mission:

“Secretary Chu is a wonderful and brilliant man, but he is not perfect for the other critical DOE mission: deploying existing technologies at scale and creating jobs,”

Seriously, is this really their mission?


  1. el coronado:

    No, they're a civil-service bureaucracy. Therefore, their *mission* is exactly the same as all other bureaucracies, including the judiciary and the military: "Maintain and expand our bureaucratic fiefdoms." Everything else is just noise.

  2. NL_:

    False, the DOE is not about jobs or investment. The purpose of the DOE is to make Jimmy Carter and succeeding presidents look like they are doing something about the price of gasoline and home heating costs.

  3. caseyboy:

    This is one department that can't be closed fast enough for my liking. The anti-energy department if you ask me.

  4. Knucklehead:

    According to energy.gov/mission...

    The mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.

    Ummm... I think We The People need to deploy some firehoses and scale the DOE to zero.

  5. DrTorch:

    When people lament that the government should be doing something about finding alternative fuels and/or helping w/ gas prices, or when someone brings up how cool ARPE-E is going to be, I point out that DOE's budget has been between $20-25B dollars each year for the past 10 years alone.

    That's over $200B spent, and what do we have for it? The NeverWet technology? International Titanium Powder (who keeps getting grants even though they claim to sell ahead all of their production)?

    What else?

  6. Ted Rado:

    Dr. Chu is a physicist, NOT an engineer. Almost anything is theoretically possible. You can make gasoline out of CO2. The engineer figures out which schemes are technically and economically viable, not just theoretically possible (they all are).

    Any engineer, in a very short while, can determine that there is no viable standby or storage system for intermittent energy sources. Thus, they are all nonsense.

    For some reason, we confuse science with practical engineering, to our humongous cost.
    All this aside from the politics, and the idea that pushing money out the door is progress.

    We will one day look back on this era of "alternative energy" boondoggles with much merriment, assuming we are willing to laugh off the huge waste of money.

  7. phil e buster:

    I thought the DOE was suppose to support demo projects in energy to enhance the technology. Though they have been giving and taking away then giving and taking away grants, for very innovative scale self contained (no water needed) nuke power projects.

    Good ideas but the PC crowd seems to always get the grants blocked.

  8. Pat:

    This is what happens when the "State" takes over the responsibilty of running the economy. They are neither efficient, or responsible. Deployment of resources is at best ... barely wise. More often then not, capital is wasted, and the assignment of technology drivers becomes a political question. This is the exact opposite of capitalism which always seeks to "reward the best ideas, which make the most prudent use of resources". Look at the number of "inventions" that came out of USSR over it's life cycle compared to that of the USA. Heavy regulated commerce always results in misallocation of resources, as the "intelligence" of a very few always is less than the "intelligence of the many". Anyone own a Trabant car? How about the Ural Motorcycle (copied design from BMW in the 1930's) still manufactured today? This is what you shall expect with a "state" run economy. I have a question for the lawyers and bankers out there .... where do you folks fit in an authoritarian or totalitarian regime?