11 awesome achievements by the Department of Energy in 2011

Energy Secretary, Steven Chu
January 10, 2012
Re: Year in Review


Dear Colleagues,

As we enter the New Year and move forward with our efforts…(it’s) important to take a moment to reflect on the progress we have made.

Across the complex, our workforce is reducing nuclear dangers, expanding the boundaries of science and innovation, and accelerating the transition to a clean energy future.

We’re working together like never before to seize the technological lead in everything from batteries to biofuels to solar energy.

I thought I would share a few of the things we have accomplished together:


  • Our investments in wind and solar power have put the country on track to double renewable energy generation from 2008 to 2012.

  • Overhauled and re-launched our website, Energy.Gov, to better communicate with the public.  Just recently, GovLoop named the new Energy.gov the top Federal website of 2011.  The Department’s website reform efforts are expected to save more than $10 million annually.

  • We also started Powerpedia, a Department of Energy wiki-like site, that facilitates information sharing among employees.
  • Through the Environmental Management program, we have permanently cleaned up 613 square miles of land from Cold War-era contamination – an area more than 26 times the size of Manhattan Island – and safely completed the cleanup of 19 transuranic waste sites across the Nation.

  • In October, NNSA dismantled the last B53 nuclear bomb, the oldest weapon in America’s nuclear arsenal and one of the largest in U.S. history.

  • We worked with our partners in Russia to secure each one of its 383 border crossing points with sophisticated radiation detection technology designed to help prevent the illicit smuggling of materials that terrorists or rogue nations could use to construct a nuclear weapon or a dirty bomb.

  • At the same time, we removed more than 4,600 kilograms of vulnerable nuclear materials from sites around the world.  That’s 440 nuclear warheads worth of material.

  • Through old and new fellowship programs, we have attracted top-notch talent to work at the Department and lead our efforts into the future.

  • The “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator” challenge enabled 36 start-up companies to sign option agreements to license promising technologies developed at our national labs under a streamlined process for a reduced upfront cost of just $1,000.

  • Also launched in 2009, Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) are reporting multiple breakthroughs. EFRCs have published more than 1,000 peer-reviewed papers and filed more than 40 patent applications and nearly 50 additional patent/invention disclosures.

  • ARPA-E, which began as a start-up operation in 2009, has now backed more than 180 outside the box, high-risk/high-reward projects. Eleven of the projects funded by ARPA-E in 2009…have now received more than $200 million in combined private sector funding.


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