Department of Energy

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Obama Orders Supercomputer 30 Times Faster Than All Others

President signs executive order calling for astonishingly fast exascale machine

(Newser) - If something called the National Strategic Computing Initiative sounds like a big deal, that's because it is. The White House yesterday announced an executive order from President Obama describing the NSCI plan, a joint effort of the Department of Energy, Defense Department, and the National Science Foundation, Motherboard reports.... More »

Americans Waste $4B to Run Dryers, Every Year

DOE working on new energy efficiency standards

(Newser) - Get our your clotheslines. Turns out your trusty dryer is one of the most energy-sucking appliances in your house—with a typical electric model using as much energy as an energy-efficient fridge, washing machine, and dishwasher combined, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Americans could save... More »

Feds Have Collected Billions for Nonexistent Nuke Project

And that practice must end, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday

(Newser) - Ever since 1983, the Energy Department has been collecting fees paid for by Americans who use nuclear-generated electricity. The tenth-of-a-cent charge per each kilowatt-hour of electricity adds up to about $750 million a year, earmarked to pay for a program disposing of these power plants' nuclear waste. Only, uh, that... More »

Van Maker That Got Energy Loan Shuts Down

VPG of Michigan received $50M from feds

(Newser) - Critics of the Obama administration's efforts to boost green energy with the help of government loans have some more ammunition: A Michigan company that made vans for disabled drivers is going under after receiving $50 million from the Energy Department, reports USA Today . The start-up Vehicle Production Group got... More »

World's Fastest Supercomputer Still American

Cray system known as 'Titan' takes top spot

(Newser) - The US still holds the crown for fastest supercomputer, but it's now a Cray XK7 system known as Titan that has overtaken the previous titleholder, the IBM Sequoia . US and German researchers found that Titan, funded by the Department of Energy and housed at the US government's Oak... More »

In Face of Gas Woes, Great News at the Pump

Gas prices falling everywhere else, but crisis persists in worst-hit areas

(Newser) - More steps in the effort to ease the post-Hurricane Sandy fuel crisis: UPI reports that the EPA lifted clean diesel regulations in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and NYC area, allowing vehicles to use heating oil for emergency response purposes, while the Energy Department said it was working with the Pentagon... More »

Solyndra Tries to Cheat the IRS

Meanwhile, company sues Chinese companies for driving it to bankruptcy

(Newser) - The IRS is asking a bankruptcy court to torpedo Solyndra's plan for a Chapter 11 reorganization, saying that its "principal purpose is tax avoidance," the Wall Street Journal reports in an editorial today, explaining what it calls the "Solyndra memorial tax break." Solyndra's only... More »

US Retakes Fastest Supercomputer Crown

IBM's Sequoia outperforms Japanese record holder

(Newser) - America can once again boast that it is home to the world's fastest supercomputer. IBM's Sequoia system knocked Japan's K Computer into second place after clocking in at a staggering 16.32 "petaflops"—that's 16 quadrillion calculations per second, reports the Wall Street Journal... More »

Wind Turbines' Big Threat: Wind

Specifically, hurricanes along the coast

(Newser) - Advocates of green energy will be happy to know that the Energy Department wants the nation to get 20% of electricity from the wind by 2030. A good chunk of that power is slated to come from offshore turbines, notes New Scientist , and therein lies a problem. Researchers at Carnegie... More »

Chu: Solyndra Wasn't About Politics

Energy chief defends loan to Congress

(Newser) - Energy Secretary Steven Chu offered a spirited defense of his department’s loan guarantees to Solyndra today, telling Congress that the loan program is necessary to keep US alternative energy companies competitive, and insisting that he didn’t know Solyndra was connected to a major Obama fundraiser, the Washington Post... More »

Another US-Backed Energy Company Goes Bankrupt

Beacon Power adds to Obama administration's post-Solyndra woes

(Newser) - More potential trouble for the Obama administration: On the heels of Solyndra, another federally-backed power company has gone bankrupt. A year ago, Beacon Power received a $43 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, Reuters reports. The company drew down $39 million of that loan for a $69 million... More »

White House Investigates Loans to Energy Department

Two dozen loans worth $36 billion will be reviewed after Solyndra mess

(Newser) - In the ugly aftermath of Solyndra , the White House yesterday ordered a 60-day independent review of the Energy Department's entire loan guarantee program, reports the LA Times . The review will encompass three loan programs and about two dozen loans worth about $36 billion. "While we continue to take... More »

Car Maker Gets $529M US Loan, Builds Car in Finland

Claims money was all spent on US design work

(Newser) - Another Energy Department loan guarantee is coming under scrutiny. ABC News has discovered that the Obama administration doled out a $529 million guarantee to Fisker Automotive to build its new state-of-the-art luxury hybrid, only to see Fisker build the car in a factory in Finland. Fisker says there were simply... More »

Perry, Paul Sought Energy Subsidies They Bash

They lobbied for loan guarantees for a Texas nuclear plant

(Newser) - Rick Perry and Ron Paul have been speaking out against federal energy subsidies—in spite of the fact that they actively lobbied to get a Texas company a slice of them three years ago, the Washington Post observes. “We don’t need to be subsidizing energy in any form... More »

White House Almost Gave Solyndra Another Loan

Even as auditors warned the company was in trouble

(Newser) - Just days after Solyndra received its $535 million government-backed loan in September 2009 it applied for another one—this time for a mere $469 million—and the Energy Department put that request on a fast-tracked priority list, sources tell the Washington Post . The department was still seriously considering the request... More »

Emails Warned Obama About Solyndra Mess

Officials, investors shocked by investment in solar firm

(Newser) - Scared White House officials and private investors gave President Obama fair warning about his visit to Solyndra, the New York Times reports. Released today from a Congressional investigation, the emails told Obama not to visit the solar equipment manufacturer in 2009 because it would go belly up, despite massive federal... More »

Energy Sec Slammed in Solyndra Mess

Too much science, not enough politics at Energy Dept., say critics

(Newser) - The ugly tanking of government-funded solar-energy company Solyndra has many people questioning whether Energy Secretary Steven Chu can handle the job, reports Politico . "Just because you are a Nobel Prize-winning physicist doesn't mean you'd be a good orthopedic surgeon," criticized a Bush-era Energy Department official. "... More »

Green Jobs Program Coming Up Short on Jobs

Loans producing a lot fewer jobs than advertised

(Newser) - President Obama’s “green jobs” loan program—which recently grabbed the spotlight thanks to Solyndra's collapse —isn’t producing anything close to the 65,000 jobs promised, at least not directly. The program has already lent out half of the $38.6 billion allotted to it, but... More »

FBI Descends on Solyndra

Orders come from Department of Energy

(Newser) - In the wake of last week’s shocking bankruptcy filing by solar firm Solyndra, FBI agents descended on the company headquarters with search warrants today. An FBI spokesperson tells NBC News the investigation is at the request of the inspector general of the Department of Energy. Congress demanded a hearing... More »

Feds Coughing Up $4.5B for Calif. Solar Projects

Three projects to generate 1,330 megawatts of power

(Newser) - Hollywood may be home to the stars, but California is going solar—with $4.5 billion in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy going to three solar energy projects, reports the AP . The three projects, to be announced today, will create 1,330 metawatts of power and generate 1,... More »

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