With the U.S. economic stimulus package of $790 billion set to be approved by Congress, concerns are growing at the Energy Department on how the agency will manage the quick expenditure of about $50 billion included in the package for renewable energy projects meant to boost employment.
The agency's secretary Steven Chu is making efforts to cut months of procedures and paperwork. To agency employees who said programs needed months of consideration Chu told them 'Tell us what you need to do in order to get them [decided] in four weeks,' according to an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Friday.
Chu has committed to put to run energy programs as quickly as possible, a spokesman for the DOE said last week, estimating to begin to invest as soon as six months after the stimulus is approved.
President Barack Obama has said implementation of renewable energy programs will help mitigate the negative effects of the current economic recession. He expects these investments will create jobs and pave the way for U.S. energy independence.
The director of the DOE's loan guarantee program said the agency is moving to significantly shorten the cycle time from application to loan guarantee to ensure good projects get funded quickly, the WSJ said today.
Chu said he will have to transform how parts of the DOE works in order that President Obama's stimulus succeeds. We've got to do it, Chu said in the interview. Otherwise it's just going to be a bust.