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Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Reorganizing for Results

Of the Department of Energy’s $23 billion budget, the $1.3 billion allocated to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) offers important opportunities to assist in resolving one of the major issues facing the Nation today—the need for sources of clean, reliable, efficient, secure and affordable energy.

EERE’s programs—which include advanced hydrogen fuel concepts, renewable power technologies, transportation and building technologies—are aimed at improving this country’s efficient use of energy, increasing the diversity of energy sources on which we rely, and making us less dependent on foreign energy sources.

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Key Findings

Assistant Secretary Garman and the staff of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee asked the Academy to assess the reorganization and follow its implementation over an 18-month period. The project has involved the Academy in an unusually interactive arrangement, with a high level of collaboration between the Academy Panel and staff and EERE senior management. Rather than waiting until the end of the study, the Panel provided observations and recommendations as the reorganization progressed. As a result, EERE has already accepted an overwhelming majority of the Panel’s recommendations and made many changes to its structure and processes.


Recommendations

The Panel made many recommendations during the course of this study and EERE has accepted most of them. A House Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee report has directed EERE to adopt all of the Panel’s recommendations. As the study concluded, much still remained to be done. The progress EERE made must continue and intensify for the goals of the reorganization to be fully achieved. The Panel’s final recommendations, therefore, look to the future. The Panel recommends that EERE leadership include in the Management Action Plan an area to continue the process to develop indicators of program management performance and effectiveness that can be used to assess the results of the reorganization. The Panel believes that EERE leadership needs to make it a management priority to continue the process of identifying indicators to assess the results of the reorganization. A problem that surfaced throughout the study was that EERE has not always defined roles and responsibilities within its new structure or created mechanisms to hold staff accountable. The Panel believes strongly that unless EERE addresses these basic management principles for the organizational changes it has already established and any future change management initiatives, the effectiveness of the new organization will be diminished.The Panel is pleased by EERE’s response to its many recommendations for improving acquisition and financial assistance operations. The Panel is particularly interested to see that EERE makes progress in the use of performance metrics and past performance information for financial assistance awards.