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Best of 2014: Our Year in Review

December 31, 2014 - 10:45am


2014 has been a year of investments, breakthroughs and progress at the Energy Department. Read on and explore the timeline to see some of our most memorable moments.

From supercomputing to clean energy, we announced major investments this year that will shape the future of science and energy. In November, Secretary Moniz announced $325 million for two new supercomputers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, plus $100 million to develop the next generation of extreme scale (“exascale”) computing, with the potential for speeds 5-7 times faster than today’s supercomputers. Meanwhile, our Loan Programs Office (LPO) continued to finance the clean energy economy. This year, we announced new solicitations to help bring renewable energy, energy efficiency and nuclear energy technologies to commercial scale. Altogether, the LPO now has a total of $40 billion available to support early-stage innovative technologies from carbon sequestration to advanced vehicles -- investments that could kick-start entire new industries. As of September 2014, 20 projects are operational, generating revenue and paying back their loans.

Energy projects broke ground and broke records in 2014, while breakthrough research made its way to Capitol Hill. In February, the Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System completed construction, making it the largest concentrating solar power plant in the world -- with the capacity to generate 392 megawatts of clean electricity. Six months later Petra Nova, the world’s largest post-combustion carbon capture project, broke ground in September. Both projects were made possible by Energy Department funding. When completed, the project will capture 90 percent of the CO2 from a coal-burning power plant. Building and deploying clean energy projects like these requires cutting edge research. In October, on the first ever National Lab Day, the Energy Department’s system of 17 National Labs descended on Capitol Hill to share their important research with legislators on subjects from renewable energy to particle physics, which make projects possible.

Leadership was a big theme for the Energy Department this year, as we welcomed new leaders to the Department and continued to prepare the generation that might someday fill their shoes. Assuming critical senior leadership roles, Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall joined the team as Deputy Energy Secretary in October, followed in December by Lynn Orr as Under Secretary for Science & Energy, Joe Hezir as Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Ellen Williams as Director of ARPA-E and Chris Smith as Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy. To cultivate tomorrow’s leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields, we continued our Minorities in Energy Initiative and launched our #WomenInSTEM video series. Both efforts aim to inspire students underrepresented in the Energy sector to explore futures in STEM.

As we wrap up 2014, we’re gearing up for a productive 2015. Click through the timeline and get excited for more developments in the year ahead.