Department of Energy

Top 9 Things You Didn’t Know About the Energy Department (Part One)

September 28, 2012

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The Energy Departments headquarters is located at the Forrestal Building in Washington, DC. | Energy Department photo, credit Quentin Kruger.

The Energy Departments headquarters is located at the Forrestal Building in Washington, DC. | Energy Department photo, credit Quentin Kruger.

This article is part of the Energy.gov series highlighting the “Top Things You Didn’t Know About…” Check back next week for more facts about the Energy Department.

9. In addition to the 17 National Labs the Energy Department oversees, the Department also manages eight Energy Innovation Hubs -- each of which is focused on a particular energy challenge. Can you name all of them?

8. The Department sponsors more research in the physical sciences than any other Federal agency. Check it out.

7. There are over 40 Energy Department field offices and locations across the country.

6. In the late 1990s, the Office of Basic Energy Sciences funded an extensive study of lithium-ion batteries…which led to the eventual commercialization of the electric battery!

5. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed the first Energy Policy Act – signifying the implementation of the country’s first national energy strategy.

4. For the past decade, the Solar Decathlon has expanded to include more than 170 participating teams and over 17,000 students in three competitions around the world. 

3. Before the Department became “The Department,” it consisted of several separate organizations, beginning in 1942 with the Manhattan Project. After WWII, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was created, which was eventually replaced by the Energy Research and Development Administration, while the AEC’s regulatory functions were given to the new, independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Department as we now know it came into effect in 1977, when the (then) new agency assumed responsibilities of the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Federal Energy Administration, the Federal Power Commission, and even a few programs from other federal agencies!

2. Did you know that researchers at Fermilab discovered the top quark in 1995 – which signified the last undiscovered subatomic particle that scientists had predicted to exist?

1. And finally…The Energy Department actually leases all the nuclear warheads owned by the U.S. government…renting them to the Department of Defense for our weapons systems.

If you have an interesting fact about the Energy Department that you’d like to share, email us at newmedia@hq.doe.gov. We’ll include your suggestions in next week’s Top Things You Didn’t Know About the Energy Department: Part Two.”

To be continued...