(Washington, DC) Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Energy Subcommittee Ranking Member Randy Weber (R-TX), sent a letter to the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct oversight of the newly created Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OECD). The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act created this office in 2021 and, together with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, appropriated more than $27 billion in funding for it in the coming fiscal years.

Lucas and Weber noted the magnitude of the spending along with concerns arising from a lack of detail provided by the Department and previous failures to properly manage demonstration projects.

“Energy demonstration projects are a critical bridge between lab discoveries and commercial application of new technologies,” Lucas and Weber wrote. “The nature and scale of these projects can make administering them difficult, as we have seen in the past at DOE. Given past reports of mismanagement of demonstration projects at DOE, we are particularly concerned about the Department’s plans to ensure this massive influx of new money is managed appropriately so taxpayers receive the greatest possible benefit.”

They noted that although the OECD was established a year ago, many basic questions about its role in the DOE research enterprise remain unanswered. “While DOE has shared some information about this office through its website, congressional briefings, and announcements for specific programs, the Committee has received minimal details about OCED’s activities, its role within the Department, and the status of its efforts to comply with the directions in the IIJA,” they wrote. “As such, we must request more information from the Department in order to fulfill our congressional oversight responsibilities."