Imagine a program that turns a relatively small initial investment into billions of dollars of U.S. economic growth, thousands of new Americans jobs, and groundbreaking technologies that change the way we use energy in this country and around the world. It would be a darling of innovators, the private sector, and policymakers. Sounds impossible for such a little program to generate such big results? Just like the little engine in the children’s story that pulled the train over the mountain, the U.S. has a small venture that could generate big results. It’s called the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, or simply ARPA-E.
But instead of being hailed, ARPA-E is about to be given the bureaucratic equivalent of a death sentence, and all because Congress has failed to pass a budget for 2011. Instead of a real budget, Congress will direct agencies to continue with the same amount of money they received last year. That means ARPA-E’s funding effectively dries up.
ARPA-E was created in 2007 to spur innovation in new groundbreaking technologies to set the United States apart from the rest of the world as a leader in the new clean energy econom... Read more