Public-Facing Dashboard Helps to Ensure Accountability

clock May 14, 2012 10:11 by author Bulletin Board
One way to ensure accountability is to show the public how well a project is meeting its stated Recovery Act goals. A large municipal government in the western United States developed a website dedicated to showing its citizens the progress it made on its building retrofit program. The public-facing dashboard provides both financial information and a range of statistics showing the number of retrofits completed by category. Categories include single and multi-family homes, small businesses, larger commercial entities, hospitals, and city-owned buildings. Summary statistics show both energy assessments conducted and retrofits completed. [More]

The Project Management Plan: A Recipient’s Stellar Example

clock May 4, 2012 11:35 by author Bulletin Board
Thanks to the Recovery Act, the EERE portfolio of financial assistance grew eight-fold, resulting in a broad range of renewable energy and energy efficiency technology projects. Regardless of the type of the Recipient or the technology focus, DOE expects all Recipients to meet basic requirements of accountability, oversight, monitoring, and reporting.

Good planning at the outset of a project helps ensure strong performance during implementation. One tool in particular that DOE believes is particularly useful is known as the Project Management Plan (PMP). [More]

Not Reinventing the Wheel: Using Information from Past Projects

clock April 20, 2012 14:40 by author Bulletin Board
Leveraging past work enables DOE to save time and money. For example, one Recipient used data collected from a previous residential solar photovoltaic (PV) project to advance new efforts to integrate these distributed energy systems into the regional power grid.

This Recipient, a publicly-owned utility company in the Western United States, is using Recovery Act funds to determine the best configuration for integrating small PV systems into the power grid, including an analysis of storage and transmission needs. Two types of configurations are being tested, using a select group of residential customers with grid-connected solar PV systems. The project involves collaboration with a half dozen other entities, including companies in the construction, engineering, and solar power industries. [More]

Enhancing Project Management with Effective Project Communication

clock April 13, 2012 16:14 by author Bulletin Board
Well-run projects generally have effective communications occurring among project participants. This is even more critical when the Recipient is a consortium consisting of multiple members and different teams from academia, industry, and government. One such complex Recipient is utilizing a web-based communications tool that identifies ongoing research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities in order to communicate with its various members as well as the interested public. [More]

Making Tough Decisions Upfront Can Ensure Ultimate Project Success

clock April 6, 2012 15:06 by author Bulletin Board
The realization that things are not working out – and that it’s time to cut losses – is never easy and requires difficult decisions. In the long run, making difficult decisions can be worth it if the project is successfully completed or taxpayer dollars are saved.

This happened with a project to build a wind turbine drive-train test facility. Bringing a high dollar, high capital asset facility online requires a range of complex and overlapping activities such as designing, permitting, constructing, and commissioning. To meet the schedule, specialized skills were needed to successfully complete key activities. However, a few months into the project, it became clear that the sub-recipient lacked the requisite skills to design this particular type of facility. [More]

Analyzing Audits to Improve EERE Monitoring and Oversight - Expanded Review Underway

clock March 16, 2012 18:24 by author Bulletin Board
EERE is committed to continually improving the efficiency and effectiveness of its monitoring and oversight activities for financial assistance. Audits represent an essential oversight function and may be conducted by a wide range of internal and external parties: the Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General (OIG); the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO); or other independent agencies or firms. Audits scrutinize the technical and financial performance and management controls of EERE’s technology programs and its financial assistance Recipients. Individually, these audits have helped inform and strengthen EERE’s monitoring activities. Collectively, they can help to identify and address common issues. [More]

Benefits of the Stage Gate Process: the Case of a Biofuels Project

clock March 9, 2012 15:00 by author Bulletin Board
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has a variety of tools for risk management and effective project decision-making. The stage gate decision-making process has been particularly valuable in a biomass technologies project which seeks to merge an existing electrical generation platform with an emerging gasification-based producer gas technology. The larger project purpose is to determine the commercial viability of using biomass-based fuels in existing fossil fuel-fired electrical generators. [More]

Recipient’s Facebook Project Page Helping to Inform and Update the Public

clock February 13, 2012 16:32 by author Bulletin Board
Mention Facebook, Twitter, or other social media websites and most people will assume these are online ways of staying in touch with friends and family or getting updates on the latest celebrity gossip. But many EERE Recipients use Facebook as a communications tool to improve transparency by enhancing public awareness of projects in real time. One particular Recipient is using a Facebook account to give a general overview of the project and to provide updates on progress towards meeting project goals. [More]

Recipient Risk Management Tool Helps DOE Track Project Potential Problem Areas

clock December 23, 2011 13:14 by author Bulletin Board
A cornerstone of effective project management is the identification, assessment, mitigation planning and tracking of project risk. With the aim of continually improving project management and oversight, EERE mines best practices and lessons learned to incorporate it into its knowledge base and enhance practices and procedures. Mindful of managing the risk associated with the activities it funds, EERE examines risk at the programmatic and project-level. [More]

EERE Responds to Uncertainty in Research Projects to Support Promising New Technology

clock October 28, 2011 17:01 by author Bulletin Board
Research and development has always carried some level of risk. Advanced technology projects involve significant unknowns, and may need to resolve complex scientific questions before a new technology can be brought to market. Recognizing this, EERE regularly evaluates the financial assistance projects in its portfolio and uses a variety of techniques to identify and respond to sources of risk. Sometimes this even means pulling the plug on research that begins to reveal less favorable results, in favor of those projects that can deliver better results faster. [More]