SNS: Special Letter: Federal Angels: Incubating Energy Transformation

SNS: Special Letter: Federal Angels: Incubating Energy Transformation


Volume 14, Issue 16
Week of April 18, 2011

In This Issue

Feature: Special Letter: Federal Angels: Incubating Energy Transformation

  • Introducing ARPA-E: Not Government As We Have Known It
  • The Formation of a New Paradigm
  • The Nature of the Beast
  • ARPA-E R&D Topics andTheir Performance Targets
  • Contrasts and Criticisms
  • A View from the Inside
  • Future
  • Conclusion
  • About John Breshears


Publisher’s Note: Having taken an annual surplus, in the midst of this country’s greatest economic expansion, and spent it into a mountain of unnecessary war and economic destruction, the Republican Party has reversed course 180 degrees in just two years, and found a new voice seeking thrift. That’s good.

Meanwhile, “back at the ranch,” a lot of serious problems have been cropping up. After fighting off what was potentially the largest economic debacle in global history, the current administration faces many new challenges, even while continuing to put out old fires. Among these are the shatteringly obvious need for a national energy policy that will both free us from the tyranny of Middle East governments that don’t always like us and free the planet from consuming energy types now shown to damage it (or at least, our chances to prosper on it).

The description in this week’s issue of the new ARPA-E program will likely both surprise and encourage those of us with Silicon Valley roots, given its similarity to DARPA, the source of many modern technologies and of happy investments.

At a time when angry amateurs find satisfaction in screaming that all government is bad, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that, having had a turn at the wheel, their own last vision of government produced an unmitigated economic disaster. The fact that they cannot imagine government working is easy to accept, and their past attempt is good proof. It is true: they can neither imagine it nor do it.

However, many global citizens understand the value of good government, and benefit from the knowledge that governing, done properly, can be good.

This week’s issue focuses on a new program designed to use small teams, tight public/private partnership, focused goals, quick-to-fail detections, limited funds, and fast prototyping to solve one of the world’s greatest problems: new energy sourcing.

I think serious technology business professionals of all political stripes will be heartened to learn about this new program, and how it is being run.  – mra.

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