H.R. 342, the Cost-Share Accountability Act, requires the Department of Energy to report quarterly to Congress on the use of the department’s authority to reduce or eliminate cost-sharing requirements for various research, development, and demonstration projects.
While the Energy Policy Act of 2005 establishes cost-sharing requirements for most research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities at the Department of Energy, the Office of Nuclear Energy has made use of its authority under the law to award large sole-source grants while also waiving the cost-sharing requirements for those grants at least three times in the last several years.
While these waivers can help enable faster investment in critical novel technologies, they also remove funding from the competitive award process and deny other prospective participants the opportunity to submit their own competing proposals.
This bill requires the Department to make public and submit to Congress quarterly reports on the use of its authority to modify or bypass the statutory cost-sharing requirement, creating greater transparency and competitiveness in the Department’s awards process.