Energy Research:

Recovery of Federal Investment in Technology Development Projects

T-RCED-96-225: Published: Aug 1, 1996. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 1996.

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GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) investment in technology development projects, focusing on the: (1) extent to which DOE requires repayment for its investment in such projects; and (2) advantages and disadvantages of the DOE repayment policy. GAO noted that: (1) DOE rarely requires repayment for its investment in cost-shared technology projects; (2) four projects require repayment for successful commercialization of innovative technologies; (3) DOE is devoting $8 billion in federal funds to cost-shared projects, of which $2.5 billion is subject to repayment; (4) DOE has revised its repayment provisions to respond to industry concerns and has reduced the percentage of commercial sales revenues that are subject to repayment; (5) DOE has spent $60.9 million for completed or terminated projects and plans to spend $41.9 million for active technology projects; (6) the DOE repayment policy allows the federal government to recover some of its investment from successfully commercialized technologies, but discourages industry leaders from participating in cost-shared development projects, creates administrative burdens for DOE and industry, and causes technologies to become less competitive; and (7) DOE needs a flexible repayment policy that allows it to share in the benefits of successfully commercialized technologies.

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