MRI, Battelle and Bechtel to Manage National Renewable Energy Lab

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Golden, Colo., Nov. 19, 1998 — Officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today signed a contract for managing and operating the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) with Midwest Research Institute (MRI), Battelle Memorial Institute and Bechtel Corp.

"We believe this new management team combines the expertise needed for NREL to help lead the way to a more efficient and environmentally friendly energy future," DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Dan Reicher said. "The importance of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies to realizing this future is clear."

DOE announced Oct. 1 that the MRI, Battelle and Bechtel partnership team had won the competition to manage and operate NREL for the next five years. The contract signing marks the start of integration of Bechtel and Battelle managers into the day-to-day operation of the laboratory. New associate directors Bobi Garrett of Battelle and John Pietruszkiewicz of Bechtel will join MRI associate directors Stan Bull, Jerry Bellows and Jessie Harris in reporting directly to NREL Director Richard Truly.

"We look forward to having such proven managers as Bobi and John join our team," Truly said. "Their professional strengths and the laboratory management and technology transfer experience brought by Battelle and Bechtel will ensure that this is the strongest management team ever in NREL's history." The contract has a potential value of more than $800 million over the next five years, depending on congressional appropriations for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. It also includes the potential for renewal for five more years.

In addition to the new management team, NREL has established an advisory council consisting of 22 of the nation's top leaders in industry, academia and related areas. The group will provide insight for the laboratory's governing board and director.

NREL is the nation's primary laboratory for research and development of such renewable energy technologies as solar, wind, biomass electricity, biofuels, geothermal power and building energy efficiency. Established in 1977 as the Solar Energy Research Institute, the laboratory was renamed in 1991 to reflect its expanded mission and importance. NREL has a permanent staff of about 830 and annual funding of roughly $160 million. MRI has managed NREL for the lab's entire 21-year history.