News Release: Budget Shortfall Forces Renewable Energy Laboratory to Lay Off 32 Staff

Feb. 7, 2006 | By Sarah Barba | Contact media relations

Golden, Colo. — The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reduced its staff by 32 people today to help meet a $28 million budget shortfall.

Twenty-seven are regular staff, and five are temporary employees. Of the 32, eight were research staff and 24 worked in support positions.

Congressionally directed projects, or earmarks, reduced the budget available to the Department of Energy for funding renewable energy and energy efficiency research at the Laboratory, leaving $28 million less in operating funds for NREL for fiscal year 2006. The Laboratory made substantial cuts in other areas, including travel, outside contracts and other operating expenses, before reducing staff.

Regular staff affected by the layoffs will remain on payroll through Feb. 10 and will receive severance pay and job search help.

Research programs affected by the layoffs include biomass, hydrogen and basic research.

NREL Director Dan Arvizu, in a message to staff, said, "I appreciate how you have all responded to the challenges placed before us. NREL should now focus on the new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead."

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.