US Government agencies often face a Catch-22 trying to adopt innovative technologies: Procurement rules designed to promote fairness can effectively preclude federal buyers from seeing – or influencing – developments that could eventually help agencies work more effectively.

The Defense Department and intelligence agencies, of course, have been fueling innovative technologies on their own for decades. But as commercial markets have exploded with new ideas, and learned to bring those ideas to market with greater speed, government agencies increasingly find themselves racing to keep up with innovations in the commercial sector. Keep reading →

It’s an all-too-familiar refrain in the United States these days: “Solar is too expensive.”

Supporters of solar power have long had to face the argument that conventional energy sources are simply cheaper. This economic reality is a substantial portion of what underlies the sizable government subsidies to solar companies such as Solyndra in the U.S., and why the Chinese government is vigorously subsidizing its own solar industry. Keep reading →

Four major solar companies, including Solyndra, filed bankruptcy in the last four months, yet the Department of Energy continues to aggressively promote and fund solar energy projects. The rationale behind how the DOE appropriates its budget to explore multiple alternative energies– with varying degrees of success–was the central topic of the latest episode of Federal Spending, an online analysis program broadcast Oct. 6 through a collaborative arrangement with Breaking Gov.

Despite our best efforts, China outpaces the U.S. in solar and wind equipment production, largely because its government provides low cost loans and quick approval of imports and construction, according to keynote speaker Jack W. Plunket, CEO and publisher of Plunkett Research, Ltd., a Houston-based provider of market research and industry information. Keep reading →