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