As of midnight on September 30, the U.S. federal government officially shut down due to Congress’s failure to pass a new budget for the coming fiscal year. Since 2012, the government has been running on a continuing resolution, an extension of the previous budget, but this time a new decision was needed, and it wasn’t made.
Most people will concentrate on the political implications that this shutdown will lead to, but the fact is that it’s directly impacting on America’s overall capacity to drive global energy innovation. The short-term lack of a federal government means that many of the nation’s top energy innovation institutions and laboratories must scale down their operations, or completely shut down.
Basically, the longer this continues, the less the U.S. will be able to carry out cutting-edge research and produce next-generation energy technologies. Given time this will threaten the country’s ability to remain internationally competitive and its progress to a low-carbon economy.