GOLDEN, Colo. — Inside a futuristic, white concrete campus here that looks like some top secret military organization, the world's scientists gather to reduce mankind's carbon footprint and ensure a bright, green future for all.
This is what the National Renewable Energy Lab says is going on. But lately the Department of Energy outpost has become infamous for top salaries of more than $500,000 a year and a staffer who went bonkers on social media late last year, threatening to get a gun and go on a "murderous rampage" against the staff of Watchdog.org.
Even industry insiders aren't sure what goes on at the NREL campus to warrant the $8 billion in taxpayer funding the lab has received since 1977. Its website says, "With more than 35 years of successful innovation in energy efficiency and renewable energy, today our discoveries provide sustainable alternatives for powering our homes, businesses, and our transportation system."