The U.S. Department of Energy announced several new and expanding initiatives as part of the Administration’s Clean Energy Investment Summit, including the launch of a Clean Energy Impact Investment Center (CEII), which will work to make the Department’s resources more readily available to the public, including to mission-driven investors.
“The United States and other countries are providing substantial financial support to the development and commercialization of clean energy technologies but, if we are to achieve our climate goals, it is imperative that we find ways to incentivize the global capital markets to invest in clean energy,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The U.S. government is addressing the need for new financing through a variety of programs that support clean energy technology through the research and development, demonstration, and deployment stages.”
The CEII center will provide technical assistance, a single point of access for information, connections to other relevant government programs across the Administration, and consolidate public information on early-stage projects and companies that are currently engaged in partnerships with DOE. Moving forward, DOE will work to mobilize a broad range of philanthropists and impact investors to scale up investments throughout the energy innovation pipeline, from laboratory R&D to startup funding to growth-stage financing. For more details on the CEII, click here.
Already, DOE has a track record of working with non-profits to build upon past support from the Federal government with new public-private partnerships, accelerating clean energy innovation:
- Clean Energy Trust, a Chicago-based nonprofit startup accelerator supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, is committing $10 million in privately raised seed capital to Midwestern clean energy technology startups, especially those born of National Laboratory and university research. Over the next 10 years, Clean Energy Trust aims to help these companies raise an additional $100 million in private and public capital.
- Energy Excelerator, a Hawaii-based nonprofit startup program dedicated to solving the world’s energy challenges, is announcing the launch of a new $3 million new fund, EEx One, which will support Energy Excelerator portfolio companies that have been the most successful in raising private capital. Energy Excelerator has supported 32 companies in energy, transportation, water, agriculture, and cybersecurity with strategic relationships and growth funding, and has itself received $30 million in support from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research.
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) is announcing a new $5 million public-private partnership to expand Cyclotron Road, a home for entrepreneurial researchers to advance energy technologies until they can succeed beyond the research lab. By leveraging the unique national laboratory facilities and expertise of the DOE, Cyclotron Road promises to significantly reduce the time and cost of energy innovation, providing a cohort of scientists with the time and resources to develop breakthrough energy materials and manufacturing technologies. With support from LBNL, the DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), the Schmidt Family Foundation, and Jones Day, the new Cyclotron Road Partnership will expand the program’s impact by supporting a second cohort of innovators this year, and creating the Cyclotron Road Leadership Council, an advisory group of experts from the DOE national labs, industry, venture capital, and philanthropy.
Building on past accomplishments, the Department will begin a Small Business Voucher pilot program, investing $20 million in small business assistance and collaborative research with the potential to change the way that DOE’s national labs engage with clean energy entrepreneurs. Soon, small businesses from across the country will begin working with DOE labs on cutting-edge research and commercialization challenges to bring the next generation technologies to market. DOE will also continue to serve as a resource to advance the transition to a clean energy economy through:
- The Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E) has invested approximately $1.1 billion across more than 400 potentially transformational energy technology projects, which have generated over $850 million in follow-on funding. The President’s FY16 Budget called for $325 million for ARPA-E to support additional investment in high-potential, high-impact energy projects that are too early for private sector or other Department of Energy (DOE) investment.
- EERE’s Lab-Corps pilot is a $2.3 million program aimed at accelerating the transfer of new clean energy technologies from National Labs into the commercial marketplace by training and empowering scientists to successfully shift their discoveries into high-impact, real world technologies in the private sector. Through this program, National Lab scientists are receiving training on how to identify private sector opportunities for commercializing promising sustainable transportation, renewable power, and energy efficiency technologies.
- The DOE Loan Programs Office currently manages a more than $30 billion portfolio of projects, including the first new nuclear power plant to be licensed and constructed in the United States in more than 30 years, some of the largest utility-scale solar facilities in the world, dozens of retooled auto manufacturing plants producing some of America’s best-selling vehicles, the world’s largest solar thermal energy storage system, and many other ground-breaking projects. Overall, these loans and loan guarantees have resulted in more than $50 billion in total project investment.
- The DOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) is investing up to $452 million dollars over five years to support first-of-a-kind costs associated with certification and licensing activities for small modular reactors (SMRs) through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. By utilizing cost-share agreements with private industry, NE supports the domestic development of these innovative nuclear technologies, thereby strengthening American manufacturing capabilities and the associated nuclear supply chain, improving the domestic employment opportunities, and creating important export opportunities for the United States.
- DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge partners have cut energy waste by 94 trillion British thermal units (TBTUs) since President Obama first launched the challenge in 2011. The energy savings have saved partners a total of $840 million dollars in energy costs and avoided 6 million tons of harmful carbon emissions, equivalent to cutting the emissions of 1 million cars. The Better Buildings Challenge now has more than 250 partners representing 3.5 billion square feet, 650 manufacturing plants, 50 cities and states, and $5.5 billion in financing investments.