dept of energy

Budget deal supports innovation, research

Congress has passed a budget for FY 2017 that largely continues support for federal innovation programs and R&D investments. Among the highlights are $17 million for Regional Innovation Strategies (a $2 million increase over FY 2016), level funding of $130 million for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership and $5 million for SBA’s clusters program. In reviewing dozens of line items, offices that had received significant cuts in the White House’s skinny budget appear to receive some of the largest funding increases (such as the Appalachian Regional Commission, Community Development Block Grant and ARPA-E). However, with the exception of multi-billion dollar increases for Department of Defense R&D, many increases are rather small in terms of overall dollars. This is, at least in part, a reflection of non-defense spending caps rising by only $40 million for FY 2017, limiting the availability of new funds. In this context, science and innovation gains are particularly impressive, with a five percent overall increase for federal R&D that particularly benefits NASA and NIH.

Federal support needed for energy innovation

Innovation in the energy sector requires strong leadership from the federal government to help mitigate potential risks, according to a recent report by the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC), a project of the Bipartisan Policy Center. The AEIC is a group of ten private sector leaders that includes Bill Gates, the heads of industry giants like Dominion Energy and Southern Company, and retired leaders of corporations such as Lockheed Martin and DuPont.

DOE releases guide to the National Labs

The U.S. Department of Energy recently released the State of the Department of Energy National Laboratories Report, which reads like a user manual for the National Labs. For readers with questions about what the labs are, what they are trying to achieve, and how they work with other institutions, the report is an excellent resource. As depicted in the visual accompanying this article, DOE’s labs cover a variety of purposes, enabling the report to provide more generalizable information on the labs than might be possible from another agency. Sections detail DOE’s strategic plan for the labs, scientific objectives, partnership structures and tech transfer initiatives, among others. Each section includes case studies or anecdotes of lab activities and numerous appendices provide additional background.

Energy Department Initiatives Create Opportunities for Efficiency, Innovation

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the Zero Energy Districts Accelerator, an initiative to develop best practices for establishing commercial districts that have net-neutral energy consumption. The accelerator is now one of 12 listed under the Better Buildings Initiative, which also includes dedicated programming for community and manufacturing initiatives.

DOE Announces Third Round Small Business Voucher Pilot Program

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has launched the third round of the Small Business Vouchers (SBVs) pilot program. In this round of funding, DOE will commit up to $5 million in technical assistance from DOE national labs to help bring the next generation of clean technologies to market in nine technical areas of interest.

DOE Selects 43 Businesses to Collaborate in Second SBV Pilot Program

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that 43 small businesses had been selected to participate in the second round of its Small Business Voucher (SBV) pilot project, and was collectively awarded more than $8 million for a wide range of R&D clean energy, public-private sector innovation activities.

Winner of New Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, New MII Competitions Announced

President Obama announced  the creation of the new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (Smart MII) – a $140 million public-private partnership to develop smart sensors for use in advanced manufacturing. Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC) – a consortium of nearly 200 partners from academia and industry as well as nonprofit organizations – will lead the Smart MII.

DOE Announces Intent to Fund New NNMI, Clean Tech Manufacturing Pilot Program

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) released a notice of intent to establish and sustain a Clean Energy
Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Reducing Embodied-Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) in materials manufacturing. The $70 million funding opportunity
will be released in June to enable the development and widespread deployment of key industrial platform technologies that will dramatically reduce life-cycle

DOE Requests Proposals for $70M Clean Energy Manufacturing Institute, Announces Topic for Next Institute

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that they are seeking proposals for a new Clean Energy Manufacturing Institute, a part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The $70 million Modular Chemical Process Intensification Institute will focus on developing breakthrough technologies that increase the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes used across an array of U.S. industries.

Senate’s Energy Bill Increases Support for Research, Tech Transfer

In its first passage of a broad energy bill since the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the U.S. Senate included provisions in the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 (S.2012) that would: increase the authorization level for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science by 5 percent per year to $7.1 billion; increase the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program’s authorization level to $375 million in 2020, up from $291 million this year; help remove barriers for technology transfer at the federal laboratories; and, authorize the DOE to establish “microlabs” in close proximity to federal labs in support of regional innovation. The bipartisan legislation was approved by a vote of 85 to 12.

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