ITC tariff recommendations could threaten solar while jobs increasing in 44 states

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) this week recommended imposing tariffs on U.S. imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells (CSPV) after finding last month the imports were causing serious injury to the domestic production of the cells. Tuesday’s action was the latest in a closely watched case that many, including solar’s trade group — the Solar Energy Industries Association — are saying could impede the growth of the solar industry in this country.

States of Innovation 2017: Clean & renewable energy policy

States have passed more than 230 bills related to clean and renewable energy to date in 2017, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Broadly, the legislation can be divided between policies directly supporting energy innovation — through R&D expenditures or targeted economic development initiatives — and policies implementing structural changes —through the regulatory environment, incentives for production facilities, renewable portfolio standards and other requirements. This breadth of activity clearly demonstrates that clean and renewable energy is of high interest throughout the country, but will be challenging to innovators and entrepreneurs planning development over time or across states.

ARPA-E successful in short term, needs longer life

Although it has been slated for elimination under the president’s proposed budget, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program is making progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals, and it “cannot reasonably be expected to have completely fulfilled those goals given so few years of operation and the size of its budget.” That is among the findings released this week by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) in its assessment of ARPA-E. The project was overseen by the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) and was tasked with assessing ARPA-E’s progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals, and determining whether it is on a trajectory to achieve them. In short, the answer is that it is.

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.

Several energy cluster states in recession

The perils of regional economies being too dependent on single industry clusters, particularly as it affects the financing of state governments, are playing out in the Great Plains. Kansas, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming have been or still are experiencing recessions, beginning as early as spring 2015 for two, according to a new analysis by Jason P. Brown for the Tenth Federal Reserve District.

Report collects clean energy manufacturing policies across US

While states implement policies to spur innovation, manufacturing and other priorities related to clean energy, there was no single source serving as a collection of all such policies across the 50 states. The recently released Clean Energy-Related Economic Development Policy across the States: Establishing a 2016 Baseline by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) aims to establish a baseline of existing policy as “a critical first step in determining the potential holistic impact of these policies on driving economic growth in a state.” It focuses on the policies most directly related to expanding new and existing manufacturing.

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.

Obama Administration Awards $38.8M to Support Economic, Workforce Development Projects in Coal-Impacted Communities

The Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) have announced $38.8 million in funding as a part of the Obama administration’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative – a coordinated federal effort to align, leverage and target a range of federal economic and workforce development programs and resources to assist communities negatively impacted by global transition away from coal. In addition to $38.8 million in federal support, the federal partners anticipate that POWER investments will help coal-impacted communities leverage an additional $67 million from other public and private partners.

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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