energy

New York shuts down fossil fuel crypto infrastructure

New York became the first state to enact a temporary ban on new cryptocurrency mining permits at fossil fuel plants in a move aimed at addressing the environmental concerns over the energy-intensive activity. The legislation, signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul, will impose a two-year moratorium on crypto-mining companies seeking new permits to retrofit some of the state’s oldest fossil fuel plants into digital mining operations. The measure also requires New York to study the industry’s impact on the state’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Five things to know about the Inflation Reduction Act

President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act, a $740-billion bill that largely focuses on clean energy and climate resiliency, deficit reduction and health care, funded through tax changes. Unlike the initial proposals for a reconciliation spending package, this legislation provides little spending that will directly affect tech-based economic development strategies, although its climate provisions will spur significant growth opportunities for cleantech. There are multiple provisions and opportunities included in the act that are important for regions to understand.

Energy storage startup with government-sponsored funding goes public

ESS Inc., a company that closed a deal to go public earlier this month, was able to leverage public capital at its early stages to accelerate its success as a startup. Founded in 2011, the Wilsonville, Oregon, based company manufactures batteries for long-duration energy storage applications. In 2012, ESS Inc. received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from ARPA-E, and additional grant support from the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), an SSTI member. ONAMI is an Oregon-based non-profit that provides grants, equity funding and business development guidance to startups engaged in research-based scientific innovation. It receives funding from Business Oregon, also an SSTI member.

Report outlines steps for US to improve its competitiveness in basic energy sciences

The supremacy of the U.S. research enterprise has been eroding, particularly challenged by China and other Asian countries, and a new draft report from the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (BESAC) at the Department of Energy (DOE) concludes that U.S. leadership in basic energy sciences will continue to diminish without intervention. Specifically, the report finds that to stay internationally competitive in basic energy sciences the U.S. must: increase total funding for R&D, spanning from basic and fundamental research to experimental development; focus multi-disciplinary research on several key areas of energy sciences; increase the nation’s ability to attract and retain the world’s top scientists and engineers; and, facilitate interactions among basic, applied, and industrial researchers to accelerate the translation of research into socially beneficial technologies.

$60M investment from DOE to increase energy efficiency in manufacturing goes to 32 Industrial Assessment Centers

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $60 million in funding for its largest-ever cohort of university-based Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) to assist small- and medium-sized manufacturers in reducing their carbon emissions and lowering energy costs. The new cohort of IACs at 32 universities will focus on improving productivity, enhancing cybersecurity, promoting resiliency planning, and providing trainings to entities located in disadvantaged communities. As part of a new pilot project, some of the IACs will expand to the commercial building market and partner with community colleges and technical programs to train diverse students and professionals to conduct energy-efficiency assessments of small to medium-sized buildings, including those located in disadvantaged communities.  

Report explores ways to ramp up decarbonization of the U.S. energy system

Policymakers will need to consider the larger social and economic conditions associated with efforts to decarbonize the U.S. energy system if the nation is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. These broader considerations of future energy policy play a core role within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s recently released report Accelerating Decarbonization in the United States: Technology, Policy, and Societal Dimensions, which details the varying dimensions of research and policy activities that are needed throughout the next 30 years to reach net-zero emissions by midcentury.

Fracking industry failing to contribute to broader regional growth in Appalachia, study finds

While natural gas production has continued to expand throughout the Appalachian region, the surrounding communities have yet to experience the economic and social benefits that were initially seen as surefire byproducts of the natural gas industry’s growing footprint within the area, according to a new report. The newly released study by the Ohio River Valley Institute weighs the impact natural gas production has had on the national economy against the continuing decline of jobs, income, and population levels throughout the Appalachian region.

Energy provides $123 million for manufacturing innovation projects

The U.S. Department of Energy announced more than $123 million across 46 awards to projects supporting manufacturing innovation. About half of the funds are going to efficiency improvements in manufacturing processes, with the remainder split between improving chemical manufacturing and supporting more efficient facilities and systems. SSTI members included among the project awardees include Argonne National Lab, Sandia National Lab, University of Cincinnati, University of Michigan, and the University of Tennessee. More information on the program and individual awards are available through the department’s Advanced Manufacturing Office.

Improved technologies could cut energy usage by 60 percent

With the continuing development of efficient technologies, energy consumption may drop 60 percent by 2050 while continuing to provide decent living standards, according to a new study. Research by the University of Leeds, published as Providing Decent Living with Minimum Energy: A Global Scenario in Global Environmental Change, developed a roadmap for lowering worldwide energy usage. The study found that global energy usage could fall over 60 percent from today’s levels through a combination of “the most efficient technologies available and radical demand-side transformations that reduce excess consumption to sufficiency-levels.”

$5.5B for R&D in CA among critical state ballot initiatives

With the general election less than one month away, SSTI has reviewed the 120 state ballot initiatives throughout the country for innovation-related issues. Education, gig workers, redistricting and issues surrounding elections and state budgets are scattered across the country and can affect the future of innovation through funding, talent and political will. Read below for coverage on the initiatives that could have an impact on different segments of the economy and the future of innovation.

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