Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson said, "We are at a critical moment in the history of energy in our nation. Over just the last seven years, global investment in the clean energy sector has grown nearly five-fold to over $260 billion and these markets will grow into the trillions of dollars in the years to come. Our nation faces a stark choice: the energy technologies of the future can be developed and manufactured in America for export around the world, or we can cede global leadership and import these technologies from other nations. As part of President Obama's plan to revitalize American manufacturing, the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative will seize this opportunity to ensure U.S. leadership in the clean energy sector and advance the global competitiveness of American manufacturers."
The announcement was made at the ribbon cutting of the Department's Carbon Fiber Technology Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a new advanced manufacturing facility to reduce the cost of carbon fiber -- a critical material for efficient lightweight vehicles, next generation wind turbines, and a wide array of other consumer and industrial products. Building on its existing manufacturing investments in efforts like the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility, DOE said the key elements of the new CEMI initiative include:
- Increasing funding for clean energy manufacturing research and development that will accelerate U.S.-based manufacturing of cost-competitive clean energy technologies, from wind, solar, and geothermal to batteries and biofuels. DOE said it was awarding over $23 million in innovative manufacturing research and development projects. Additionally, DOE indicated it had also released a $15 million funding opportunity to reduce the manufacturing costs of solar energy technology, including photovoltaics and concentrated solar power, and demonstrate cost-competitive innovative manufacturing technologies that can achieve commercial production in the next few years (closing date 4/26/13). DOE also said that in the coming months it plans to issue another new funding opportunity that supports a new manufacturing innovation institute. This step supports President Obama's call for a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), as discussed in the State of the Union last month [See WIMS 2/13/13].
- Providing additional energy productivity training and technical assistance for manufacturers that build on current efforts like the Industrial Assessment Centers that offer no-cost energy efficiency assessments for manufacturers and the Better Plants Challenge.
- Leveraging the capabilities of the DOE National Laboratories to conduct targeted analysis that evaluates the U.S. competitive position in manufacturing and prioritizes strategic investments that strengthen American competitiveness in the global energy market.
- Hosting a series of regional and national summits to gather input on manufacturing priorities, identify barriers and opportunities for growing clean energy manufacturing competitiveness and showcase national and regional models that address these priorities.
- Launching new public-private partnerships focused on improving U.S. clean energy manufacturing competitiveness. For example, the U.S. Council on Competitiveness is partnering with the Energy Department to convene a series of dialogues among government, small business, industry, research institutions and labor leaders to help develop and recommend strategies for growing the U.S. clean energy manufacturing sector.