US Energy Department Launches Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative

The U.S. Energy Department has launched the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI), a new program focused on growing American manufacturing of clean energy products.

U.S. Manufacturing
U.S. Manufacturing

The U.S. Energy Department launched the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI), a new program focused on growing American manufacturing of clean energy products and boosting U.S. competitiveness through major improvements in manufacturing energy productivity.

The initiative includes private sector partnerships, new funding from the Department, and enhanced analysis of the clean energy manufacturing supply chain that will guide the Department's future funding decisions, according to an official announcement.

"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," Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson said in the announcement. "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 March 26 at the ribbon cutting of the Department's Carbon Fiber Technology Facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., 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.

Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative
Key elements of the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI) 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.
  • As a part of this increased focus on manufacturing research and development, the Energy Department awarded over $23 million in innovative manufacturing research and development projects.
  • The Energy Department has 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.
  • In the coming months, the Energy Department plans to issue a new funding opportunity that supports a new manufacturing innovation institute. This step supports President Obama's call for a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation.
  • 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 our 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.

To learn more about the Energy Department's Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, click here.

More in Power Generation