The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a massive campaign of funding for the research and development of key energy efficiency technologies.
Between Sept. 1 and Sept. 8, the DOE announced that it would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to advance four energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, including solar power, hydropower, offshore wind energy and geothermal power. Funding for a fifth series of projects to develop and produce drop-in biofuels was announced Aug. 31.
Funding for the research will be provided through the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the advances that result from the research will play an important role in helping achieve President Obama’s goal of ensuring that the United States is able to generate 80 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.
The DOE will provide more than $145 million in funds for its ambitious SunShot Initiative, a series of 69 projects across 24 states that seek to make solar power systems more affordable — without the use of long-term federal or state subsidies — by reducing the cost of the systems by about 75 percent by the end of the decade.
The DOE and the U.S. Department of the Interior will partner to provide almost $17 million in funding over the next three years to 16 projects in 11 states that will advance sustainable renewable energy generation from small hydropower resources, improve the environmental impact of hydropower, test cost-effective technologies and increase the deployment of pumped storage hydropower, which can improve the reliability of the electric grid in times of peak demand.
Offshore Wind Energy
Forty-one projects across 20 states will receive $43 million in DOE funding over the next five years to support research leading to faster innovation in wind energy technologies, decrease costs and decrease the amount of time it takes to deploy offshore wind energy systems.
In an effort to reduce the cost of geothermal power technology and make it more competitive with conventional sources of electricity, the DOE is providing $38 million in funding over three years to support 32 geothermal research and development projects in 14 states.
Three small-scale projects in Illinois, Wisconsin and North Carolina will receive up to $12 million in DOE funding to accelerate the development of advanced drop-in biofuels and other bio-based chemicals. Drop-in biofuels are fuels that can serve as replacements or supplements to existing gasoline, diesel fuels and jet fuels without requiring changes to existing engines or fuel distribution networks and technologies. Many hope that drop-in biofuels will lead directly to the reduction of the United States’ dependence on foreign oil.
“Department of Energy Announces up to $12 Million in Investments to Support Development and Production of Drop-In Biofuels,” U.S. Department of Energy press release, Aug. 31, 2011.
“DOE Awards More Than $145 Million for Advanced Solar Technologies,” U.S. Department of Energy press release, Sept. 1, 2011.
“Energy and Interior Award Nearly $17 Million for Hydropower Technologies,” U.S. Department of Energy press release, Sept. 6, 2011.
“Department of Energy Awards $43 Million to Spur Offshore Wind Energy,” U.S. Department of Energy press release, Sept. 8, 2011.
“$38 Million Awarded to Advance Technology and Reduce Cost of Geothermal Energy,” U.S. Department of Energy press release, Sept. 8, 2011.