ASERTTI News

ASERTTI MEMBER NEWS

Brookhaven Lab to Offer Streamlined Partnership Agreement to Help Industry Bring New Technologies to Market

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu recently announced that the DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory will participate in a pilot initiative to make it easier for private companies to utilize the Laboratory’s research capabilities. The program will harness America’s unique advantages in innovation to create jobs and accelerate the development of new clean energy technologies.  Previously, companies wishing to partner with the laboratories for commercial research had two options: signing a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) or a Work For Others (WFO) Agreement. The eight laboratories participating in this pilot program intend to offer a third, more flexible option: an Agreement to Commercializing Technology (ACT).  ACT was created to address concerns that have been raised by industry and to remove barriers that sometimes got in the way of commercializing technology under a CRADA or WFO agreement.  To view the FAQ on Agreements for Commercializing Technology (ACT), visit http://technologytransfer.energy.gov/ACTpilotFAQ.html.

EPRI Study Identifies Power Generation Sites in U.S.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) released a study that provides an assessment of the physical and geographic capacities to site nuclear, advanced coal, and solar plants throughout the United States.
The study shows potential electric generation capacity of 158 gigawatts (GW) for new advanced coal (with projections for sites in Montana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia); 60 GW/18 GW for dry-cooled and water-cooled concentrated solar power, respectively (with projections for sites in California, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming) and 515 GW for large nuclear reactors and 201 GW for small nuclear reactors (with projections for sites throughout the United States).  The study suggests very large capacity for compressed air energy storage with plant siting opportunities in 38 percent of the contiguous United States, primarily in the middle regions of the country.  The report titled "Application of Spatial Data Modeling and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for Identification of Potential Siting Options for Various Electrical Generation Sources" is available for download on EPRI’s website. It is also available at www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1032036/.

N.C. Solar Center Offers New Certificate in Renewable Energy Management

Renewable energy and energy efficiency activity in North Carolina have been booming since the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard passed in the summer of 2007.  The boom in the renewable energy industry has matured to involve more non-technical personnel who don’t necessarily have a renewable energy background. With tax credits and other incentives available, project development has become more competitive – and complicated. To help advance the market, the N.C. Solar Center is launching the Certificate in Renewable Energy Management (CREM), a 40-hour hybrid program offered with both online and on-site components,  in March 2012 and is offering its Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma Series online.  This non-credit certificate program will be offered from March to May, and is the only non-degree program of its kind in North America that includes topics to help develop commercial-scale projects.

NATIONAL NEWS

President Obama Highlights Energy Department Efficiency Training Centers That Save U.S. Manufacturers $5.6 Billion

During a visit to the University of Miami to highlight his administration’s all-out, all-of-the-above approach to American energy, President Obama touted the U.S. Department of Energy’s cost-cutting Industrial Assessment Program. The program supports university-based Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) across the country, which provide students with critical skills and training to conduct energy assessments in a broad range of facilities, while producing real cost savings for small to mid-size manufacturers. To date, these assessments have helped save over 530 trillion BTUs of energy – enough to meet the energy needs of 5.5 million American homes – and have helped participating manufacturers save more than $5.6 billion in energy costs.  More information and a full list of Industrial Assessment Centers across the U.S. can be found HERE.

Bill Gates Comments on Energy Funding Levels at ARPA-E Conference

Bill Gates told an audience of energy entrepreneurs, scientists and investors at the ARPA-E energy conference on Tuesday that “It’s crazy how little we’re funding energy.” Energy research is underfunded by a factor of two, Gates said, referring to the amount of current U.S. government investment in energy research.  Underfunding energy research means there is a higher risk that we won’t be able to deliver the needed energy breakthroughs, said Gates. Gates pointed out that funding basic research naturally has a high failure rate: Potentially 90 percent of the projects in ARPA-E won’t make a dent in the future of energy technology, he said. “Look at the battery companies [at ARPA-E], and if you can find the one out of ten that will breakthrough, then great, go invest in it,” said Gates.  But the high failure rate is why we “literally need thousands of these companies to try this,” in order to get a dramatic solution, said Gates. Gates also noted that he thought the IT revolution has “morphed people’s minds” about how fast progress can be delivered. The energy revolution will be much slower than the IT revolution, said Gates.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

President Obama Announces Funding for Breakthroughs in Natural Gas and Biofuels as Alternative Fuels for Vehicles

President Obama recently announced new funding to catalyze breakthrough technologies for two key alternative fuels – natural gas and biofuels – as part of his all-of-the-above energy strategy to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and provide American families new choices for vehicles that do not rely on conventional gasoline.   Through its Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will make $30 million available for a new research competition in the coming months that will engage our country’s brightest scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to find ways to harness our abundant supplies of domestic natural gas for vehicles. DOE will also make $14 million available to support research and development into biofuels from algae.

ARPA-E’s $30 million funding announcement for natural gas breakthroughs build on President Obama’s call for a new era for American energy that benefits from the safe, responsible development of the near 100-year supply of American natural gas, which has the potential to support more than 600,000 U.S. jobs.  For more information and application requirements for the Funding Opportunity Announcement, please visit https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/.

DOE’s $14 million funding announcement to develop transportation fuels from algae builds on an Administration-wide commitment to biofuels research, development, and demonstration that includes support for the construction of commercial-scale, next-generation biorefineries. Applications are due on April 18, 2012. For more information and application requirements for the Funding Opportunity Announcement, please visit the Grants.gov website.

DOE Launches New Research Program to Advance Solar Technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced $3 million available this year to support research to significantly lower the cost of solar energy. The funding will enable collaborative research teams from industry, universities and national laboratories to work together in the Energy Department's research centers including the Scientific User Facilities to develop solutions to drive down the cost of solar energy. By accelerating scientific breakthroughs, these research teams support the DOEt's SunShot Initiative goal to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade – creating jobs, enhancing U.S. energy security, and boosting American competitiveness in the global clean energy economy.  Letters of intent are requested from potential applicants no later than April 25, 2012. Full applications are due May 21, 2012. For more information and application requirements for this funding opportunity announcement, please visit the Funding Opportunity Exchange website.

DOE Releases Formula and Competitive State Energy Program Funding Opportunity Announcements

On Monday, February 27, DOE released both the State Energy Program (SEP) Formula Grant and the Competitive Award funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for program year 2012.  Of the total $50 million available in FY'12 SEP funding, $30 million is being directed to the states through formula grants, $15 million is being offered through competitive awards, and $5 million is going toward technical assistance.   

  1. SEP Formula:  (Due in accordance with applicant's program year)
  2. SEP Competitive:  (Due Monday, April 16, 2012)The areas of interest under the competitive FOA include the following:

Area of Interest 1 – Advancing Energy Efficiency in Public Facilities
Number of Projects: Up to 30
Total Potential Award Funding: Up to $10,000,000
Awards range from $250,000- $1,000,000

Area of Interest 2 – Stimulating Energy Efficiency Action in States
Number of Projects: Up to 8
Total Potential Award Funding: Up to $2,000,000
Awards range from $250,000 to $750,000

Area of Interest 3 – Improving or Developing A Fee-Based Self-Funded Public Facilities
Energy Retrofit Program
Number of Projects: up to 12
Total Potential Award Funding: up to $5,000,000 

EVENTS

Biomass 2012: Confronting Challenges, Creating Opportunities – Sustaining a Commitment to Bioenergy
July 10-11, 2012 – Washington, D.C.