Biden-Harris Administration Launches $675 Million Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Program to Expand Domestic Critical Materials Supply Chains

Author: US DOE Staff       Published: August 9, 2022     EERE NEWS

Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), today issued a Request for Information (RFI) on the development and implementation of a $675 million Critical Materials Research, Development, Demonstration, and Commercialization Program. Funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the program will address vulnerabilities in the domestic critical materials supply chain, which are both an economic disadvantage and an impediment to the clean energy transition. Critical materials, which include rare-earth elements, lithium, nickel, and cobalt, are required for manufacturing many clean energy technologies, including batteries, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels. The program will advance domestic sourcing and production, strengthening America’s position as a global manufacturing leader.

“We can follow through on President Biden’s clean energy commitments and make our nation more secure by increasing our ability to source, process, and manufacture critical materials right here at home,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is supporting DOE’s effort to invest in the building blocks of clean energy technologies, which will revitalize America’s manufacturing leadership and bring along the benefits of good paying jobs.”

Global demand for critical materials is expected to increase by 400-600% over the next several decades. For certain materials, such as lithium and graphite used in electric-vehicle batteries, demand is expected to increase by as much as 4,000%. DOE’s comprehensive strategy calls for increased domestic raw-materials production and manufacturing capacity, which would reduce our dependence on foreign sources of critical materials, secure America’s clean energy supply chain, and introduce more jobs associated with the clean energy transition.

Established through the Energy Act of 2020 and expanded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, DOE’s Critical Materials Program will develop materials, components and technologies, promote efficient production and use, circular economy approaches, and ensure a long-term, diverse, secure, and sustainable supply of critical materials. The Critical Materials Research Program will expand on DOE’s decade-long history of investment in critical materials supply chains, which includes fundamental research on materials science, separation science, and geoscience; public-private partnerships, such as the Critical Materials Institute; and efforts to validate and commercialize new technologies through demonstration projects.

The Critical Materials Research Program RFI solicits feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, state and local coalitions, labor unions, tribes, community-based organizations, and others, on the structure of these programs, timing and distribution of funds, and selection criteria. Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. ET on September 9th, 2022 and can be submitted to CriticalMaterialsProgramRFI@ee.doe.gov.

The Roadmap to Equity: Implementing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities at DOE

Author: US DOE Staff       April 12.2022        SETO

Energy.gov

On his first day in office, President Biden signed Executive Order 13985 on “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” In doing so, the President called for a total transformation of the government into an entity that centers the concerns of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and underserved communities.

At the Department of Energy (DOE), this meant embarking on a range of efforts focused on identifying barriers for underserved communities to access DOE programs, benefits, services, or procurement opportunities, all areas that further the Biden Administration’s whole-of-Government approach to advance equity.

Across the complex we engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of the whole of our activities, including deep assessments in Procurement, Financial Assistance, Research and Development (R&D), Demonstration and Deployment, and Stakeholder Engagement. These five subject areas were led by senior leaders from across the Department and supported by over 150 personnel.

Finally, after over 10 months’ worth of planning, the Department submitted its first-ever plan to advance equity and diversity at the agency to the White House.

DOE Equity Action Plan

DOE’s new Equity Action Plan puts a spotlight on equity and justice which are at the heart of the agency’s mission. From households that experience the brunt of energy burdens and battle energy insecurity to universities using Department funding to accelerate the deployment and adoption of cleaner, more affordable power, we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to deliver on this promise.

Within this new roadmap are five strategic equity goals which are the foundation for helping us create a more inclusive, diverse environment. These pillars, which will be carried out over the next several years, include:

  1. Addressing gaps in data collection to facilitate data-informed decision-making
    The first action is foundational because it will allow the Department to know where it stands regarding who participates in its business opportunities. With this information, we will be able to effectively strategize to ensure all communities benefits from the Department’s resources. From then on, each successive goal aims to increase participation by underserved communities.
  2. Increasing opportunities for new applicants to DOE funding opportunities
    Our second goal aims to improve how the DOE communicates about its opportunities and alleviate resource constraints (e.g., financial, IT, human resources, etc.) through a range of activities, including the creation of a central portal for DOE acquisition opportunities and streamlining and/or relaxing subcontracting requirements.
  3. Increasing participation in DOE R&D and financial assistance programs
    The third goal seeks to increase diversity in financial assistance from the agency. This goal includes the full spectrum of R&D activities, including basic and applied research, for women; Small Disadvantaged Businesses; Minority Serving Institutions, persons with disabilities; Black, Latino, Indigenous, and Native American persons; Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and other persons of color; and the LGBTQIA+ community.
  4. Expanding strategic Tribal and stakeholder engagement across DOE programs
    Goal four stands alone because we understand that stakeholder engagement is critical to building trust with diverse stakeholders and Tribal entities. We aim to build this trust by bringing in experts in stakeholder engagement that can create a unified, DOE-wide tribal and stakeholder engagement plan.
  1. Improving access and equity in DOE’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
    Finally, DOE will take actions to improve the accessibility of WAP by lowering deferral rates and improving the efficiency of the energy auditing process so that dwellings owned or occupied by low-income persons can receive the benefits of WAP.

Embedding Equity into DOE

While our Equity Action Plan is a big leap forward in bringing the President’s executive order to life, this is just one way we’re advancing equity within the Department. Within the past year since this legislation was signed, we’ve provided $12 million to 13 Native American and Alaska Native communities for projects that will reduce energy costs and increase energy security and resiliency, piloted a program requiring all financial assistance applicants to submit a plan demonstrating how federally funded financial assistance projects will incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion elements to promote the representation and participation of different groups in the R&D space, and designed the Communities Local Energy Action Program pilot,  specifically open to low-income, energy-burdened communities to help develop community-driven plans to more effectively leverage public and private sector resources to reduce local air pollution, increase energy resilience, lower utility costs and energy burdens, and create good-paying jobs.   Transforming our energy system into any equitable one starts with us – and it starts with ensuring our own practices and policies support America’s diverse energy prosperity.

Bottom line: we can no longer think of equity, justice, and fairness as only ideals. Instead, they must be guiding principles we are held accountable for every day that turn into meaningful actions. Through these commitments at the Department – and across the entire federal government – we can begin the work to undo the injustices faced by our country’s BIPOC citizens and underserved communities.

Click here to read our Equity Action Plan in full.

Click here to learn more about the Administration’s Equity Agenda.

Click here to learn more about government-wide equity efforts. 

N.C. A&T LANDS $23.7M GOOD JOBS CHALLENGE GRANT FOR CLEAN ENERGY WORKFORCE TRAINING

Author:  Jackie Torok          Published: 8/3/2022          NC A&T Research and Economic Development

Chancellor Martin with Greensboro Mayor Nancy VaughnChancellor Martin with Greensboro Mayor Nancy VaughnN.C. A&T Commerce

Chancellor Martin with Greensboro Mayor Nancy VaughnEAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Aug. 3, 2022) – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced a $23.7 million American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge grant to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University on Wednesday to create STEPs4GROWTH, a clean energy workforce training program.

North Carolina A&T’s portion of the overall $500 million Good Jobs Challenge, which is funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, is the largest among the 32 worker-centered, industry-led workforce training partnerships across the country and is single-largest award the university has received for research.

“Through this important project, North Carolina A&T will play a leading role in preparing well-trained workers to fill the many skilled jobs in America’s rapidly growing clean energy sector,” said Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “The prescient work of A&T engineering faculty and principal investigators on this grant, Balakrishna Gokaraju and Greg Monty, has culminated in a novel program for delivering education credentials through stackable certificates.

“Their training program will contribute significantly to preparing the highly skilled clean energy workforce of the future.”

STEPs4GROWTH will create quality, demand-driven training for the region’s growing clean energy sector. With a focus on equity, the program will use mobile training units in 16 economically distressed North Carolina counties to remove barriers to access and deliver training where workers are. STEPS4GROWTH will serve as a national training model that will create a diverse talent pipeline to support the economy.

“This is the first-ever Commerce Department initiative where we are totally focused on job training,” said Raimondo. “That’s what this is about – real jobs, family-sustaining jobs that everybody can get.”

Joining Raimondo on the A&T campus for the historic announcement were Assistant U.S. Commerce Secretary for Economic Development Alejandra Castillo, Congresswoman Alma Adams ‘68, Gov. Roy Cooper, N.C. Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders, N.C. Department of Revenue Secretary Ronald Penny, N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Elizabeth Biser, state Sen. Gladys Robinson and Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughn.

Business leaders from Duke Energy, Siemens Energy, Piedmont Services Group, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association were also on hand.

Untitled photo

“We are on the cutting edge of the clean energy economy,” said Cooper, noting North Carolina’s ranking by CNBC and Business Facilities magazine as the top state in the country to do business. “This transformative grant will invest in our state’s diverse workforce as we continue to create high-paying clean energy jobs and bolster North Carolina A&T’s reputation as a national leader in preparing students for the economy of the future.”

A part of the project, more than 40 employers – including Strata Clean Energy, Enviva, Siemens, Duke and Blue Ridge Power – have committed to hiring 3,000 STEPs4GROWTH trainees over four years, then 1,500 trainees every year afterward.

“I’m happy to pick up the baton here because, as y’all already know, our national champion Aggies know how to run a relay,” joked Adams, referring to A&T’s national championship 4×400 men’s relay team. “As the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, I know the power of partnerships with our historically Black colleges and universities. Few institutions are so critical, so central to their communities and their alumni, so HBCUS are a perfect place to build lasting relationships to unlock opportunity.”

The 32 awardee projects were selected from a competitive pool of 509 applicants. By partnering with stakeholders such as labor unions, community colleges and industry, these projects will solve for local talent needs, increase the supply of trained workers and help workers secure jobs in 15 key industries that are essential to U.S. supply chains, global competitiveness, and regional development. Through a holistic, integrated partnership approach, these projects will provide tangible opportunities and security for American workers, focusing on serving and supporting a broad range of underserved communities and connecting workers with the training, skills, and support services needed to successfully secure a good job.

“The Good Jobs Challenge is bringing together diverse partners and local leaders to advance workforce training programs across the country,” said Castillo. “Led by North Carolina A&T, the nation’s largest historically Black college and university, this program is bringing together education and clean energy employers to create an effective, inclusive workforce training program.”

“We are on a mission to make sure that every American – regardless of where they live or the color of their skin, how old they are, whether they are in recovery, formerly incarcerated – has a chance to get a real job,” said Raimondo. “You guys are working together as a team. When we sit down to say, ‘Where do we want to invest the money?’ we keep coming back here [to North Carolina] because we trust your stewardship. So let’s make this great.”

Media Contact Information: jtorok@ncat.edu

ALL NEWS

Solar Snapshot: New Investments in Grid Decarbonization, Community Solar, and Workforce Equity

Author: US DOE         Published:  8/4/2022          SETO

Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Solar Energy Technologies Office

Divider

What’s Inside: Solar Snapshot, the newsletter of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), shares recent announcementsupcoming eventsproducts and publicationsand more.

If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, you can subscribe here.

Reach out to us at solar@ee.doe.gov with any inquiries or suggestions.

Estimated read time: 5 minutes, 26 seconds

Funding Opportunities and Prizes

New Funding to Support Grid Decarbonization

SETO, in conjunction with the Wind Energy Technologies Office, announced $26 million in funding for projects that demonstrate the reliable operation of a decarbonized electrical grid. The Solar and Wind Grid Services and Reliability Demonstration funding opportunity will support the development of controls and methods for resources like solar and wind to provide the same grid services as traditional generation. Register for an informational webinar on Aug. 17 and submit a mandatory concept paper by Sep. 1 at 5 p.m. ET.

grid services

New Funding to Advance Workforce Equity

DOE announced $10 million in funding for the development of multi-stakeholder solar workforce programs. The Advancing Equity Through Workforce Partnerships funding opportunity seeks projects that identify common challenges and opportunities to facilitate the rapid deployment of solar energy technologies while supporting an inclusive workforce. Register for an informational webinar on Aug. 4 and submit a mandatory letter of intent by Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. ET.

workforce foa

Submit Your Letter of Intent for Photovoltaics Funding

Hurry! Mandatory letters of intent are due Aug. 5 at 5 p.m. ET for the Photovoltaics (PV) Research and Development funding opportunity. Academic institutions, for- and not-for-profit businesses, and state and local governments are all eligible to apply. SETO is interested in projects that reduce costs and supply chain vulnerabilities, further develop durable and recyclable solar technologies, and advance perovskite PV technologies toward commercialization.

Deadline Approaching for Funding to Study Solar and Agriculture

Applicants who submitted concept papers have until Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. ET to submit full applications for the Foundational Agrivoltaic Research for Megawatt Scale funding opportunity. SETO is interested in projects that examine how agrivoltaics can scale up to provide new economic opportunities to farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry.


Summer Solar Savings Spotlight 🌟

This summer, DOE is highlighting its work to expand access to solar power so more families can save on their electricity bills. Learn more about the recent Summer Solar Savings announcements.

summer solar savings

New Award Program for Equitable Community Solar

The Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar (The Sunny Awards) will recognize community solar projects and programs that increase equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar for subscribers and their communities. Up to $100,000 in prizes and several special recognition awards will be shared with prize winners. Register for an informational webinar on Aug. 18 and apply by Oct. 7 at 5 p.m. ET.

The Sunnys

New Community Solar Subscription Platform

DOE and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are developing a digital platform that will connect low-income households to money-saving community solar projects. Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Washington, D.C. will provide feedback, coordination, and data to test the operability, security, and performance of the platform during the pilot phase.

Request for Information (RFI) on the Community Solar Subscription Platform

DOE is seeking feedback on the structure of the community solar subscription platform from community-based organizations, community solar subscription managers and developers, state and local governments, researchers, and others. Responses are due Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. ET.

New Community Solar Utility Allowance Guidance

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced new guidance that expands access to community solar programs among families living in HUD-assisted rental housing. Learn how states can request guidance and the implications for the equitable expansion of community solar.


Some Light 🌞 Reading

New Initiative to Expand Thin-Film PV Production

Earlier this week, DOE launched the Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Accelerator Consortium, a $20 million initiative designed to spur innovations in and boost manufacturing of CdTe solar cells. This research group seeks to make CdTe solar cells less expensive and more efficient while developing new markets for solar cell products, bolstering the domestic supply chain, and enhancing U.S. competitiveness.

CdTe

New Program to Expand Access to the National Labs

The Vouchers to Enable Laboratory and Organizational Collaboration for Innovation and Technology Improvements (VELOCITI) program connects solar entrepreneurs to research expertise and facilities at the national labs. VELOCITI provides vouchers for lab access to help with the development of innovative solar technologies.

Reminder: Vehicle-Integrated PV RFI

DOE seeks public input on challenges and opportunities for vehicles with integrated or attached PV systems. Submit your response by Aug. 22 at 5 p.m. ET.


Upcoming Events

Webinar: Advancing Equity Through Workforce Partnerships Funding Opportunity

August 4 | 2 p.m. ETSETO will host an informational webinar to discuss the new funding opportunity and the areas of focus.

Webinar: Advancing an Equitable Solar Workforce

August 16 | 1 p.m. ETSETO will host a webinar with presentations on workforce challenges and opportunities, efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion within the solar sector, and potential ways for solar employers and labor unions to work together to ensure quality jobs and a stable workforce.

Webinar: Solar and Wind Grid Services and Reliability Demonstration Funding Opportunity

August 17 | 1 p.m. ETSETO will host an informational webinar to discuss the new funding opportunity and the areas of focus.

Webinar: The Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar

August 18 | 3 p.m. ETThe National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) will host an informational webinar to discuss the new prize program and how to participate.

Workshop on Solar Energy: Heliostats, Metrology Challenges, and Heliostat Consortium Funding Opportunities

August 24 | 3:30 p.m. ETThe Heliostat Consortium for Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power is hosting a workshop at the SPIE conference to bring together heliostat metrology experts and discuss challenges and funding opportunities.

Webinar: Solar District Cup Collegiate Design Competition

August 25 | 12 p.m. ETSETO will host an informational webinar to go over details about the Class of 2022-2023, including competition goals, participation options, rules, timeline, participation benefits, and more.

Webinar: Community Solar Resources for Multifamily Affordable Housing Providers

August 25 | 2 p.m. ETThe National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will host a webinar to introduce the resources developed to support Multifamily Affordable Housing providers in their efforts to accelerate deployment of community solar.


Products and Publications


In Case You Missed It

SolarAPP+ Industry Roundtable for Local Authorities and Installers

Watch the recording of a roundtable to learn from solar industry leaders and government officials about how SolarAPP+, a platform designed to improve the solar permitting process, can save communities time and money.

Webinar: Low-Income Community Solar Subscription Platform RFI

Watch the recording of this webinar to learn about the new Community Solar Subscription Platform and its goals to increase access to community solar that lowers energy bills, support customer acquisition, and accelerate low-income community solar development.

Webinar: Solar Manufacturing Incubator Funding Opportunity

A recording of this webinar about the new $27 million funding opportunity for projects that advance innovative product ideas, increase U.S. solar manufacturing, and expand private investment, especially in CdTe PV, will be posted soon.

32 Regional Partnerships Receive Once-In-A-Generation Funding from the American Rescue Plan to Develop Training Programs that Support Local Economies and Place an Additional 50,000 Workers in Quality Jobs

Author: EDA Staff  Published: 8/4/2022    EDA

Commerce News Banner

Media Contact:Office of Public Affairs, publicaffairs@doc.gov

U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Winners of American Rescue Plan $500 Million Good Jobs Challenge to Expand Employment Opportunities

32 Regional Partnerships Receive Once-In-A-Generation Funding from the American Rescue Plan to Develop Training Programs that Support Local Economies and Place an Additional 50,000 Workers in Quality Jobs

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced grant awards to 32 industry-led workforce training partnerships across the country as part of the $500 million Good Jobs Challenge funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The Good Jobs Challenge is administered by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration and will enable communities across the country to invest in innovative approaches to workforce development that will secure job opportunities for more than 50,000 Americans.

The 32 winning projects were selected from a competitive pool of 509 applicants. By partnering with labor unions, community colleges, industry, and other stakeholders, these projects will solve for local talent needs and increase the supply of trained workers and help workers secure jobs in 15 key industries that are essential to U.S. supply chains, global competitiveness, and regional development. This funding will advance a broad range of sectors—including agriculture and food production, energy and resilience, healthcare, manufacturing and information technology—jumpstarting the design, development, implementation, and expansion of training programs that are tailored specifically to each community.

“A trained workforce is essential to ensuring that the United States can compete and succeed in the 21st century,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Commerce Department is able to make once-in-a-generation investments in industry-driven, and locally-led workforce systems that will create high-quality jobs and accelerate regional economic growth, especially for underserved communities.”

These projects will expand access to the workforce and increase labor participation through a focus on job quality and equity. The projects will serve and support a broad range of individuals from underserved populations across the country in urban and rural areas, including members of Latino, African American, Indigenous, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, as well as women, the formerly incarcerated, and those recovering from substance abuse disorders. By providing access to high-quality jobs that include good pay, benefits and career mobility for Americans who need it most and simultaneously serving vital industries, these grants will support flourishing regional economies that in turn benefit the nation’s growth, competitiveness and resilience. Many of these investments also advance the goals of the President’s Talent Pipeline Challenge to create equitable workforce development opportunities for infrastructure jobs.

“Workforce development is a critical pillar to supporting innovative and competitive economic development, and the Good Jobs Challenge is working hand-in-hand with diverse partners and local leaders to strengthen local economic recovery and resiliency,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “The Good Jobs Challenge prioritizes employer leadership and hiring commitments, which we know are critical to expanding career opportunities for more Americans to reach their full potential and secure good jobs, leading to a stronger regional and national economy.”

“By integrating industry in every step of the talent development process, these awardees are focused on supporting underserved communities in diverse areas across the country, helping to remove systemic barriers for workers and connecting employers with the trained workforce they need to grow and sustain competitive local economies,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Castillo.

The Good Jobs Challenge is part of a suite of American Rescue Plan programs developed by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to equitably distribute its $3 billion allocation to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build a better America by accelerating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building more resilient, shockproof local economies. EDA is currently evaluating all applications and will announce grantees for the full suite of programs by September 30, 2022.

For more information, please visit our fact sheet. (PDF)

The project leads for each awardee are listed below. (Project summaries are available via hyperlinks.)

Alaska Primary Care Association (Alaska)Grant: $9.7 millionIndustry focus: Healthcare

Charleston Chamber Foundation (South Carolina)Grant: $8.4 million Industry focus: Healthcare

Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (Illinois)Grant: $18.5 million Industry focus: Healthcare; Manufacturing; Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics; Information Technology

City of Birmingham (Alabama)Grant: $10.8 million Industry focus: Healthcare

City of New York Human Resources Administration (New York)Grant: $18.6 millionIndustry focus: Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics; Building and Construction

City of Springfield (Missouri)Grant: $17.5 millionIndustry focus: Healthcare; Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics; Education

Dallas College (Texas)Grant: $8.8 millionIndustry focus: Bio-medical

Economic Development and Industrial Corporation of Boston (Massachusetts)Grant: $23 million Industry focus: Healthcare; Energy and Resilience; Childcare

Florida Gulf Coast University Board of Trustees (Florida)Grant: $22.9 million Industry focus: Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics; Healthcare; Manufacturing; Education

Foundation for California Community Colleges (California)Grant: $21.5 million Industry focus: Forestry and Fire Safety

Fresno County Economic Development Corporation (California)Grant: $23 million Industry focus: Professional and Financial Services; Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics; Manufacturing; Building and Construction

Hampton Roads Workforce Council (Virginia & North Carolina)Grant: $11 million Industry focus: Water and Blue Economy; Energy and Resilience

Illinois Central College (Illinois)Grant: $14.6 million Industry focus: Information Technology

Lakota Funds (South Dakota) Grant: $5 millionIndustry focus: Building and Construction

Maryland Department of Labor (Maryland) Grant: $22.9 million Industry focus: Energy and Resilience

Miami Dade College (Florida) Grant: $10 million Industry focus: Information Technology

Mid-South Center for Occupational Innovation (Arkansas, Mississippi, & Tennessee)Grant: $21.5 million Industry focus: Building and Construction; Manufacturing; Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics

Nevadaworks (Nevada) Grant: $14.9 million Industry focus: Healthcare; Information Technology; Manufacturing; Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (North Carolina)Grant: $23.7 million Industry focus: Energy and Resilience

North Central New Mexico Economic Development District (New Mexico)Grant: $6.4 million Industry focus: Healthcare; Building and Construction

Office of Workforce Strategy (Connecticut)Grant: $23.9 million Industry focus: Manufacturing; Healthcare; Information Technology; Bio-medical

Ohio Manufacturers’ Association Educational and Industrial Development Institute (Ohio)Grant: $23.5 million  Industry focus: Manufacturing

Persevere (Tennessee) Grant: $15.4 millionIndustry focus: Information Technology

Philadelphia Works, Inc. (Pennsylvania)Grant: $22.8 million Industry focus: Healthcare; Building and Construction; Energy and Resilience

Southwestern Oregon Workforce Investment Board (Oregon) Grant: $3.4 million Industry focus: Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics

The Chamber Foundation(Minnesota & North Dakota)Grant: $9.6 millionIndustry focus: Agriculture and Food Production; Information Technology; Manufacturing

UnidosUS (Puerto Rico & Colorado)Grant: $11.4 millionIndustry focus: Aerospace & Defense; Building and Construction; Professional and Financial Services

United Way of Central Iowa (Iowa)Grant:  $1.8 millionIndustry focus: Healthcare

University of Hawaii (Hawaii)Grant: $16.4 millionIndustry focus: Healthcare; Information Technology; Energy and Resilience; Film, Arts, & Media

Washington Student Achievement Council (Washington)Grant: $23.5 million  Industry focus: Healthcare; Information Technology; Professional and Financial Services; Energy and Resilience; Manufacturing; Building and Construction    

Workforce Solutions Rural Capital (Texas)Grant:  $12.1 millionIndustry focus: Building and Construction; Information Technology; Healthcare

WTIA Workforce Institute (Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington)Grant: $23.5 million Industry focus: Information Technology

Funding Notice: $26M for Solar and Wind Grid Services and Reliability Demonstration

Author: US DOE  Staff      Published: 8/2/2022     SETO

Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

Grid Services FOA

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) and the Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) announced the Solar and Wind Grid Services and Reliability Demonstration funding opportunity, which will award $26 million in funding for projects that demonstrate the reliable operation of a power system that has at up to 100% of its power contribution coming from solar, wind, and battery storage resources. Read the press release about this funding opportunity announcement (FOA).

Grid services, which largely involves maintaining the voltage and frequency stability, are critical to maintain reliability. Because new wind and solar generation are interfaced with the grid through power electronic inverters, they have different characteristics and dynamics than traditional sources of generation that currently supply these services. Demonstrating that a grid fully powered by inverter-based resources is as reliable or more reliable at providing these services is a key barrier to the clean energy transition.

Projects in this funding opportunity will support the development of controls and methods for inverter-based resources like solar and wind to provide the same grid services as traditional generation. These technologies will be validated through long-duration demonstrations at existing large-scale wind and solar generation facilities connected to bulk power system to show their capability of providing grid services at scale. Other projects will develop technologies to ensure system reliability and conduct large-scale studies of transmission protection systems to determine how they respond when sourced primarily by inverter-based resources.

DOE expects to make between 6 and 9 awards under this funding opportunity, each ranging from $2 million to $6 million. To facilitate the formation of teams, SETO and WETO are providing a Teaming Partner List where interested parties who would like to apply to the FOA may express interest to potential partners. Utilities, laboratories, equipment manufacturers, software vendors, engineering firms, and universities (including community colleges) are encouraged to apply.

Prior to submitting a full application for this opportunity, a mandatory concept paper is due on Sept. 1, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET.

SETO and WETO will host an informational webinar on August 17 at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the funding opportunity and the areas of focus. Register for the webinar.

Learn more about this funding opportunity and other open funding opportunities within DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

DOE Launches Cadmium Telluride Research Group to Grow America’s Solar Industry

Author: US DOE Staff       Published: 8/1/2022      SETO 

Energy dot gov Office of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy

National Renewable Energy Laboratory to Administer Consortium to Rapidly Reduce Cost and Speed Deployment of American-Made Solar Technologies, Securing the Nation with Cleaner Energy and Good Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the launch of the Cadmium Telluride Accelerator Consortium—a $20 million initiative designed to make cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar cells less expensive, more efficient and develop new markets for solar cell products. CdTe solar cells were first developed in the United States and are the second-most common photovoltaic technology in the world after silicon. Without strengthened domestic manufacturing capacity, the U.S. will continue to rely on clean energy imports, exposing the nation to supply chain vulnerabilities while simultaneously losing out on the enormous job opportunities associated with the energy transition. The Consortium’s efforts to spur technological advancements will increase America’s competitiveness, bolster domestic innovation, and support clean electricity deployment supporting President Biden’s goal of achieving a net-zero economy by 2050.

“As solar continues its reign as one of the cheapest forms of energy powering our homes and businesses, we are committed to a solar future that is built by American workers,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE is proud to partner with leading solar researchers and companies to chart the future of CdTe technology, which presents an immense opportunity for domestic manufacturers to help ensure our nation’s security while providing family-sustaining jobs.”

“To move America forward, we need an all-of-the-above strategy that propels our energy independence, lowers costs, and creates good-paying jobs. Northern Ohio has already revolutionized the field of solar technology,” said U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur (OH-09). Now, through this remarkable partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the University of Toledo, and First Solar – our region will become a hub of next-generation energy innovation that is built right here at home by Ohio’s workers.”

“Our world requires scientific innovation to address the inefficient ways we find, produce and consume energy,” said University of Toledo President DrGregory Postel. “The University of Toledo is proud to help power the future by leading this consortium that leverages our expertise in solar energy research and commercialization and strengthens our partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and other leaders in this important and growing field.”

The new Cadmium Telluride Accelerator Consortium will work on continued cost and efficiency improvements that will make CdTe cheaper and more efficient, and more competitive on the global market. To achieve these goals, the team has a broad research plan that includes CdTe doping strategies, characterizing and exploring new CdTe contacting materials, and work to enable a bifacial CdTe module that absorbs light from the front and back of the module. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will administer the consortium, whose leaders were chosen through a competitive solicitation NREL released last year. The consortium will be led by the University of Toledo, First Solar, Colorado State University, Toledo Solar Inc., and Sivananthan Laboratories, Inc.

NREL will serve as a resource, support, and technical analysis center as the consortium develops a technology roadmap, conducts research to meet targets set within the roadmap, and regularly assesses the domestic CdTe supply chain for challenges and opportunities. The consortium aims to expand domestic CdTe photovoltaic material and module production, support the domestic CdTe supply chain, and enhance U.S. competitiveness.

DOE’s Continued Investment in CdTe Technology

DOE, through NREL and a longstanding partnership with First Solar, has been a leader in CdTe research. DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) supports innovative research focused on overcoming the current technological and commercial barriers for CdTe cells. SETO has awarded funding for research, development, and demonstration of methods to improve reliability and lower the cost of CdTe technology.

DOE’s Solar Photovoltaics Supply Chain Review Report identified CdTe as an opportunity for expanding domestic production of solar panels, up to the limit that CdTe material availability allows, with little risk of being overtaken by low-cost foreign competition.

The FY22 Solar Manufacturing Incubator funding opportunity, announced last month, will support projects that ready new technologies and manufacturing processes for commercialization and demonstrate solutions that can boost domestic manufacturing of thin-film photovoltaics made from CdTe.

Learn more about the CdTe Accelerator Consortium.

###

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces Six New Actions to Lower Electricity Bills for Working Families

Author: White House Staff      Published: 7/27/2022                  WHBR

Boosted by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Actions to Connect More States and Families to Affordable, Reliable Solar Projects and Create Clean Energy Jobs

President Biden is laser focused on lowering energy costs for working families while creating good-paying jobs and tackling the climate crisis. As extreme heat continues to affect tens of millions of Americans, hitting low-income families harder than others, President Biden is implementing new programs to help maintain a consistent and affordable energy supply to cool their homes.

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing six new actions to lower home electricity costs for hard-hit American families by increasing access to affordable and more reliable clean energy and create clean energy jobs:

LOWERING ELECTRICITY COSTS

  1. Connecting Families to Low-Cost Solar Power: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is issuing new guidance that – for the first time – will help enable families in HUD-assisted rental housing to subscribe to local community solar where available. With this guidance, HUD setting the stage for 4.5 million families to reap the benefits of community solar which, on average, can save families 10% per year on their electric bills. In some programs, such as the Washington, DC Solar for All program, savings to households from subscribing to local community solar can reach up to 50% per year.

This national guidance builds on recent state-specific guidance that HUD has provided to Illinois, Washington, DC and New York, that determined community-net-metering (CNM) credits would be excluded from household income and utility allowance calculations and therefore not increase housing costs for residents in properties participating in HUD Multifamily, Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance programs.

  • Connecting States to Low-Cost Solar Power: The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are announcing that Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Washington, D.C. have signed up to pilot the Community Solar Subscription Platform which is designed to connect community solar electric bill savings projects to households participating in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). DOE estimates that families in the pilot states and Washington, DC will see over $1 billion annually in combined electric bill savings.
  • Empowering Rural Housing Authorities to Save Families Money: Building on guidance from last year, HUD will launch a new initiative to help small rural housing authorities make money-saving energy efficiency upgrades and retain the savings from those projects to reinvest in improvements to rural HUD supported rental housing.

CREATING CLEAN ENERGY JOBS

  • DOE is announcing the Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar, a new awards program to recognize communities that are implementing best-in class community solar programs and projects that lower costs and increase access for families.
  • Bringing New Federal Resources to Communities: HUD announced that HUD regional offices will convene stakeholders in their regions over the next 90 days to highlight federal funding sources– including funding streams from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and HUD programs such as the HOME Investment Partnerships program and the Community Development Block Grant – that can be used to support public facilities and increase affordable housing supply that improves energy efficiency.

These announcements are bolstered by funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which will create good-paying jobs in one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy – clean energy. And they build on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs focused on lowering utility costs and reducing energy use such as LIHEAP and the Weatherization Assistance Program.

Low-income households spend a disproportionate amount of their earnings on energy costs – according to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Low-Income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) Tool, the average low-income household spends almost 9% of their income on energy. That adds up to tens of millions of Americans who are forced to make hard decisions between keeping the lights on or staying cool, and making other essential purchases like food and medicine.

Today’s announcements further the President’s Justice40 Initiative which commits to delivering at least 40 percent of the benefits from federal climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, or overburdened by pollution.