As US Senators continue to draft climate change legislation, the Department of Energy (DOE) said it will invest more than $200m over five years to expand the use of solar and water power technologies throughout the country.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said expanding the US clean energy manufacturing base is an important part of diversifying the nation’s electricity supply option and increasing national security.
‘These investments will help strengthen American competitiveness in renewable energy and transform the US into a lasting manufacturing presence in the 21st century clean-energy economy,’ Chu.
Under the funding, the department will invest $125m over five years in manufacturing-focused research projects that will have near- and mid-term impact on the US solar industry. This will be distributed between university and industry-focused developments.
In addition, $40m will be spent over three years on identifying and accelerating unique products or processes for the photovoltaic manufacturing supply chain that will have a major impact on the industry.
A National Adminstrator of the Solar Instructor Training Network will also be selected to act as a central coordinating body for the training network through a $4.5m grant.
It said it is seeking projects focused on component and manufacturing technologies that show a strong potential to impact a substantial segment of the photovoltaic industry within two to five years. These technologies and processes may include producing lower cost coating materials, electrical components to improve performance, processes that reduce manufacturing waste, or equipment that improves manufacturing or installation speed.
Marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies will also receive a $39m over four years to accelerate the technological advancement and commercial readiness of emerging water power technologies.
It said the goal through this funding is to transition MHK system and component designs toward commercialisation.
US Senators Lindsey Graham, John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman are writing a climate change bill that is expected to be introduced within the next couple of weeks and draw on a piece of legislation that was written by Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer last year.
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