Department of Energy launches clean manufacturing initiative

The Department of Energy announced an initiative to boost U.S. manufacturing of clean energy products.

Called the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, its goal is to accelerate U.S.-based manufacturing of cost-competitive clean energy technologies, such as wind, solar, geothermal, batteries and biofuels.

Another goal is to increase competitiveness in U.S. manufacturing generally by helping the sector adopt greater energy efficiency, combined heat and power, and other energy sources that improve energy productivity.

Under the Recovery Act, manufacturers that make clean-tech equipment were eligible for a 30 percent tax credit, but President Barack Obama couldn't get it renewed. This initiative is another way to supporting his goals for advanced manufacturing in the U.S.

The DOE has already awarded $23 million for R&D projects that can enhance manufacturing in these areas, and released a $15 million funding opportunity to reduce the manufacturing costs of solar PV and concentrating solar over the next few years.

"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 fivefold to over $260 billion and these markets will grow into the trillions of dollars in the years to come," said David Danielson, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. 

"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," he said.

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