The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI), which the department says is focused on growing U.S. manufacturing of clean energy products and boosting U.S. competitiveness through major improvements in manufacturing energy productivity.
As part of the CEMI, the DOE has awarded over $23 million in funding for clean energy manufacturing research and development and plans to award more funds in the coming months. In addition, the CEMI involves hosting a series of summits to gather input on manufacturing priorities and opportunities, as well as launching new public-private partnerships focused on improving U.S. clean energy manufacturing competitiveness.
The announcement was made at the ribbon cutting of the DOE's Carbon Fiber Technology Facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., a new manufacturing facility that will be used to help reduce the cost of carbon fiber – a critical material for next-generation wind turbines.
Now open to U.S. manufacturers, this state-of-the-art facility provides clean energy companies and researchers with a test bed for the development of less-expensive, better- performing carbon fiber materials and manufacturing processes, the DOE says. The 42,000-square-foot facility is supported by a $35 million DOE grant and will produce up to 25 tons of carbon fiber each year.
"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 five-fold to over $260 billion, and these markets will grow into the trillions of dollars in the years to come," said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson.
"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," added Danielson.