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September 20, 2023 | Tom Ballard

DOE announces new three-track “Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize”

Nearly $7.5 million is available, and applications for the concept phase of the three tracks are now being accepted.

After the groundbreaking success of the “Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize” and the “Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize,” the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is launching a new challenge that combines the two prizes, this time expanding the reach to community organizations, manufacturers, nonfederal government entities, and college students.

The three-phase $7.49 million “Community Energy Innovation Prize” will continue to encourage the transition to a just and equitable clean energy economy by offering three prize tracks:

  • Clean Energy Ecosystem Track which offers a total prize pool of $4.86 million and is available to eligible applicants with experience in supporting environmental, climate, and energy justice. This track encourages community-led projects across a wide range of clean energy initiatives, technologies, and areas of focus that advance local clean energy transitions.
  • Manufacturing Ecosystem Track which offers a total prize pool of $2.18 million and is available to eligible teams that include at least one organization that can reasonably represent the interests of the manufacturing sector. This track encourages teams to bring together public, private, and community stakeholders to address key barriers to advancing manufacturing innovation, business models, and market development in underserved communities.
  • Collegiate Track with a total prize pool of $450,000 that is available to student-led teams working alongside a community partner and an academic institution on a project related to an equitable clean energy transition. This track of the prize was inspired by the success of other NREL-administered collegiate competitions, all of which provide valuable hands-on experience and professional connections that students can carry with them into the clean energy workforce.

By broadening its reach, the new prize aims to bolster grassroots community organizations, accelerate innovation in the manufacturing sector, and inspire and mentor collegiate students.

“The diverse projects implemented by the winners of each of these prizes were a testament to what’s possible when people come together to create community-based solutions,” said Julie Baker at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) which is administering the program. “We know that this new prize will ignite even more progress toward critical community efforts surrounding clean energy.”

Applications to compete in the concept phase for all three tracks are now open. Collegiate Track submissions are due November 3, and Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Track applications are due February 2, 2024.


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