Government Funding for Clean Tech Spurs Private Investment

Following up on yesterday’s story about solar projects in coal country, Fast Company has a story on government funding of clean energy projects yielding private investment. Maybe some of those resources can be deployed here in our region. Your thoughts?

From Fast Company’s Ariel Schwartz:

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) funding program for “moonshot” green technologies has brought attention to companies working on everything from cryogenic carbon capture to kites outfitted with wind turbines. Apparently, all that attention and seed money from the government has triggered a wave of private investment.

According to the DOE, six projects that took in $23.6 million in seed funding from ARPA-E generated over $100 million in private capital investment over the past year. The projects highlighted by the DOE aren’t necessarily “moonshot” technologies, but they are ambitious. They include 1366 Technologies’ quest to develop solar panels for 80% of their current cost, FloDesign’s development of a jet engine-inspired wind turbine, 24M’s development of a battery architecture that is both cheaper and more efficient than lithium-ion batteries, and Envia’s work on lithium-ion batteries with the highest energy density in the world.

“This amount of private capital support indicates that the business community is hungry to invest in truly innovative solutions to the country’s energy challenges,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement. “These game-changing projects are going to ensure America’s energy, economic and environmental prosperity is secure.”

ARPA-E doesn’t currently have any open funding opportunities for aspiring cleantech giants, but rest assured that new ones will be announced eventually. After all, ultra-powerful batteries and jet engine-like wind turbines can’t solve all of our energy woes.

Kristin Tracz

About Kristin Tracz

Kristin Tracz served MACED’s Research and Policy team from 2009-2012 working on clean energy policy, energy efficiency programs and the Appalachian Transition Initiative. She joined MACED after finishing her Master of Environmental Management degree at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She now lives and works in Washington, DC.