U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
DOE Creates a $7.2 Million Clean Energy Commercialization Fund
December 5, 2007
DOE announced on November 29th that it will establish a $7.2 million
commercialization fund to be divided among three DOE national
laboratories: the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will receive up
to $4 million, Oak Ridge National Laboratory up to $2.5 million, and
Sandia National Laboratories up to $700,000. The three national
laboratories will use the funds for clean energy technologies that
have advanced beyond the research stage, moving the technologies
toward commercial viability though prototype development,
demonstration projects, market research, and other deployment
activities. The new fund was announced in conjunction with an
announcement on solar thermal power funding. See the DOE press release.
The DOE emphasis on commercialization comes at a good time, as U.S.
venture capital investments in the "CleanTech" sector reached a record
high for the first three quarters of 2007. According to data from
Thomson Financial and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA),
158 deals resulted in $2.6 billion invested in CleanTech, which
includes clean energy as well as other environmental products. Solar
energy garnered the lion's share of the investments, with 35 deals
worth a total of $664.6 million, while the relatively mature wind
power industry drew only four deals worth $62.9 million. One of the
largest single venture capital deals was a $77 million investment in
Heliovolt Corporation, a maker of thin-film solar cells. See the NVCA
press release (PDF 38 KB).
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Meanwhile, the United States and the European Union have submitted a
proposal to the World Trade Organization to remove trade barriers to
clean energy technologies and services. The proposal calls for
eliminating worldwide tariffs on a specific list of climate-friendly
technologies, as well as a commitment by most countries to eliminate
trade barriers for a wide range of environmental technologies and
services. See the press release from the Office of the
U.S. Trade Representative.