Energy Launches Foundation to Accelerate Emerging Tech Commercialization

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The Energy Department aims to boost investment in commercial energy tech through its first ever agency-related foundation.

The Energy Department is looking for public, stakeholder and industry input regarding a new agency-related foundation created under President Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.

In a request for information published Thursday, Energy seeks ideas for how the agency, as well as stakeholders, should engage with the Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation, or FESI. The foundation was created to help Energy foster public-private partnerships and invest in companies that are commercializing critical and emerging energy technologies.  

“FESI will help ensure that the breakthroughs in science and innovation at DOE are used to their fullest capacity in maintaining America’s edge as a global energy powerhouse throughout the 21st Century and beyond,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. “This first-of-its-kind foundation will serve as a critical new partner to the department in our efforts to strengthen American ingenuity and deliver the technologies of the future so critical to an equitable clean energy economy.”

In particular, Energy seeks input from philanthropic organizations, community stakeholders, Energy’s national laboratory foundations and the energy industry. The foundation was created through the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, and lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle say they plan to continue working to ensure the foundation’s success.

“Investing in research and development—particularly as it pertains to energy—is a no-brainer,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a statement. “FESI is an opportunity for the Department of Energy to partner with the private sector, creating a unique opportunity for innovation.”

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., added, “The Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation will boost American competitiveness and channel private sector investments into critical partnerships between the Department of Energy, its world-class National Labs, the private sector and the philanthropic community.”

According to the RFI announcement, the federal government has created 12 agency-related independent nonprofit organizations since 1959, which have averaged a return of $67 for every dollar in federal contributions.