U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

DOE’s Paul Dabbar Puts Spotlight on Energy Innovation

By Matt Letourneau

The U.S. Department of Energy is poised to pursue major developments in energy innovation that can “make a difference in the world” due in part to a funding increase in its science programs, said Paul Dabbar, the department’s Under Secretary for Science today.

At an event hosted today by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), A Conversation with Paul Dabbar, the leader of the department’s science initiatives discussed agency priorities and the role of innovation at DOE – primarily in its network of 17 National Laboratories – and across the U.S. energy sector.

Thanks in part to a 16-percent budget increase in the Office of Science – and a potential 25-percent increase over the next two years – DOE is spearheading major breakthroughs in the energy space, said Dabbar, who highlighted developments in batteries and storage, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum physics, space exploration, sustainable energy, and more.

These things can make a difference in the world, and our lab complex is part of it,” Dabbar said.

Moving forward, DOE plans to invest in accelerating research and construction across its 17 National Laboratories. Research and development are at the core of DOE’s work, Dabbar explained.

He expressed excitement over the renewed commitment to energy innovation:

“For a long time, the energy sector had relatively little innovation. But in the last 10 years, there’s been a series of sub-segments of energy where innovation has made tremendous strides. If you look at wind capacity factors … if you look at natural gas production costs, if you look at gas turbine technology, if you look at heat rates … there’s a noticeable difference.

“We have the interest, the support and the confidence of the whole country right now and where we are going in the next generation. We look forward to engaging everyone while we drive this forward.”

Dabbar also touched on the department’s efforts to promote lab research and hand off innovative technology for commercialization. Over the next year, DOE plans to host four summits to share research and innovation related to batteries and storage, AI and machine learning, additive manufacturing, and biotech. DOE will host its inaugural summit on batteries and storage at Stanford University this September.

The department’s efforts coincide with the May 2018 launch of GEI’s new EnergyInnovates initiative, a program dedicated to showcasing American innovators, projects, and technologies that are shaping today’s energy industry and laying the foundation for the future.

While EnergyInnovates is focused on private sector investment, government-funded research and development remain extremely important pieces of the equation, especially for longer-range innovation. 

GEI’s EnergyInnovates initiative kicked off with a visit to Alabama Power’s Smart NeighborhoodTM. The one-of-a-kind community, developed with help from DOE, features a high-performance, energy-efficient network of 62 homes connected to a dedicated microgrid. The colocation of power generation and consumption highlights our nation’s role as a leader in energy innovation, and the cutting-edge home technology is paving the way for the future of homebuilding and consumer control. 

You can learn more about the SmartNeighorhood project by watching our video.  In our video you’ll hear from Dan Simmons, DOE’s Director of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, who was on hand in Alabama for the grand opening of the project. 

As we collaborate to develop and implement energy innovation across the United States, we look forward to continuing our partnership with DOE and member companies to leverage our position of energy abundance and global energy leadership.

 

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