The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that investments resulting from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act will contribute $3 trillion to the green energy economy, primarily driven by the private sector.
This clean energy boom is expected to help accelerate the build-out of green infrastructure. To help ensure that domestic capacity for developing green technology components will meet growing infrastructural demands, the Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Manufacture of Advanced Key Energy Infrastructure Technologies Prize (MAKE IT).
The $30 million fund is meant to incentivize the domestic manufacturing of green technology critical components while ensuring facilities also benefit the communities in which they exist. It includes two multiphase tracks: The Facilities Track and The Strategies Track.
The Facilities Track
This track is meant to help manufacturing plant developers transition from the planning stage to being ready for construction. It’s open to U.S.-based organizations interested in manufacturing.
To apply, participants begin by submitting a Statement of Intent. This introductory letter is an opportunity to describe their team and the clean energy technology they want to manufacture.
If the competitors are approved to compete in Phase 1: Scope, they must submit a proposal detailing their green technology manufacturing facility development plan. The American-Made Challenges program page states that about 12 winners will be awarded $500,000 each and move on to Phase 2: Shovel Ready.
Here, participants will exhibit how they can begin building a manufacturing facility by providing evidence of having control of a site, permits, financing, and proof of community engagement. There will be a maximum of four winners awarded $4.5 million each.
NREL states that The Facilities Track is currently accepting statements of intent from new teams interested in joining the track’s secondary timeline until Feb. 1. Participants whose statement of intent was deemed eligible under the primary timeline have until Feb. 1 to submit a Phase 1: Scope proposal.
The Strategies Track
The Strategies Track invites U.S.-based organizations to submit proposals for boosting clean energy manufacturing, economic development, growth, and quality of life in their communities. Nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, economic development organizations, and other groups focused on a culturally responsive approach to nurturing the communities where these manufacturing facilities will exist are invited to apply, said Rebecca Szymkowicz, the commercialization program manager at the DOE.
The American-Made Challenges Program page states that interested applicants get two chances to compete through two rounds, and each round has three phases.
Phase 1: Engage asks participants to submit an introductory narrative sharing information on their team, region and possible approaches to their manufacturing development community engagement plan. About 30 winners will receive up to $50,000 each across each round of the competition.
For Phase 2: Create awardees should submit a concept roadmap detailing the results of their community engagement and including a list of possible manufacturers for their region. About 20 concept roadmaps will be selected to move forward to the next phase, each winning $100,000 across each round of the competition.
Those selected to move forward to Phase 3: Activate will be asked to submit a final copy of their roadmaps along with proof of interest from at least one entity looking to develop a clean energy manufacturing facility in their region. About eight winners will be selected to receive $250,000 across each round of the competition.
The deadline to apply for Round 2 of Phase 1: Engage is Feb. 15. For a detailed list of each round and phase deadline, visit the American-Made Challenges Program page.
NREL states that cross-track collaboration is welcomed to foster more cooperation between teams looking for sites for their manufacturing facilities and those searching for developers for their regions.
The MAKE IT Prize is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Technology Commercialization Fund.
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