U.S. Department of Energy Announces 1st Round of Community Energy Innovation Prize Winners for the Clean Energy Ecosystem & Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks

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23 Teams Will Move Forward in the American-Made Challenge Focused on Community-Based Innovation

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced 23 teams have won the CONCEPT Phase of the American-Made Community Energy Innovation Prize in the Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks. Each team has been awarded $100,000 in prize money and will receive in-kind mentorship and other support services throughout the subsequent prize phases.

The Community Energy Innovation Prize supports capacity building, innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development related to clean energy and climate for disadvantaged communities in accordance with the Justice40 Initiative. The prize has three tracks, each with distinct goals and submission requirements: Collegiate, Clean Energy Ecosystem, and Manufacturing Ecosystem. Winners of the Collegiate Track’s CONCEPT Phase were announced in December 2023.

“Local energy transitions are most successful when they are led by the community members themselves, but we understand funding is often an obstacle, especially for communities that have been historically underserved or disproportionately impacted by climate change,” said Jeff Marootian, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “That’s why we offer prizes as a low-barrier-to-entry way for communities to get the support they need. We were blown away by the creativity and rigor seen in the impact plans of these winning teams and look forward to seeing the results of their efforts.”

In the two Ecosystem Tracks, competitors submitted impact plans detailing the work they intend to accomplish in subsequent prize phases. In the Clean Energy Ecosystem Track, impact plans may include workforce development initiatives, community clean energy education, or plans to deploy clean energy technologies. In the Manufacturing Ecosystem Track, competitors were asked to develop ideas around manufacturing-related education, entrepreneurship, resilient supply chains, and more. Competitors in both tracks were required to focus their impact plans on engaging with and benefitting underserved communities.

CONCEPT Phase Winners in Clean Energy Ecosystem Track:

  • East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) and Cooperative Energy Futures (CEF) (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  • Pomona, CA – Direct-to-Renter Clean Energy Program (Pomona, California)
  • Convivencia Hispana Energy Navigators (St. James, Minnesota)
  • Project:HOMES (Tangier, Virginia)
  • Team Bean (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • People Power: Energy Security|Ownership (Fort Smith, Arkansas)
  • Innovate Gloucester (Gloucester, Massachusetts)
  • Community Through Colors (Isabel Segunda, Vieques, Puerto Rico)
  • LEI Foundation Energize Waianae Moku (Wai’anae, Hawaii)
  • RESCo Innovation Team (Rosebud Sioux Reservation, South Dakota)
  • Requity Foundation (Baltimore, Maryland)
  • Shake Energy Collaborative (Honolulu and Wai’anae, Hawaii)
  • First State Community Green Energy Coalition (Wilmington to New Castle, Delaware).

CONCEPT Phase Winners in Manufacturing Ecosystem Track:

  • Clean Tech Innovation Network (Chicago, Illinois)
  • CEIP Warren (Warren, Ohio)
  • Metals Innovation Initiative (MI2) (Four counties in Kentucky)
  • PDX Clean Industry Network (Portland, Oregon)
  • IMPACTT (Evansville, Indiana)
  • Green Leap Riverside (Riverside County, California)
  • Scale for ClimateTech (New York)
  • Eighth Generation Consulting (Osage Territory, Pawhuska, Oklahoma)
  • APLUS (Arlington, Texas)
  • Southland Development Authority Team (Tinley Park, Illinois).

These teams will move on to the PROGRESS Phase of the prize where they will implement their planned community projects. At the end of this phase in July 2024, teams will report on their progress and will be eligible for an additional $100,000 in prize money plus continued mentorship services. The winning teams will then move on to the IMPACT Phase and will present their program accomplishments at a final event in December 2024. You can learn more about the winning teams’ projects on the HeroX website.

The Community Energy Innovation Prize is part of DOE’s American Made program and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Follow the Community Energy Innovation Prize to learn more about the ongoing activities of competitors from all prize tracks. 

Learn more about prizes and competitions from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy.

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