The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), today announced a $150-million investment into the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that will help the laboratory keep America on the cutting edge of clean-energy technology and lead the world in the transition to carbon-free power sources. The funding, from the Inflation Reduction Act, will support major projects at NREL and will help the country meet President Biden’s goal of a net-zero economy by 2050.
“NREL’s tranquil location in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains belies the tenacity with which the lab’s researchers are working to develop game-changing technology,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This investment from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act will give the lab the resources it needs to help us tackle climate change and create a more resilient and secure power grid.”
“Thanks to the historic Inflation Reduction Act, we will be able to make vital upgrades to lab infrastructure and enable clean energy research and development that is imperative to addressing the climate crisis,” said NREL Director Martin Keller. “The funds will accelerate three-plus years of planned capital investment to modernize research infrastructure supporting DOE clean energy research and development activities, critical laboratory renovations, and deferred maintenance.”
NREL is one of DOE’s 17 National Laboratories and the one primarily focused on renewable power, sustainable transportation, and energy-efficiency technologies. In addition to today’s announcement, the President’s FY24 Budget requests $35 million to assist in the planning for an 18th National Laboratory at an Historically Black College or University, Minority-Serving Institution, or Tribal College or University. The goal is to stand up a new laboratory to serve as the nation’s premier research organization focused on modeling, observations, analysis, and multidisciplinary syntheses that are necessary to evaluate heterogeneous regions down to community scales.
Secretary Granholm, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, and Director Keller announced the funding today at NREL’s campus in Golden, Colorado, which is already undergoing a major expansion that includes the Research and Innovation Laboratory (RAIL), which will house multipurpose lab space supporting cross-disciplinary research in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
NREL’s IRA funds have been designated for the following priorities:
$93 million for modernizing research infrastructure, including facilities to advance technologies such as sustainable aviation fuels, and advance NREL’s Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems research platform that will support the administration’s decarbonization goals in the grid, buildings, transportation, and industrial sectors.
$57 million for laboratory renovations and deferred maintenance to improve facilities for NREL researchers and allow NREL to lead by example by cutting overall emissions from lab operations.
The delegation dedicated the RAIL facility and toured the sites of the future South Table Mountain Energy Park and the adjacent, State of Colorado-run Global Energy Park, a planned hub for private industry.
The funding will also go toward expanding electrical and water line capacity at NREL’s campus in Arvada, Colorado.