WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public and stakeholder input on the Department’s first ever agency-related Foundation. Authorized by President Biden’s bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation (FESI) will support DOE to carry out its critical mission to ensure America’s continued security and prosperity through transformative science and technology solutions. A key aim of FESI is to accelerate the commercialization of new and existing energy technologies by raising and investing funds through engagements with the private sector and philanthropic communities. The Foundation will help DOE provide additional resources, tools, and capacities for potential partners and communities across the country—supporting solutions-driven research and innovation that strengthens America’s energy and national security while helping achieve the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious clean energy goals.
“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,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “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.”
Since 1959, twelve agency-related independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations have been created, which have averaged a return of $67 for every dollar in federal contributions. Once established, FESI will bring the potential for greater flexibility and efficiency to how the Department supports a broad portfolio of energy research, commercialization, coordination. and support to a variety of stakeholder groups. FESI will help foster public-private partnerships, invest in companies commercializing critical energy technologies, support underrepresented groups and regions responding to DOE funding opportunities, and tackle a wide variety of systemic and distributed federal, state, and local deployment challenges.
This RFI seeks input on how DOE may engage with FESI and the communities it will serve, as well as how stakeholders will engage with the foundation directly. To help identify and prioritize opportunities for DOE to engage and partner with FESI, DOE is seeking information from potential stakeholder groups including, but not limited to:
- Philanthropic and non-profit organizations
- Community stakeholders
- DOE’s National Laboratory foundations
- Potential investors in companies developing technologies aligned with the DOE mission
- Industry stakeholders, especially those representing diverse regions, sectors, and communities
- Other potential stakeholders or collaborators
“Investing in research and development – particularly as it pertains to energy – is a no-brainer. FESI is an opportunity for the Department of Energy to partner with the private sector, creating a unique opportunity for innovation,” said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “I look forward to working with my colleagues, stakeholders, and the Secretary to launch the foundation and foster new ideas and partnerships to keep America on the cutting edge of economic and technological developments.”
“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. I’m grateful that Secretary Granholm is making this a priority,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE). “Through its flexible design, FESI will accelerate the commercialization of clean energy technologies that are needed to meet our climate goals. I was proud to lead the legislation to create this foundation with Senators Graham and Lujan, and I look forward to working with the Department to support its success.”
“The U.S. must remain competitive with transformative scientific research and development by harnessing the work done at New Mexico’s Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs,” said U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM). “I’m pleased to have championed the DOE’s first foundation that prioritizes just that. FESI will promote partnerships between the public and private sectors, train the workforce, and drive innovation both in New Mexico and across the country.”
“Last year, my first bill – the bipartisan Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act – was signed into law as part of the CHIPS and Science Act to authorize the creation of the Department of Energy’s Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation,” said U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury (NM-01). “At our leading research laboratories across New Mexico and the nation, our scientists push the envelope of innovation in science and technology every day. As a former STEM educator, I’m proud that this first-of-its-kind foundation that the Department of Energy is announcing today will help boost our STEM economy, give students the tools to succeed in STEM, and bring next-generation science and technologies to the market.”
While technologies to decarbonize our economy are both available and affordable thanks in part to decades of development led by DOE, yet we need to accelerate the pace of innovation and commercialization to reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035 and a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.
The information provided through this request will help to inform DOE’s efforts to formally establish FESI, which is targeted to be completed by September 2023. This is solely a request for information and is not a Funding Opportunity Announcement, and the Department will not accept applications to this RFI. Additionally, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) will soon release a public call for qualified candidates to be vetted to serve on FESI’s inaugural Board of Directors.
Instructions for responding to this Request for Information can be found here. Responses are due no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on March 27, 2023.
Learn more about FESI and how it will complement DOE’s efforts to combat the climate crisis and enhance the nation’s energy security through a blog by Dr. Vanessa Z. Chan, Director of the DOE Office of Technology Transitions.