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Department of Energy awards an additional $150M to NREL

By Aldo Svaldi

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The U.S. Department of Energy announced a $150 million investment in the National Renewal Energy Laboratory during the dedication on Monday of a new research laboratory designed to help the country reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

That is a goal the Biden administration has set and NREL, in Golden, has been highlighted as a place where the technology needed to make that happen will be developed, including a visit by President Joe Biden last September.

“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 Granholm in a statement. “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.”

Granholm was part of a delegation, including Gov. Jared Polis and Sen. John Hickenlooper, that visited NREL to dedicate the Research and Innovation Laboratory, which will house additional lab space to support “cross-disciplinary” research on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Of the $150 million announced, $93 million will go to help modernize research infrastructure at NREL, including facilities to research sustainable aviation fuels and other advanced technologies and for NREL’s Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems research platform to study the decarbonization of the power grid, buildings, transportation and industry.

Another $57 million is slated to cover deferred maintenance and renovations at laboratory facilities, including expansions of electrical and water capacity, with the goal of helping the campus cut emissions.Polis used Granholm’s visit as an opportunity to sign three clean energy bills into law at the Colorado School of Mines. One renames the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission as the Energy and Carbon Management Commission and opens to the door to expanded geothermal electric generation in the state. Another bill allows carbon management projects to access clean air grants and a third makes it easier to use clean hydrogen as a fuel source in the state.

“From bold investments in emerging energy technologies from carbon capture to geothermal, we are making sure Colorado continues to lead on this important work,” Polis said in a separate statement.

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