Last week, President Obama visited an advanced battery factory in Jacksonville, Florida. As part of the clean-energy revolution that’s creating jobs and making our planet safer and more secure at the same time, this factory makes cutting edge energy-storage technology that will continue to help integrate new power sources into the electric grid. This week, American clean-energy leadership is also on display at the annual summit of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Over the past seven years, ARPA-E has invested in 475 transformative energy technologies that have secured over $1.25 billion in cumulative follow-on funding from the private sector.
These milestones were made possible seven years ago, when President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). Not only did the Recovery Act stimulate the economy and raise GDP by an estimated 2-3 percent following the depths of the Great Recession, but it also made the largest single investment in clean energy in history, providing more than $90 billion in strategic clean-energy investments and tax incentives to accelerate job creation and the deployment of low-carbon technologies.
This historic investment toward a 21st century clean-energy economy included the seed funding for ARPA-E, a new agency within DOE with the mission to advance potentially transformational energy technologies that are too early in their development to attract private-sector investment. ARPA-E’s projects, many on display this week at the annual summit, include entirely new ways to generate, store, transform, and use energy – from an airborne wind turbine that transmits electricity from the sky; to liquid-flow batteries that provide grid storage and flexibility; to bio-engineered organisms that can make fuel directly from electricity, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide.
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