The $7.49 million Community Energy Innovation Prize is the successor of two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) prizes related to community-based clean energy innovation: the Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize and the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize.
The goals of this new combined prize are to support community-based organizations, the private sector, nonfederal government entities, and collegiate teams in developing and carrying out activities related to clean energy that enable business and technology incubation and acceleration as well as other community-based capacity building, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
The Community Energy Innovation Prize is made up of three tracks: the Clean Energy Ecosystem Track, the Manufacturing Ecosystem Track, and the Collegiate Track, each of which has distinct goals and submission requirements over three phases: CONCEPT, PROGRESS, and IMPACT. In addition to prize awards, winning teams in all three tracks will receive in-kind mentorship and other support services.
The prize is part of the government’s Justice40 Initiative—a plan to deliver 40% of climate investment benefits to disadvantaged communities and inform equitable research, development, and deployment within federal agencies. Through its three tracks, the prize will serve to inspire and mentor collegiate students; bolster grassroots community organizations; and accelerate innovation in the manufacturing sector, in alignment with a new White House strategy aimed at growing the economy, creating jobs, enhancing sustainability, strengthening supply chains, and ensuring national security.
The Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks are open only to private entities (for-profits and nonprofits); nonfederal government entities such as states, counties, tribes, and municipalities; academic institutions; and individuals. Collegiate Track teams must be made up of an academic institution, eligible students, and a community partner that meets the eligibility requirements. Diverse, interdisciplinary, well-rounded teams are highly encouraged, and both U.S. and non-U.S. institutions and students are welcome to apply, but non-U.S. institutions must partner with a U.S.-accredited institution to participate. View complete eligibility requirements for all three tracks in the official prize rules.
The Community Energy Innovation Prize was established by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED), and Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO). The prize is part of the American-Made family of prizes and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).