WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $60 million in funding for its largest-ever cohort of university-based Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs), which assist small- and medium-sized manufacturers in reducing their carbon emissions and lowering energy costs, while training the next generation of energy-efficiency workers. The groundbreaking investment will help remove barriers to decarbonization across the manufacturing sector and advance the Biden Administration’s goal of achieving a clean energy economy.
“America’s best and brightest university students are successfully helping local manufacturers reduce pollution, save energy, and cut their electricity bills,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE’s university-based Industrial Assessment Centers are assisting small- and medium-sized businesses – particularly those in disadvantaged and underrepresented communities – in the transition to a clean energy economy, building the next-generation energy workforce, and propelling America toward a carbon-free future by 2050.”
This new cohort of IACs at 32 universities will focus on improving productivity, enhancing cybersecurity, promoting resiliency planning, and providing trainings to entities located in disadvantaged communities. The cohort will also engage in a new pilot project to expand to the commercial building market. As part of the pilot, selected IACs will partner with community colleges and technical programs to train diverse students and professionals to conduct energy-efficiency assessments of small to medium-sized buildings, including those located in disadvantaged communities.
To date, the IACs program, one of DOE’s longest-running programs managed by the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), has provided nearly 20,000 no-cost assessments for small- and medium-sized manufacturers and more than 147,000 recommendations for improvement measures. Assessments typically identify more than $130,000 in potential annual savings opportunities.
“West Virginia University continues to represent the Mountain State at the highest levels, and I am pleased WVU has been selected yet again to help small and medium-sized manufacturers across America lower their energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while remaining globally competitive,” said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Today’s announcement is further acknowledgment of WVU’s groundbreaking engineering programs, world-class students and first-rate faculty. Investments like this will provide students with more opportunities, ensuring that the next generation is equipped with the skills and training necessary to keep West Virginia on the cutting edge of innovation.”
“This is great news for Connecticut's environment and economy. UCONN's work as one of the U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Assessment Centers will help local manufacturers cut emissions and energy costs while training the future generation of engineers, and I'm glad to see Connecticut as part of this major investment in clean energy," said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.
“Michigan State University is a world-class institution and a global leader in groundbreaking discoveries that are not only saving lives but creating jobs. Today’s announcement reaffirms how MSU will continue playing a key role in innovations that will help manufacturers save costs and reduce their carbon footprint,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. “Whether it is training the next generation of students for the energy efficiency workforce, towards building resilient infrastructure or expanding advanced manufacturing capabilities, this announcement will further ensure that Michigan can continue building back better.”
“Arizona helps lead our nation’s energy innovation, and I am so proud that Arizona State University is training the next generation of engineers to fuel productivity, lower emissions and costs, and strengthen American security,” said U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
"The Colorado School of Mines is a leader here in Colorado and across the country and the world for their research and work to advance knowledge in the areas of renewable energy sources and technology, advanced water treatment, high-performance computing, and more,” said U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter (CO-07). “I'm pleased to see the institution chosen as an Industrial Assessment Center to work with small and medium-sized businesses and their employees to become more sustainable, efficient and resilient."
“I’m thrilled that the Department of Energy has chosen to invest in the University of Louisville and its students, selecting it as one of the newest sites for an Industrial Assessment Center,” said U.S. Representative John Yarmuth (KY-03). “The IAC program provides an immense value to students and businesses alike, harnessing the talent of our brightest minds to tackle the energy, environmental, and economic challenges of tomorrow. I’m so proud to support this effort and to know that Louisville will play such an important role in continuing to build the clean energy economy of the future.”
“I am proud to celebrate the Department of Energy’s selection of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as an Industrial Assessment Center for their 2021-2023 cohort,” said U.S. Representative Alma Adams (NC-12). “UNC Charlotte is the second-largest university in North Carolina, and over 5,000,000 people live within the 150 mile service radius of the IAC. Our community has the potential to realize important benefits from this partnership, including cost-saving energy efficiency assessments for small- and medium-sized manufacturers. With the environmental and financial benefits provided by the IAC, the future of manufacturing in North Carolina looks UNCC green!”
“We always say the next generation of Louisianans is one of our state’s best assets and this investment backs this up," said U.S. Representative Garret Graves (LA-06). "When we use opportunities such as this one, we have the chance to take LSU’s College of Engineering to the next level. Through this program, LSU engineering students will be able to gain incredible real-world experience – bolstering their skills for a potential job while helping to bring down energy costs for Louisiana’s manufacturers, reducing emissions and increasing efficiency. This is a win-win-win for our students, workforce, and South Louisiana communities.”
"The University of Washington has a long record of being a local, national, and global leader on developing the scientific innovations necessary to aggressively take on climate change," said U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07). "I am grateful that the Biden-Harris Administration is prioritizing climate action while immediately centering environmental justice and investing in our institutions of higher education so they can lead the way in protecting our planet for generations to come. I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to create green jobs, achieve a renewable energy future, and guarantee clean air, safe drinking water, and public lands for all."
"Lehigh University is nationally recognized for its excellence in research and leading innovations, and this selection as an Industrial Assessment Center reflects its strength as an institution and commitment to our community,” said U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-07). “This choice will allow Lehigh to continue and expand upon its work to create jobs, reduce emissions, and promote sustainability among our manufacturers. I'm thrilled that a pillar of the Greater Lehigh Valley is getting the recognition it deserves from the Department of Energy."
"I am pleased that the Department of Energy has selected Mississippi State University to be a university-based Industrial Assessment Center,” said U.S. Representative Michael Guest (MS-03). “MSU is a trusted leader in energy issues and has a longstanding history of working successfully with the Department on these critical matters. I know that MSU will bring tremendous value to this effort."
“At a time when our region faces so many workforce challenges, establishing an Industrial Assessment Center at Louisiana Tech will not only help get more of our citizens on the job, it will also make major long term contributions to the Fifth District,” said U.S. Representative Julia Letlow (LA-05).
Read the full list of awarded universities.
Visit the Industrial Assessment Centers website to learn more about the program. A collection of all publicly available assessment and recommendation data is available online in the IAC Database and the database can be searched by industry type, company size, date, products, and energy costs.
This announcement is part of DOE’s 2021 Future of Manufacturing campaign. For more information on DOE’s commitment to creating a resilient American manufacturing future that supports economy-wide decarbonization, and to join the conversation, visit the AMO website.