Kimberly D. Rasar:
Hello.  Welcome to the Regional Clean Energy Technology Innovation Webinar, and thank you for attending.  I’m Kimberly Rasar, the associate deputy undersecretary for science and energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.

As you may know, Mission Innovation spurred interest in regional clean energy technology and innovation across the nation.  During April 2016 through September 2016, leading U.S. research universities launched a series of regional dialogues of national importance to examine the clean energy technology innovation challenges and opportunities in their regions.  We would like to thank the universities for inviting us to attend their events to learn about their regions, and for participating in today’s webinar.

The undersecretary for science and energy, Dr. Lynn Orr, will provide an overview of Mission Innovation and Regional Clean Energy Partnerships.  Dr. Orr will then turn the meeting over to Mr. Joe Hezir, the department’s chief financial officer, to start a 45-minute session that includes presentations from six universities regarding the major takeaways from their events.  The department’s principals attended 14 of these events in total.

Mr. Joe Hezir will then moderate a 25-minute discussion session with additional university representatives who also hosted regional events that are not presenting today due to time constraints.  During this session, participants can submit questions through the webinar link.  We will answer as many questions as time allows.  Closing remarks will be made by the department’s chief of staff, Mr. Kevin Knobloch.

Again, thank you for your engagement today.  And now I will turn the meeting over to Dr. Lynn Orr.

Franklin M. Orr, Jr.:
Good afternoon, everyone. It’s good to have you with us.

Thanks to all the universities who participated in the regional discussions.  I was able to attend several of them, and I found them very interesting and illuminating.

So my task here in the first few minutes is just to introduce the Mission Innovation idea and something about the way that we’re thinking about how we might approach the challenges of clean energy R&D over the next few years.  And then, as Kimberly said, we’ll move to discussions of what transpired in the university meetings.

So, if I could have the next slide, please, and then the next one.  Thank you.

Within this international context – so, if you remember, actually almost a year ago now there was the Paris Conference of the Parties meeting, in which the Paris Agreement was signed.  At the very beginning of that meeting, 20 world leaders came together to commit to seek a doubling of their energy R&D over the next five years, with the idea that this would be based – this would be invested in clean energy R&D that would help us achieve the kinds of goals that were being announced and agreed to at the Paris meeting.  Those 20 countries represent something like three-quarters of the world’s CO2 emissions from electricity and more than 80 percent of the world’s clean energy R&D, so they’re important players.  And then several more have joined the Mission Innovation effort since that time.

So, at the Department of Energy, of course, we’re thinking hard about how to attack this.  We’re about three-quarters of the energy R&D in the U.S. government, so this will be an important part of the support going forward.

And so if I could have the next slide, please.

So you might say, well, OK, what are you going to do?  And the answer, of course, is that we’re still working on all of the details of this, and no doubt will through the entire five-year period.  But we can say some obvious things.

One is that we really do need a fully stocked portfolio of work that goes all the way from the fundamental science through to the applications in specific situations, perhaps in electricity, perhaps the grid, in fossil energy applications, nuclear, and of course renewables and energy efficiency.  So we really want to work across that entire portfolio.  And we want to bring people together in interesting ways to seek innovation, and that’s been a topic that’s been much on the minds of those working on the regional energy ecosystems – innovation ecosystems that will be talked about more as we go forward today.

So if I can have the next slide, then.

I’ll just say a word about the kinds of experimentation we’ve done over the last few years in ways to bring people together on – to seek innovation that really relies on bringing multiple kinds of expertises to the table.  One of those methods has been the Energy Frontier Research Centers.  These are funded by our Office of Science.  We have 32 of these active at the moment.  They are all across the country.  If you look at the slide, you can see locations where there are EFRCs.  They’re lead institutions and partner institutions, and they’re distributed all across the country.  And they work on all kinds of things, many of them having to do with some fundamental material science question that applies to energy research.  And so they typically involve funding of $2 (million) to $3 million a year, and bring together people in interesting ways.

Next slide.

We’ve also experimented with some larger activities, the Energy Innovation Hubs.  These are in the $15 (million) to $25 million a year area.  We have several listed on this slide:  the Critical Materials Institute, for example, that works on – works on finding substitutes and supplies, and recycling those rare earths and other materials that are hard to come by.  We have a new one involving energy and water proposed in the FY ’17 budget.  There’s a group that has looked at very detailed simulation of how nuclear reactors work as a way to understand how to operate them more efficiently and to design them for future operations.  And so on:  batteries and energy storage in another one, and the grand challenge of taking sunlight and turning it into something that could be used as a fuel.  So those are – those are examples of bigger efforts.

Next slide.

We’ve also – really at a later stage in the energy application area, we’ve invested in a series of advanced manufacturing centers.  These are really looking at things like critical materials, again; things like wide-bandgap semiconductors that go in to power electronics; advanced composites; 3-D printing; those kinds of things.  Effort to make manufacturing more efficient and more able to accomplish energy objectives.

Next slide.

We’ve also invested in another way of looking at all of this, the Advanced Research Projects Agency devoted to Energy, ARPA-E.  It really focuses on early stage technologies that have some potential to make a meaningful advancement in the way we deliver or convert energy.  There’s been a lot of activity.  The project leads range from small companies to big companies to universities to national labs.  The slide shows that there have been 475 projects from a variety of open and focused solicitations, 35 new companies, lots of private-sector follow-on investments, and also some follow-on investment for further government development.  So this has been very effective.  I think we have a very successful approach at bringing people together in an interesting way.  And as we plan for the kind of growth in energy R&D funding, this is an area we’ll put some more resources into.

Next slide.

We’ve also done a variety of other things.  We’ve investigating this question of Regional Clean Energy Innovation Partnerships.  And we’ve – in our FY ’17 budget request, we have $110 million of potential support going forward.  Of course, we don’t yet have a budget for FY ’17, so we don’t have that sorted out yet.  And additional efforts in the Small Business Partnerships at our national labs and a series of National Lab Energy Technology Innovation Accelerators.  So, a variety of experimentation on ways to bring people together in interesting ways to work on hard challenges.  And to that mix we would very much like to add this effort on Regional Innovation Partnerships.

So, if you think about the potential across the nation – next slide, please.

This slide gives some indication of the various kinds of resources – biomass, wind, concentrating solar, photovoltaics, tides, hydropower and geothermal, for example.  And if you just step back and don’t focus your eyes too closely, you can kind of see that there are big color swaths across the nation that represent the fact that there are very big differences in regional energy resources that might be put to work.  There are differences in the kinds of organizations that might work together in a regional partnership.  And there are – plenty of challenges will need to be faced in each of these broad areas, so that argues for creating some regional partnerships that could investigate energy R&D questions that are relevant at that scale, that bring people together in interesting ways, and that give us an opportunity to kind of complement and leverage the support that we can organize at the national level.

Next slide.

This is just another version of the same kind of idea, that there are regional CO2 source differences that are related to different kinds of places where you might store the CO2.  And again, it’s an argument for thinking on a regional basis about where the options might exist.

So, with that, I’ll stop and say thanks again to all of you for joining us.  And I’ll turn things over to my colleague, the chief financial officer, Joe Hezir.

Joe Hezir:
All right.  Thank you, Lynn.  And thank you, all of you, for joining us today.

We want to shift now from the – kind of the talking mode here at DOE to the listening mode.  And what we – what we want to do in the next 45 minutes is kind of listen to the presentations from six of the workshops.  Unfortunately, given the time constraints we couldn’t do all of them, but we tried to pick six that we thought would be kind of generally representative of the – of the larger group.

And really our objective here is – very simply stated is information sharing.  We want to have the opportunity for some of the workshop leaders to share information that might have some cross-pollination with other workshop leaders, as well as for us at DOE here to kind of listen and learn.

And in the room here with me are a half-dozen very senior DOE managers across all the programs.  And so I’ll just mention them very quickly:  John Kelly, the deputy assistant secretary of nuclear; David Friedman, the acting assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy; Pat Hoffman, assistant secretary for electricity; Jetta Wong, the director of our Office of Technology Transitions; and Neelesh Nerurkar, who is our deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy.  So we are well-represented across all of the technology areas.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to turn to the group.  And basically we’ve asked each of the presenters to try and focus their remarks in about five to seven minutes, and tell us what they saw from their workshop in terms of key takeaways.  We’re also interested in learning more about what they’re planning as their next steps, and also we’re here to listen to any questions that they might have for us or any suggestions for what next steps DOE might take.

So our first speaker is going to be Betsy Cantwell from Arizona State University.  So I’m going to let her come on the line now and give a summary of their workshop.  Do we have her?

Ms. Rasar:
Betsy?  We’ll come back.  OK.

Mr. Hezir:
Oh, I guess we’re having a problem with the connection there.  So should we move on to the next one?  And our next presenter is Pankaj Sharma from Purdue University.  And so let me turn it over to you to kind of summarize the results of your workshop meeting.

Pankaj Sharma:
Thank you very much, Joe.  And hello.  Good afternoon, everyone.  I’m Pankaj Sharma from Purdue University.

We hosted the forum for one-and-a-half days in the month of June.  It was organized in close association with the Argonne National Lab.  We were very fortunate to have Undersecretary Dr. Lynn Orr inaugurate the event.  And the photo that you see here on the first slide is of Purdue President Mitch Daniels welcoming our event, including Undersecretary Dr. Orr; Indiana Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb; Jim Merritt, senator, Indiana, chairman of the Senate Utilities Committee.

Can I have the next slide, please?

We had over 200 attendees from eight Midwestern states.  These were participating from national labs, universities and industry.  In addition, we had participants from the Indiana State Governor’s Office.  We also had Mark Johnson from DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office and Kimberly Rasar from the Under Secretary’s Office.  We had five panels:  four scientific and technical panels were, first, energy storage; second, biomass and synthetic biology; third, critical materials and advanced manufacturing; fourth, wind energy and grid integration.  A fifth panel discussed challenges and opportunities of public-private partnerships.  In addition, we had a poster session where we had about 40 posters that were presented.  The photo that you see is the panel discussing energy storage technologies.

Next slide, please.

The current regional innovation ecosystem in the Midwest has very strong research universities, national labs and industries focused on clean energy, but there is no coordinated approach at the regional level to exploit abundant renewable resources – for example, biomass, wind and water – and develop the talent pool of the future.

Efficient energy generation and utilization has both a regional and national basis.  In order to build a broader Midwest ecosystem, the time has come to address clean energy which is most appropriate for a given geographical area and for which solutions the living laboratories to test and prove the solutions.  This is best done on a regional basis.  In our case, the region is Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

There is an opportunity and a compelling case to be made for a Midwest Regional Clean Energy Center.  The strong scientific and engineering, plus entrepreneurial and innovation capacity, in the Midwest would address the bioeconomy, wind and solar energy, advanced materials manufacturing, energy storage technology. A partnership in the Midwest could act as a lens to focus regional activities on robust and internationally relevant solutions in clean energy.

We see a number of challenges and opportunities as we move forward.  We think that it is important to speed up the transfer from discovery to development to the market, and work with industry partners to define gaps and challenges before the translation process starts.  There are challenges in carrying out work under the auspices of a public-private partnership.  These appear to be communication, intellectual property issues, and, at times, differences in culture – that is, timelines and expectations.  The universities operate on a semester basis, and our main mission is to educate the students in higher education, learning and research.  Industries operate and depend by profit on a quarterly and yearly basis.

In terms of next steps, we want to continue with the momentum and build more.  In order to do this, we think that DOE provide resources for each region for planning purposes to respond to future DOE request for proposal for Regional Innovation Centers.  These resources will allow, first, a lead organizer of the forum to work with other key stakeholders across the region to pull a team together; second, own or engage a 501(c)(3); third, hold workshops and meetings at regular intervals; fourth, set a communication infrastructure – for example, a website.  And finally, we would like to make a comment that this money is to be used for planning purposes only, not for R&D.

Thank you very much.

Mr. Hezir:
Thank you, Pankaj.  That was very helpful, and I appreciate you keeping that pretty much on time and on schedule.

I think what we’re going to do is hold any comments or questions to the end, till we get through all the speakers.  So I think next I’m going to go on to University of New Mexico and Gabriel Lopez.

Gabriel Lopez:
Great.  I hope that you can all hear me.  Good afternoon, everybody.

My name is Gabriel Lopez.  I’m from the University of New Mexico, as was indicated.  And I’d like to tell you about our Southwest Regional Energy Innovation Forum, which was held on July 5th, 2016, and focused on materials technology for clean energy.  As can be seen in the photo, we were fortunate that Secretary Moniz was able to attend, and gave important opening remarks.  Moving to the right in this picture, I see a picture of myself, President of the University of New Mexico Robert Frank, and our two senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich.  Both of these senators are highly supportive of Mission Innovation and the regional partnership concept.  We were also fortunate to host Kimberly Rasar and Melanie Kenderdine from DOE, as well as several other DOE officials.

Next slide, please.  Next slide, please.  Thank you.

So our forum included over about 140 participants from various sectors – relevant sectors, and was organized into five panels of experts.  And each panel included all of – members from all of these sectors.  The participants were from basically the Southwest Mountain Region.  And they included representatives from all major research universities in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah, as well as all the major DOE labs in the region, including Los Alamos National Lab, Sandia National Lab, NREL, and the Idaho National Lab.  So these are shown on the map.  We also had some representatives from Japan that we couldn’t show on the map as well.  I’ll get back to that in a bit.

Basically, we discussed revolutionary new approaches to clean energy production and utilization based on new materials technologies.  And the panels focused on four different technical approaches.  Hydrogen and fuel cells was one of them.  Photovoltaics was another.  Energy storage was another.  And advanced nuclear systems was the last one.  Our key takeaways with regard to opportunities and priorities were that transformative disruptive technologies will be needed to allow Mission Innovation to succeed.  And further, integrated materials research, development, translation, and commercialization is the best technological opportunity to achieve transformational clean energy.

We feel that the Southwest Region is uniquely poised technologically and geographically and is a leader in R&D for energy applications, as well as an established hub for energy materials innovation and commercialization.

Next slide, please.  

With regards to building a broader ecosystem, the Southwest Region demonstrates very strong existing and well-established public-private partnerships that can be leveraged and further enhanced.  A prime example is the $80 million smart grid in Albuquerque and smart house in Los Alamos, which were set up by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, or NEITDO.  These facilities include state-of-the-art photovoltaic, fuel cell, battery, and other equipment provided by 19 companies, including global giants such as Toshiba, Sharp and Hitachi.  The Mitsubishi Research Institute provides additional funding for the smart grid.  And these facilities are uniquely suited for implementation and pilot testing of new materials-based technologies.

Some challenges that were identified is that if we are going to realistically determine the promise of particular proposed technological advances or clear energy and reduction of carbon burden, we are going to require linkage to economic models and climate modeling capability.  Fortunately, the regional universities and the national labs are well-equipped to take on this task.

So, as far as the next steps, basically since the forum our region has been actively pursuing Mission Innovation partnership-related activities.  I won’t read the list here, but I will just emphasize that these have not been limited to the materials technologies that are focused – that our forum was focused on, namely hydrogen, photovoltaic, nuclear, and storage.

It has become clear that innovations for materials research can have transformative impacts across the wide range of the so-called all of the above clean energy approaches.  For example, these include new materials for clean renewable bioenergy and CO2 sequestration applicable to power plant emissions.  And both of these are being pursued by regional universities in collaboration with the DOE labs.  As we saw on Dr. Orr’s map, the Southwest has perhaps the most diverse portfolio of clean energy resources, so an all of above approach works for us quite well.  

Finally, to answer the question that was posed, what addition actions would we propose to DOE, at this point we need to build the momentum created by the forum.  We feel that the DOE should accept white papers for regional partnerships as soon as possible, even if these are for short-term pilot funding or for additional organization and planning.  Thank you very much.

Mr. Hezir:
Thank you, Gabriel.  Really appreciate it and appreciate your suggestion there at the end.  I think, again, we want to keep going – rolling through these presentations so we get some basic information out there.  So I think next we want to turn to Taylor Eighmy from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Taylor Eighmy:
Thank you, Joe.  And thank you, colleagues at headquarters, for your opportunities provided here for us to chat with you about this, and also for your work with us around our event back in May in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

I thought I would start my portion of this discussion by talking a little bit by what is portrayed on the first slide here.  And our area of expertise I think that we would like to focus around is this nexus of government-university-industry-national lab collaboration and this notion around rapid innovation, and this notion of accelerating tech to market.

And the logos that you see down below are all of the organizations that attended our forum back in May.  And it’s a wonderful blend of national labs, universities, large OEMs, small and medium enterprise, manufacturing operations, utilities, the investor community, the entrepreneurial community.  And we really had a wonderful event and there was a lot of discussion related to this government-university-industry-national lab model and rapid innovation and tech to market.

The three pictures shown up above are indicative of this notion of rapid innovation and tech to market.  The picture on the left is the 3-D printed Shelby Cobra.  That was made at the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge.  And it represents a six-week idea to a driving vehicle rapid innovation effort that involved many, many folks.  

The middle picture is the Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy System, or AMIE.  That was also developed at Oak Ridge, and in concert with a number of partners.  That really shows the integration of a microgrid construct that involves a structure that’s lived in or habitated in, and a vehicle that powers the house, or vice versa.  

And then the picture on the far right is the drilling and trimming tool for a Boeing 777X that was 3-D printed at Oak Ridge and is going to be used for the manufacturing of composite wing skins for 777X.  And this device is going to be used by Boeing in St. Louis.  So those are all wonderful examples of rapid innovation and the potential for actual tech to market.

Next slide, please.

Our event on May 23rd had 150 attendees from seven states.  We had six panels that included discussions with industry, with university leaders, with entrepreneurs.  We had a session – special session on graduate education.  We also focused on technology and technology adoption regionally and pathways to commercialization.  It was a wonderful full-day event.  And the takeaways that came out of our discussions that day are as follows:  We have very strong technology-based ecosystems for advanced manufacturing in the automotive, aerospace, and land-based turbine sectors.  And the Southeast is really becoming a nexus for that.  

We also have a strong ecosystem in the grid, and grid stability, cybersecurity, scaled grid, power electronics, wide-bandgap power electronics, and regional energy suppliers.  We also have one in biomaterials and carbon management, one in nuclear energy, and one in smart cities and the built environment.  We also have accelerated collaborations that are very emblematic of the government-university-industry-national lab collaboration model.  And those are two of the NNMIs – the IACMI at UT and Oak Ridge and PowerAmerica at N.C. State – plus two of the DOE hubs – the BESC for bioenergy at Oak Ridge and CASL for nuclear energy at Oak Ridge.

We have three national labs in the Southeast.  And those include Office of Science-supported special user facilities for materials characterization, high-performance computing, transportation, manufacturing, and carbon fiber.  As you can imagine, down in the Southeast we have a wonderful portfolio of engaged universities with strong records of R&D, commercialization, and collaboration, including partnerships with industry and national labs and DOE.  We have a number of utilities in the Southeast that are heavily engaged in R&D.  And we have a number of interesting association collaboratories that are really benefitting clean energy technology sectors.

We also, and in part related to our programs with our NNMIs and hubs, we are very connected to many of the large OEMs in aerospace and transportation, and to power electronics.  We also are very connected to their supply chains and to small and medium enterprises in the Southeast.  We have a very strong tech to market focus.  We’re deeply connected to the Council on Competitiveness, to Brookings, and to a number of activities in the Southeast that accelerate the development of entrepreneurs or investment or tech to market.  And we also have a very broad relationship with companies that are involved in all of these clean energy technology spaces from overseas.

Generally speaking, I think our ecosystem is looking towards the Southeast, but with some contiguous activity into the upper Midwest and the Northeast.  And it’s a broad area, but an important area for us to think about.

Next slide, please.

We see very excellent opportunities around this government-university-industry-national lab collaboration.  We have very strong ties to industry, state government, the investment community, and innovators.  We see five priorities coming out of the Southeast in advanced manufacturing and integrated grid management and power electronics, in bio-derived fuels and carbon conversion, nuclear energy, and sustainable smart communities.  We’d like to explore this challenge that if this effort does go forward that the speed of business that the federal government brings to these collaborations is looked at.  

We would like new models for collaboration amongst government, university, industry and national labs on the business side to speed up business.  And we think that there’s a lot of opportunity to move ahead around innovation, especially with accelerating the private foundation and investment components of this and the clean technology energy adopters.

Mr. Hezir:
All right.  Well, thank you very much, Taylor.  That was very interesting.  And again, I appreciate you bringing up some additional ideas that we hadn’t heard in the other presentations.

So what I’d like to do now is, again, keep rolling through the remaining ones.  And so I’d like to move on now to Michael Pomfret of University of Washington.

Michael Pomfret:
Hello and thank you the DOE for the opportunity to speak on this panel.  I’m Mike Pomfret, the assistant director of the Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington.  

On August 15th, we hosted our Regional Clean Energy Innovation Workshop with the support of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, Washington State University, Oregon State University, and the University of Oregon.  As the host organization, we represent a region that is rich in clean and renewable energy technologies.  And examples of some of those are shown on the pictures on this slide.

Next slide, please.

Our event included panelists and guests representing a variety of organizations and institutions.  The panels focused on opportunities for accelerating growth in clean energy, policies and methods to spur on our region’s leadership, ongoing innovations at research institutions, how industry is making an impact on regional and global scales, and methods for supporting the transition of technology from the labs to build an effective and successful startup company.

And then the event was bookended by keynotes by Secretary Moniz; Senator Maria Cantwell, the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; Governor Jay Inslee, who established Washington’s Clean Energy Fund here in our state; and Congressman Derek Kilmer, an advocate for clean energy.  In terms of the key takeaways, we see the future of our region’s innovation ecosystem as very promising.  There have been major startup purchases just this past summer, such as energy storage company EnerG2’s acquisition by BASF, and grid management company 1Energy Systems’ purchase by Doosan from Doosan GridTech.

Fortunately, we are further bolstered by public funds, like the Washington Clean Energy Fund and Oregon Best, as well as local organizations like the CleanTech Alliance, which partnered with Oregon Best to form the Cascadia Cleantech Accelerator, a program that’s specifically designed to help move innovations to market.  Our region also has well-established global giants with clear stakes in clean energy that are pushing innovations in sectors like information technology, transportation, grid management, construction, and electricity production.  

These private efforts combine with the work at our research institutions to make the Northwest an idea all of the above testbed for decarbonization technologies.  Furthermore, we are a natural energy gateway to both Canada, where we have well-established ties, and Asia, where some of our largest trade partners and largest consumers of U.S. coal are facing large environmental challenges.

So this new ecosystem is poised to build on some of our historical experiences, namely with issues associated with our hydroelectric infrastructure, such as land and water management and the effect that changing river flows has on local communities.  Building our ecosystem requires a road map that promotes accelerating new innovations to market.  This requires measured coordination of public funds with private investors to promote patient investing, allowing for impatient researchers to develop new technologies and transition them to market.  We must build partnerships supported by strategic distribution of funds, state-of-the-art testing facilities and energy education.

Next slide, please.

Our primary opportunity here is the creation of a decarbonization testbed.  Right now, 75 percent of our electricity already comes from carbon-free sources.  And our current projections suggest that number will hold as the region’s needs grow.  So, with that as a baseline, we established three ways that research, development and deployment partnerships can drive decarbonization towards 100 percent in our region.  So we must build and expand testbeds into national resources for clean energy systems.  A couple of examples of ongoing projects that are relevant to this include the Connected Campuses Program, the Test Transactive Energy Management between the University of Washington, Washington State University, and PNNL, and the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, which is led by Oregon State University.

We can also involve our large transportation sector through grid management that promotes electrification and the co-development of renewably sourced fuels and lightweight materials to increase fuel efficiency.  And you know, we have programs like PNNL – like the PNNL-managed LightMAT leading the way.  Finally, we can use testbed facilities for smart manufacturing development.  Here at the University of Washington, the new clean energy testbeds will have a number of focuses, one of which is the innovative fabrication of photovoltaics and energy storage systems.  And this facility is poised to partner with industrial testbed efforts, such as that being led by EnerG2.

Our second big opportunity comes from leveraging our integration with Canada and Asia.  For example, the Columbia River Treaty is already in place and is a forward-looking power-based agreement that also addresses concerns such as water-use management, navigation, and climate change.  And in Asia, another example there would be that the University of Washington has recently announced a partnership with Tsinghua University in Beijing to start a joint graduate institute focused on innovation.  

Our major challenge is the coordination of the varied interests across our vast region.  We need to establish clear focal points on areas of major impact.  And that requires participants to be cooperative, understanding, and self-critical.  We must account for both carbon-free power sources, as well as coal and oil found in the region.  You know, even though we’re talking about decarbonization, alienating that region – or, that industry is not productive.  And involving it presents opportunities to innovate in carbon capture and sequestration.  

The priority we think is quite clear.  We must have a well-structured distribution of funds, such that the money supports facilities and the institutional and industrial partnerships that must succeed to move these technologies from the lab to prototypes, and then on to fully-formed commercial products.  We need to be more exacting than simply spreading the money around.  And we need to acknowledge the regional leaders in the areas of innovation and set them up to be the go-to resources for researchers in those fields nationwide. 

In terms of planning, our next step is to develop a roadmap to align and arrange our assets that are already in place to then build off of that and achieve real, measurable decarbonization goals, again, through accelerated innovation, research development, and deployment.  Thank you.

Mr. Hezir:
All right.  Thank you, Michael.  That was very helpful.  I appreciate that.  Let’s move on to our next speaker, then, who’s Brian Anderson from West Virginia University.

Brian Anderson:
Well, Joe, thank you very much for the opportunity to discuss the Mid-Atlantic Region Energy Innovation Forum that we held just a little over two weeks ago on September 12th in Morgantown.  I have listed here a few of the partners that helped us in terms of the planning leading up to the event a couple weeks ago.  We have a collaboration between Case Western Reserve University, University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and WVU, called the Tristate University Energy Alliance.  

We also worked very closely with NETL and some of the site support contractors – Leidos, KeyLogic, Batelle – that are in the region in terms of trying to best design what our forum would look like to represent the diverse nature of our forum.  As you can see in the left picture, we were very fortunate to have Senator Joe Manchin, also on the Energy and National Resources Committee, and Congressman David McKinley from West Virginia, as well as Secretary Moniz.  Also helping us in the planning stages and then in the audience was Kimberly Rasar from DOE headquarters.  And we were very fortunate to have our moderator, Joe Hezir, on one of our panels as well.

And so next slide.

We had 112 participants who actually signed in, and a few others who walked in, from seven states within our region, plus Massachusetts and New Mexico as participants, plus D.C., so 10 different jurisdictions within the country.  And really spread out across academics, industry, government, and NGOs, because much like one of the previous speakers, Taylor from Tennessee, mentioned, it really is this nexus of the multiple organizations where we’re going to drive innovation.

So we had keynotes from our distinguished members of Congress and the secretary, plus two specific regional cooperation panels that included not just what cooperations are ongoing in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and the tristate region, but also what some of the regional challenges are for this Mid-Atlantic region as we transition to a lower-carbon energy economy.  

The topical panels, as you can see, are in areas well, first, you might expect, given the national lab NETL, the National Energy Technology Lab, in our region focusing on how we can decarbonize fossil fuels into a lower-carbon economy, and had some good speakers from industry who were really pushing the envelope there.  And then followed by innovation opportunities in some other clean energy technologies, specifically advanced manufacturing, nuclear energy, smart manufacturing, and geothermal and other clean energy technologies.

But we wanted to take a little bit of a different route in terms of our panels, and not just focus on technologies but look at the policy framework as well as the investment and commercialization ecosystems for the region.  So some of our key takeaways for this Mid-Atlantic Region, which spans a very diverse set of states from Kentucky through New Jersey, is that we’re really a tale of two sub-regions across this Mid-Atlantic Region.  

However, they’re tied together by infrastructure, in particular the PJM interconnection.  The PJM interconnection serves about 61 million customers across really what is this same region and the region has a population of about 55 million – where most of the energy resources are to the west, and then a lot more demand to the east where the population centers are around the East Coast.  And so one of our challenges is getting this diverse region tied together and coordinating across that entire eight-state region.

So next slide.

So some of the opportunities – again, I mentioned it’s a very large and diverse region.  But what’s great is that there are engaged stakeholders from all the different sectors – the NGO, private sector, academics, as well as the national labs and government sectors.  So we identified really these five key priority innovation focus areas on the technical side.  One, as one might expect with a region that includes West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Ohio, would be on clean fossil and how to advance technologies in both coal power generation as well as natural gas utilization.  We have a lot of strength in the region in that area.

But then this also brings into consideration the need for grid modernization as we move the – transition the transportation sector into a more electrified transportation sector that we need to have a key focus on grid modernization.  Energy efficiency is one area across this region that there’s quite a bit of strength, with the Penn State former hub and building efficiency innovations, as well as a group out of Pittsburgh called Sustainable Pittsburgh, and the Power of 32, working specifically in energy efficiency.  There’s historical and current strength in nuclear energy with the second national lab, two of three, in our region, with Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and smart manufacturing, the NNMIs and America Makes, IACMI and then the recently awarded Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition led smart manufacturing NNMI.  So, there are currently, you know, quite a few challenges, one being that a metallurgical demonstration of these clean-fossil technologies, it does cost hundreds of millions of dollars, so that’s a major challenge.  But there’s also the diverse region with broad priority areas.

So, our next steps, we have a number of events that are coming up that we’ve been coordinating already.  One in the area of grid hosted at the University of Pittsburgh, one in storage at Case Western, natural gas utilization in collaboration with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in Morgantown, and then moving forward developing some sub-regional consortia that tie together in developing a road map across the entire region.  So, thank you all for your time and I look forward to any questions.

Mr. Hezir:
Thank you, Brian.  And I think we will have some questions and discussions here in the next section.

But let me go back then.  Our first speaker was to be Betsy Cantwell from Arizona State University.  We weren’t able to get her on the line initially.  I guess the question is, is she now there?  If so, let’s go to your presentation.

Betsy Cantwell:
I am here, can you hear me?

Mr. Hezir:

Ms. Cantwell:
Awesome, thank you.  I’m Betsy Cantwell, I’m the vice president for research development at ASU.  And I’m going to talk to you about a meeting that we held on September 8th, really focused on the water-energy nexus.  Again, another meeting in the Southwest focused on a critical sustainability issue.

Next slide, please?  Can I see the next slide, please?  Thank you.

So, we had a number of states, all of whom have real interest in this issue:  Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah.  I think uniquely we’ve brought some of our tribal partners to the table, into a specific panel focused on their perspective.  So we had the Gila River Indian community, the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and representation not only from the governance in the Navajo Nation, but also from the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.  We actually had five national labs, and I want to add that we had Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Sandia and NREL, and also Idaho National Lab with whom many of us have partnered around water and energy issues, the utilities, universities and a number of major industry leaders. 

I want to say we hosted Deputy Secretary Liz Sherwood-Randall and that was very interesting for all of us.  She really brought a lot to the table.  And I’ll point out that Senator Jeff Flake could not attend, but he is keenly, keenly, personally interested in the challenges at the water-energy nexus in the Southwest.

So, I think I’ve addressed this, but the greatest threat and our key takeaway to Southwestern regional stability is at the intersection of water and energy in both directions.  In other words, the use of water for energy generation, whether it’s coal extraction, fracking, hydropower, nuclear, biofuels, et cetera, and the use of energy for water most notably represented by the costs in energy to deliver water through ways, often very arid portions of our region. 

So, our ecosystem is well-established.  We had panels in all of the following areas.  We certainly have advanced technology expertise via the broad swath of national labs and universities throughout the region.  I think this is true for every true regional consortium.  We have regulatory knowledge.  And perhaps uniquely, but our regulators across both the energy sector and the water sector throughout this region are very, very willing to come to the table and partner with us.  The challenges, as I’ll talk about on the next page, are really substantial, so we need them to partner.  And then we have major industry centers with an interest in energy water, especially for manufacturing.

I just want to point out we’ve done a number of surveys of our manufacturers throughout this region in the last year or so, concentrated specifically on their challenges associated with water for energy within their manufacturing construct, and have some very interesting and very forceful answers about what a challenge that is for them.

Next slide, please. 

Opportunities and priorities.  Technically, both wastewater or water reuse and desalinization are major R&D goals for the water supply challenges that we see for our region in the future.  I want to point out we have in Arizona the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station which is a very interesting example of water reuse for major energy generation and capacity.  Continued use of existing infrastructure more efficiently is something that we talked about a lot, looking at cross-boundary issues. 

We’ve done – also in this region we have focused a lot across all of these states on what are the behavioral challenges.  In other words, how do we ensure that our citizenry is part of the set of solutions that we think we want to instantiate in making the region more sustainable from an energy and water perspective.  So, we’ve done a lot of surveys in that area and those were presented at this meeting.

Integrating low-water-use technologies in a testbed sense.  In other words, how does one understand across all the testbed capacity in the region, which is substantial, how to integrate from a systems perspective, what are the best solutions.  And then perhaps, obviously, we have a number of R&D centers in advancing solar and microgrids, and those storage capacities will be critical to the intermittencies that we see in the kinds of renewable energy deployment that we’ll be seeing growing across our region.

The challenges that I’m going to ‒ I’m going to focus these challenges for your verbally in terms of what large-scale or government-driven public-private partnerships can do.  Because the challenges on the industry side that we hear a lot are, we’re making progress in water-neutral policy use, but progressing from water to energy and being able to link them in innovative ways that actually make a larger-scale difference is challenging from the perspective of federal regulation or other regulatory structures.  The same thing is true in governance, not just for utilities, but where utilities cross boundaries with one another, where there are major centralized efforts that the decentralization of which would allow much more innovation.  So, all of those bespeak a construct where we can gather together.  We are planning to do that and starting to do that, so I’ll just go through our next steps.

We think and all feel that real change is possible at certainly the municipal and the tribal level.  Regional participants are coming together again in three kind of separate constructs, one around data sharing – and we’re looking at both water and food in terms of regional data sharing, some in the context of regional testbed assets and how we bring them all together, and then shared technology development opportunities where we can look at systems developments that will allow us to actually make concentrated differences in how much and how fast we move at this energy-water nexus.

That’s it.  Thank you very much for the opportunity.

Mr. Hezir:
OK, great.  Thank you, Betsy, appreciate that.  

And I appreciate all the speakers pretty much staying on time, which really is very helpful for us because I think it now gives us about 30 minutes for some open discussion and dialogue.  And so, what I would like to do, we have gotten a few questions that have come in during the course of the presentations.  There’s two that are kind of very general that I want to address up front, and then maybe open it up for other comments or questions on the line.

So, let me start off by mentioning two questions that came in, one of which ‒ the first one I’ll read to you.  It says, must regional partnership white papers be within the currently defined region as presented or any contiguous states as described in other materials?  And I think this is referring to a question about whether there would be follow-on white papers from these regional sessions.

And let me just say, I think from the department’s perspective, we see this notion of regional partnerships as being really a ‒ kind of a self-organizing proposition.  So, we are not approaching it with any ‒ I mean, as Lynn Orr showed you, I mean, there ‒ if you look at energy resources, there are some very clear delineations, but we have no preconceived notions about what constitutes a region.  And in fact, we would be very interested in getting some inputs from participants as to what their thinking would be as to how to define and what the criteria might be for a multistate region.

The second question I want to address really gets to the budget.  And the question is as follows:  Is the 110 million (dollars) in the FY 2017 budget for use only in FY ’17 for startup or for a multiyear effort?  If one year, what is the anticipated stable annual budget?  The answer to that question is, the $110 million that we’ve put into the FY 2017 budget was intended really to be the startup year assuming that we would have a large number of regional partnerships.  And I think we’ve indicated that we were thinking of potential scale, just to give you some idea, of up to 10 regions nationwide.  And we really are thinking that if this program really does get started and supported by Congress and it does really begin to take off that we would see the annual funding level scale up to, I’ll just say, multiples of the $110 million.  Because, again, I think ‒ and it would all depend as well on the types of portfolios that the partnerships would put forward obviously.  But I think given the kind of scale that we’re talking about, we would see this as growing into a much larger program over time. 

So, let’s see.  I think what I’d like to do then ‒ now, we have a few other questions, but rather than go to those, I think I’d like to open it up for any other comments or questions among the group.  And let me just say as a kind of ‒ as a way to kind of tee this up, I think that one of the things I think that at least I think we’ve heard at this end from these presentations is that there’s a lot of commonality in two respects.
Even though there’s a lot of significant differences, there’s two common themes, one being one of collaborations and the other being sort of the theme of cross-cutting technology areas, which is something for DOE – I think Lynn Orr talked a little bit about the work we’re doing in promoting collaborations through hubs and centers.  But, you know, given our organization and funding, we have a hard time institutionally in dealing with some of these cross-cutting issues.  And that’s where we see the regional partnerships potentially playing an important role.

But I think the key question is one of whether there are synergistic synergies in terms of forming broader regional partnerships. Can we actually do things at a larger scale?  Can we do things faster or better, et cetera?  And so I would throw that out as kind of a general question that – one that we would like to hear more input of and more discussion of from the participants.

We’d also welcome as well any of the other eight university hosts if they want to add any other comments based on their own workshops that we didn’t have a chance to go through in the presentations today.  So let me ask Kimberly, then, how do we begin to – can we allow others to make any comments?

Ms. Rasar:
Yes.  If someone wishes to make a comment, they can use the Web link, the webinar link, and send a note to Heidi, and it will let our folks know to unmute them so that they can speak.

Mr. Hezir:
All right.  While we’re waiting for that, I do have one other question that we’ll bring up.  And this is actually not a question for DOE, but this is a question for our colleague from Purdue, Pankaj.  And the question that came in from one of the participants was the Midwest has the largest U.S. nuclear portfolio, and why was nuclear not considered in your workshop meeting scope?

Mr. Sharma:
We worked with a number of people, including from Argonne National Lab.  We started defining some of the focus areas.  Certainly other areas could be considered.  But when we started planning, that topic did not bubble up.  But certainly they are the examples of topics we picked up when we started planning for this thing on short notice.  So other topics could be included as we – as we form these partnerships to include more people and so forth.  So certainly excluding nuclear was not an idea that this topic is not important, but certainly it could be included in future activities.

Mr. Hezir:
OK, we have some other questions that have come in in the meantime.  And one of them has to do with small business and our Small Business Research Program.  And this may be a question – I’m going to turn to somebody here at the DOE table to answer.  The question is, how can we link our SBIR-funded projects with regional partnerships?  Anybody here want to try and take that one on?

Jetta Wong:
Sure.  This is Jetta Wong from the Office of Technology Transitions.  And I think that there are a lot of opportunities to linking the SBIR award winners to partnerships and things.  What we would love to understand is how those small businesses are already working in communities, and trying to replicate that across the country if there are best practices.  So those are some of the things that we’re looking at, and I think that there are opportunities for the SBIR award winners to do that.

I would add – this is David Friedman, assistant secretary for EERE, in the acting role.

So we have a program called Small Business Voucher, which is a little different than SBIR.  And it’s really focused on connecting small businesses to the amazing resources of our national labs.  And certainly one thing that’s important to us is expanding the network of folks who are engaged with that.  We want new folks who haven’t been working with the national labs before to be engaged with that.

One thing I would say is certainly while the regional partnerships aren’t intended to center on any national labs, I would see the national labs and the Small Business Voucher programs being great resources over time if we’re able to get these up and running, because, again, we want to make sure that the regional partnerships are able to take advantage of those great national-lab resources.

Mr. Hezir:
OK. Let me go on, then, to another question that came in.  And this was related to a point that I think was brought up in Brian Anderson’s presentation from West Virginia.  The question is, WVU mentioned that the mid-Atlantic workshop included policy frameworks and business perspectives unique to energy in their region.  To what extent will regional innovation approaches, as conceived by the programs, include regional policy and investment considerations?

So let me – I will say something on it, and maybe I’m going to ask Lynn Orr to also comment on it.  I would say that we would see that policy – I’ll call it policy innovation – is an important adjunct to technology innovation.  And so we would see that as being an important element of a regional partnership.

Also, clearly we need to think not only about the early-stage research, but also, you know, the commercialization stage and the tech to market.  I think if – as far as the DOE role, the DOE funding role may be more limited in those areas, but we would want to encourage – this is one area where we think that a partnership could draw in other non-federal resources to help promote those activities.  And we would definitely see those as part of a fully integrated program portfolio.

Lynn or Jetta, do you want to add anything to that?

Mr. Orr:
Yeah.  I could just say that you can think of lots of examples; for example, the way the electricity markets work, particularly thinking about questions of storage and ancillary services and integrating renewables; same thing for the connections between energy and water.  They’re regulated in very different ways, and yet they have connections that make them linked complex systems.

There are just a lot of pieces of the way we supply and use energy that we need to think about as we reorganize the energy markets going forward in this big grand transition that we have underway.  So, now, as Joe Hezir said, there may be challenges.  Depending on how the money gets appropriated, there may be some limits on how we do this.  So that just has to be worked out as we go forward.  But that’s a place where the kind of leverage that can come from bringing together organizations with multiple sources of support and a variety of participants to tackle some things that we really do need to work on.

Ms. Wong:
And I would add that as we’ve been looking at the different kinds of innovation ecosystems across the country and continue to study those kinds of activities, we have found that there are investors that are interested in engaging in regional activities.

One thing we’ve learned from our Clean Energy Investment Center is that we have investors across the country, and they are interested in getting back into the energy world.  We just need to understand how to provide some kind of connectivity for them.  And partnerships that are really from the ground up may be an opportunity for that.  But we’re still studying that as part of the activity.

Mr. Hezir:
Thank you.

Let’s see what else we have here in terms of questions.  We’ve gotten a similar question.  And, Lynn, I’m going to refer this to you again, but similar to the last question.  That is, when you look at the potential for regional technology innovation partnerships, where along the development continuum do you see the sweet spot for these partnerships?  Namely, how do you look at commercialization activities relative to R&D?

Mr. Orr:
Yeah, that’s a good question.  And there’s no single simple answer here.  One of the things that we, I think – I hope will happen is that this provides another bit of connectivity between the research-based institutions, like universities and national labs, and companies, both small and large, that can take those ideas and move them into the marketplace.

So I wouldn’t want to specify any particular technology limit readiness level in the universal TRL language that we sometimes use, just because we’re really looking to make interesting connections across those disciplines.  But we have big resources on the science side and on the side of applications, and we should look for ways to bring those together.

Mr. Hezir:
I’ve got a very, very specific question here, and this one may be really a question I’m going to ask Brian Anderson to answer.  We’ve got a question from somebody representing the state of Delaware and wanting to know why they were not part of the mid-Atlantic region, and how do they go about getting included?

Mr. Anderson:
Well, Joe, actually we did invite some folks from Delaware.  They just didn’t make it.  So the list were the people that actually were able to make it.  So, yes, in fact, Delaware is absolutely part of it.  And as a matter of fact, this morning, in conversations with some of our co-organizers within NTL, is that over the next week or so we’re going to connect directly between the University of Delaware and West Virginia.

Since I have my mic on, I might actually chime in as well on what we were envisioning in terms of the ecosystem that includes policy and commercialization is that what we want to build is the connective tissue all the way across the TRL level that does not just include the science and innovation, but also some of the other policy levers and levers that the DOE has that includes loan-guarantee programs and things like that where there are touch points all the way across the commercialization ecosystem in order to get things all the way fully into the market.  And so that’s just a takeoff of, Joe, your and Lynn Orr’s comments earlier.

Mr. Hezir:
Thank you, Brian.

I would just also add we did have a(n) event that was sponsored by the University of Delaware.  It was on the list.  It was also kind of a – it was a lab day event, as I recall, and Secretary Moniz did participate there.  And I know there was a lot of interest at the university in looking for some follow-up activities for collaboration.  And so maybe we can find a way to link that.

I guess what I’d like to do – we’re down to maybe about 10 minutes left in the – in our time.  And as I mentioned, there were eight other university workshops we didn’t have a chance to get in in terms of having full presentations, but I believe that they are connected.  And I would just want to ask if representatives of any of the other eight want to chime in at this point and add any comments or questions for the group.  And I guess we need to find out how we do that.  OK.  (Pause.)  We’re having trouble connecting.  All right.  Well, we’re going to try and do that.  While we do that, let me go to another question that came in to us.  This is a very technology-specific question, and I’m going to ask Dave Friedman to answer this.  Shallow geothermal energy systems seem very promising.  How much shallow geothermal energy is in terms of its importance to DOE?

Mr. Friedman:
Well, I mean, broadly, geothermal energy is incredibly important to us.  A lot of our focus has been on enhanced geothermal efforts.  So, I’ll admit I’m not sure what your definition of shallow or not is.  Certainly, there’s hydrothermal resources, and I think we know how to do that.  That’s – (inaudible, background noise).  When it comes to extracting even more and more broadly across the country, we’ve got our effort under FORGE to really help open the ground when it comes to our ability to access geothermal resources much more broadly across the United States.  I think geothermal can play a great role when it comes to baseload, because we know that with many of the other renewable resources that can be a challenge, is they to be intermittent, but geothermal is fantastic for baseload, and hydrothermal is great as well for heating options.

Mr. Anderson:
David, I’m sorry to interject.  This is Brian Anderson again.  But also, keep in mind the shallow geothermal heat pump program is under the Building Technologies Office, and then – because, you know, it’s really a building technology, in addition to the geothermal for primary source of heat.  So, that’s a major component of the building program.

Mr. Hezir:
Right.  Thank you.  Do we have anybody else on the line, then, who wants to – from the other workshops who want to add any comments?

Ms. Rasar:
And a note was just passed to me saying that if – we can only unmute if the full participant logged in properly with your individual PIN number.  (Laughter.)  

Mr. Hezir:
That could be a problem.  (Laughter.)  All right, while we’re waiting on that, let’s see if we have any other questions here we want to address.  

Yes, we have question here that came in regarding the secretary’s testimony.  It said:  In his testimony, Secretary Moniz stipulated that one main purpose of Mission Innovation is to substantially increase the number of investable opportunities in the energy space.  Implicit in this is commercialization.  Can staff comment on the continuum of TRL 1 through TRL 9 for this program as it pertains to enabling commercially viable technologies within the span of this program duration?  

Interesting question.  Again, it kind of touches on some of the things we talked about earlier.  Lynn, do you want to make a few comments on that?

Mr. Orr:
Yeah, sure, I’ll try.  So there are two parts to investable opportunities.  There’s the ideas and the research that lead to what we might think is the investable opportunity, and then there’s the investor on the other side.  And so, that requires a certain coming together.  One of the things that we’ve done, for example, in the ARPA-E program is pay a lot of attention to working with the teams that are working on ARPA-E projects to think about what the market might be, what the market might need, what kinds of things would need to be done in addition to the proof of concept of – that they’re working on, in order to make that transition.  So, we can work on that transition side.  

And again, at the other end is the investor.  Now, there has been some interest in potential investors that are – (inaudible) – formation of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.  They’re still in – formulating how they might do this, but they’ve said, for example, that they were willing to be patient capital in a sense of understanding that it can take both time and effort to move through the TRL levels, but there will be other investors to have – who want to enter at a particular level and have their own interest.  So, I think that the objective we would have throughout this is to make that spectrum be available to a variety of investors as we go along.

Mr. Hezir:
Thank you, Lynn.  All right, I have another – it’s actually not a question.  It’s phrased as a comment, but it’s kind of a very interesting comment here on the grid.  I’m going to read it and ask Pat Hoffman, that maybe she might want to comment on it further.  The comment is stated as follows.  It says:  New grid systems and regulatory knowledge seem to have a central and backbone role in the future of energy R&D development.  This could be a theme for national security as well on a new type of public-private and intergovernmental engagement we haven’t seen before, especially for large demonstration – large technological-scale demonstration.  Distribution of complexity remain a concern for national level designs. 

So, there’s kind a lot of thoughts packed into that comment.  And, Pat, do you want to comment further on that?

Ms. Hoffman:
So, yes, Joe.  Thank you for the comment.  There is a lot of stuff wrapped up in that.  I’ll break it apart in saying that the regulatory engagement, of whether it’s a security aspect or the evolution of the distribution system, is going to be very fundamental as we look at the distribution, you know, system operator, looking at the platform provider as a distribution system, which will be the connection point for the Internet of Things or multiple, you know, devices and technologies, which will make the grid valuable from that perspective, from a visibility and able to coordinate.  But likewise, the security has to be built in, which provides a huge opportunity to really do a gamechanger from a security landscape as we move forward.  So, those are just some of the thoughts on top of that.

Mr. Hezir:
OK.  Thanks, Pat.  The other thing I would just add to what Pat said:  Separately, right now, the department is engaged in what we’re calling the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review, looking at the electricity sector in its entirety.  And the comment that was raised I thought was very interesting because it gets to the heart of some of the issues that we’re currently working on in the QER process, and I think you will see some of that work released here in the very near future.  

Mr. Orr:
Yeah, I can just add a comment.  This is Lynn Orr.  If you think about the advances that have been made already in sensors, the advances that we’re working on in wideband-gap semiconductors and solid state transformers, the advances that have – that think about the architecture of the system and questions of how the communications are handled, there just is a wealth of opportunities for making the grid be more efficient, making it be more resilient when we have problems caused by weather or storms or something else.  And this is an area that can underpin absolutely everything else we do in the economy.  So, it really is an important area of effort for all of us.

Mr. Hezir:
OK.  Thanks, Lynn.  

I want to read one other question I think is kind of important.  Then we’ll kind of wrap up.

Last question is this:  To what extent can partnerships with other federal agencies be explored on a regional basis?  And the examples are given here:  EPA regions, USDA, DOT, et cetera.  And let me comment on it, and maybe, Lynn, you may want to add to it as well.  I think in our thinking within DOE about regional partnerships, we were thinking that other federal agencies and other federally supported programs and entities would be part of and should be part of a regional partnership.  I think, for example, the questioner mentions USDA, and clearly USDA is funding a lot of work that I think would be directly related to some of the work that DOE funds in the bioenergy area.  Another area that I think there’s a very strong connection is in transportation, in transportation systems between some of the work being done by DOT as well as some of the work being done in our own vehicle and transportation programs at DOE.  And even in – even at the laboratory level, I think there’s opportunities there.  For example, we’ve had one case come up where one of the NASA laboratories was expressing some interest in how they could be part of and reach out and collaborate, because they were looking at some of the work that we were funding and seeing potential synergies there.

So, with that, I’m going to have to probably stop the Q&A here, and I’m going to turn this over to Kevin Knobloch, who’s our departmental chief of staff, for any closing comments.

Kevin Knobloch:
Well, thank you, Joe, and thank you, Lynn.  Thank you to all the presenters and all of you who have taken time to listen in today or ask questions.

This has been really fascinating to me.  I didn’t get to go to the regional meetings.  We’ve really heard from a tremendous spectrum of the robust opportunities that are facing regions across the country in clean energy and technology innovation space.  And what really jumped out at me is we’ve heard why innovation clusters at the regional level really make sense.  You know, we heard from the Midwest folks:  energy storage, biomass, wind and grid integration pop up as high-priority areas of focus and areas of strength.  In the Mid-Atlantic, low-carbon fossil, fuel cells, CCUS.  In the Southwest, the water-energy nexus, and advanced materials.  In the Northwest, computing, large data analytics, and energy efficiency.  And then in the Southeast, advanced manufacturing, nuclear energy.  And I know that’s not – that’s not comprehensive and – but it really – you can – you can hear the strengths as people from each of these regions talk about their regions.  And as I say, this underscores the importance of knowing the needs and strengths of specific regions, and the diversity within the regions, as we heard from the Mid-Atlantic region, for example, as we do this critical work of accelerating the transition to a low-carbon 21st century energy economy through innovation.  

We also heard about the importance of partnerships, as universities, national labs, private companies, corporations, and public sector leaders come together and came together through these meetings – quite naturally, it seemed – and of course, very enthusiastically.

And then, the last thing that really struck me was the themes of – sort of dynamic – that this is a dynamic moment.  People talked about either in their comments or in their slides a real sense of urgency, the need to accelerate a renaissance in clean energy, revolutionary new approaches to clean energy production, transformative disruptive technologies, rapid innovation, accelerating tech to market.  In those – in that collection of verbs, there is very much a sense of exciting movement.  

So, with that, let me just close with a few next steps.  Today’s presentations, as well as the presentations that were provided to us by the universities that weren’t able to present today – we didn’t have the time for them to present, but they nonetheless provided presentations – we will put those up on our website.  The URL for the website is on the slide, which you should be able to see.  In the very short future we will be publishing a two-volume report, the first a summary of the insights from participation in the university-hosted events.  We’re calling it “Exploring Regional Opportunities for Clean Energy Technology Innovation,” through the spring and summer of ’16.  And volume two will be a compilation of the individual universities’ reports for each of these events.  We’re working to build a tool on the website that will enable all of you to continue to provide comments regarding regional clean energy technology innovation.  And of course, we very much look forward to continuing to engage you.  You’ve heard from and, I think, are coming to know a lot of the senior leadership here engaged in this initiative, and we very much want you to stay in touch and for this conversation to continue.  So, thank you again for taking the time to be with us today, and this concludes the webinar.