Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sanctioned up to $50 million to introduce a new milestone-centered fusion development program approved by the Energy Act of 2020.
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This DOE program will aid for-profit organizations that may partner with universities, national labs, and others to develop significant technical and commercialization milestones toward the fruitful designing of a fusion pilot plant (FPP) that will help take fusion toward technical and commercial practicality.
The program is inspired by the latest reports from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee; community workshops; and input from private industry.
The DOE Deputy Secretary David Turk discussed introducing this program in his opening statements at a fusion showcase program at the Global Clean Energy Action Forum held in Pittsburgh.
Fusion holds the promise of being an on-demand, safe, abundant source of carbon-free primary energy and electricity, with the potential to transform the way we generate and use energy,
David Turk, Deputy Secretary, US Department of Energy
“Today, there is nearly $5 billion of private capital invested into predominantly U.S.-based fusion companies. This administration is eager to partner with these companies and work together to accelerate progress toward a future powered by fusion, offering energy abundance and energy security around the world,” David Turk added.
Since the White House Fusion Summit in March 2022 and a DOE fusion workshop in June 2022, DOE has worked hard to establish this program, which makes use of DOE’s available contracting mechanisms to allow for milestone-based payments and other flexibilities to invite strong industry participation.
Geraldine Richmond, Under Secretary for Science and Innovation, US Department of Energy
Maximum intended funding is approximately $50 million for awardees to provide FPP pre-conceptual designs and technology strategies within 18 months after the award.
Funding for achieving future milestones toward complete conceptual FPP designs, up to a maximum period of performance of five years, will be conditional upon achieving early milestones and future yearly appropriations.
All the project teams, guided by for-profit entities, have to achieve specific landmarks before being bestowed funds by the Department. A substantial commitment of non-Federal resources by awardees is expected. This program entails that awardees execute a community benefits plan in aid of the equity and justice concerns of the DOE.