DOE Announces $38 Million to Launch Decarbonization Initiative at National Laboratories

Source: US Department of Energy

Net Zero Labs Pilot Initiative Promotes the Deployment of Clean Energy Infrastructure at DOE Laboratories to Drive Down Emissions in Support of President Biden’s Climate Goals

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $38 million to begin decarbonizing four of DOE’s 17 National Laboratories in support of President Biden’s goal to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050. The Net Zero Labs (NZL) Pilot Initiative will lay the foundation for one of the first-ever models for addressing hard-to-decarbonize industries and is expected to be a foundation of net-zero solutions that can be replicated at facilities across DOE, the federal government, and state and local governments. The four DOE National Laboratories included in this initial pilot are taking proactive steps to harness and produce technology at their facilities to drive down their carbon emissions. Additional funding, available on a competitive basis to all 17 National Laboratories, is expected to be available next year.  

“Transitioning to a net-zero future will require slashing carbon pollution across all industries — from shipping to manufacturing to construction, and even the operation of our national laboratories,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE’s National Labs are leading by example to address some of the most energy-intensive, hardest-to-decarbonize federal facilities to reduce our nation’s carbon footprint — mitigating the disastrous impacts of climate change, lowering energy costs, and supporting the growing clean energy workforce.”  

DOE’s National Labs are among the Federal Government’s most complex energy users and have demand and resilience requirements far exceeding those of a standard facility. Each lab houses heavy industrial facilities, energy-intensive data centers, reactors, and other unique infrastructure that demands large amounts of continuous power. Through the Net-Zero Labs Pilot Initiative, DOE is demonstrating that clean energy can power these critical components. 

The four National Laboratories participating in the pilot initiative reflect different geographic and climate regions that each face unique energy challenges. In addition to the efforts to decarbonize their own campus operations, they are conducting research that will help bring forward clean energy solutions for the nation.

  • Idaho National Laboratory (Idaho Falls, ID) is conducting advanced nuclear research to develop and integrate microreactors and small modular reactors into microgrids with other renewable energies to produce hydrogen, increase energy storage and provide reliable, secure, and clean energy to communities across the nation.
  • National Energy Technology Laboratory (Pittsburgh, PA, Morgantown, WV, and Albany, OR) is working to advance carbon removal technologies and will incentivize carbon-free electricity production within its three geographic regions by entering into power purchase agreements.
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, CO) is working to lower the cost of and increase the scale of technologies to make, store, move, and use hydrogen across multiple energy sectors.
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, WA) is developing state-of-the-art methods, algorithms and software platforms that enable optimized control and operation of energy assets to achieve economic, emission and resilience priorities, along with energy storage innovations that will boost clean energy adoption and make the nation’s power grid more resilient, secure and flexible.   

“Colorado is on a path to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040 and the Net-Zero Lab Pilot Initiative is an important milestone in NREL’s long history of researching, developing, and deploying the tools and technologies to reduce pollution, and advance low-cost, reliable clean energy for Colorado and the world,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “The Biden administration is following Colorado’s example of greening government and commitment to saving people money, so moving Department of Energy national laboratories towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions is good for our economy and future generations.” 

“I’m delighted to welcome Secretary Granholm to Colorado as the Department of Energy announces new funding for national labs across the country. DOE’s energy labs, including Colorado’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, are at the forefront of cutting-edge research to develop and advance technologies to cut emissions and confront climate change. It makes perfect sense they will lead by example to drive their own emissions to net-zero,” said U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (CO). “With Colorado communities on the front lines of increasingly severe natural disasters, we understand the urgent need to reduce the harmful pollution that drives the climate crisis. This funding to support NREL and labs across the country will help us meet our climate goals and build a clean energy economy.”  

“The Net-Zero Lab Initiative will jumpstart our clean economy,” said U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper (CO). “There is no better place for Secretary Granholm to announce this program than in Colorado, where labs like NREL are fighting climate change.”  

“Moving as fast as possible to a clean energy future is a must-do to tackle the climate crisis that’s driving up temperatures and sparking the wildfires and drought threatening communities in Oregon and nationwide,” said U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (OR), author of the Clean Energy for America Act. “Oregon and the Pacific Northwest have always been in the vanguard of science, and I’m gratified the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will play such a key role in researching the technological innovation needed to achieve net-zero emissions.” 

“I’m pleased to see DOE’s national labs working to achieve net-zero carbon emissions,” said U.S. Representative Michael Doyle (PA-18). “Our national labs are doing critical work in developing the clean energy technologies we need to eliminate the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and I’m proud that Pittsburgh’s National Energy Technology Lab is one of the facilities taking the lead.” 

“The Net-Zero Labs pilot launch is an important step towards decarbonization,” said U.S. Representative Joseph Neguse (CO-2). “This innovative program will be a model for the nation, and I am thrilled that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is at the heart of this essential work.” 

“Central Washington, home to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), is leading the nation in embracing innovation and lowering energy costs through its commitment to pursuing an “all-of-the-above” energy approach,” said U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse (WA-4). “From solar and wind, to natural gas, nuclear, and hydropower, Central Washington is truly laying the groundwork for a net-zero future. The innovation and research happening at the PNNL has played a pivotal role in getting us to where we are today, and today’s announcement highlights that essential role while further enabling PNNL to continue to innovate and lead the way towards decarbonization.” 

“As we work toward a cleaner, brighter future, I’m glad to see the Department of Energy — and the National Renewably Energy Laboratory specifically — lead by example with the Net-Zero Lab pilot launch,” said U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter (CO-7). “DOE’s national laboratory system is a hotbed for innovation and now they can use the world-class scientific expertise and emerging technologies housed at these labs to help lead the way in decarbonizing our economy in the years to come.” 

Learn more about DOE’s Net Zero Labs Initiative.