The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $275 million in potential funding for seven projects that officials say will help strengthen clean energy supply chains and hasten domestic clean energy manufacturing. Among the projects are retrofit and expansion plans for Alpen High-Performance Products Inc. and LuxWall Inc.
A DOE release says the selected projects include small and medium-sized manufacturers that can help ramp up production of technologies, such as insulating windows and wind turbines, to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and strengthen energy independence. The seven projects selected for negotiation of the funding focus on manufacturing products and materials that address multiple needs in the domestic clean energy supply chain.
According to DOE officials, Alpen will retrofit existing facilities in Louisville, Colorado and Vandergrift, Pa., to produce ultra-thin, triple and quad-pane insulating glass units (IGU) for windows.
Officials say the retrofitted facilities will be first-of-a-kind manufacturing operations in North America. The facilities will automate triple/quadruple pane IGU production and increase the supply of low-cost, energy-efficient window options. According to an Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC) report, the federal cost share for Alpen’s retrofits will be $5.8 million.
MESC’s report says the projects will “increase Alpen’s production tenfold, create 100 good-paying jobs through investment in automation, and significantly reduce customers’ energy use and home heating and cooling costs.”
LuxWall’s proposal includes a new facility in Detroit that will manufacture vacuum-insulating glass (VIG) window units, which officials say is one of the highest energy-efficient return-on-investment options used to retrofit buildings. MESC says the facility will manufacture up to 562,000 high-performance VIG units annually.
MESC’s report states the expansion will include a federal cost share of $31.7 million. Officials say the funding will help build the “first high-volume, fully automated VIG unit production plant in the U.S. for commercial and residential windows, creating 277 new jobs and reinvigorating the site of a former coal generation plant in the Delray neighborhood of South Detroit.”
DOE announced the funding during the inaugural meeting of the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience. According to DOE, the funding is not a firm commitment. DOE can cancel negotiations and rescind the selection for any reason during the negotiation process.
DOE officials explain the funding aims to address vulnerabilities in the U.S. clean energy supply chain by supporting key materials and components for energy storage for grid and transportation uses, wind energy and energy-efficient solutions for buildings. Officials add the projects will leverage more than $600 million in private sector investments into small- and medium-sized manufacturers and create nearly 1,500 jobs.