What is OCED?
The Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, or OCED (pronounced “oh-sed”) is a new office within the Department of Energy created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
Anyone curious about the Department of Energy (DOE) might enjoy this organization chart, which shows that OCED falls under the purview of the new Undersecretary for Infrastructure. The reorganization, announced in February, is in the response to the influx of funding for the DOE in BIL and a recognition of the crucial role the agency will play in the transition to cleaner energy. Specifically, the reorganization separated offices working in infrastructure with offices focused on innovation.
Why was OCED created?
OCED was created to fill a gap in the Department of Energy’s support for cleantech and clean energy innovations. The DOE has numerous programs for research and development (such as the Offices of Science, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, ARPA-E, and the American-Made program) and has offices for commercialization and deployment (such as the Loan Programs Office and Office of Technology Transition). This left a gap for demonstrations support. As new clean energy technologies leave the research and development phase, demonstration is often key to proving the effectiveness of a technology before it can attract private market investment and deployment at scale.
The Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations will work to scale and commercialize innovative technologies such as clean hydrogen, carbon capture, grid-scale energy storage, and small modular reactors.
How much funding does OCED have?
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law included $21 billion for OCED over 10 years. Since this office is new, these funds will be critical in standing it up. OCED also received an additional $20 million in appropriations from Congress for FY 2022 to help support the annual operations of the department. OCED will likely receive additional funding through the annual appropriations process.
How can my organization work with OCED?
As the office is currently being stood up, more details are to come on how you can get involved with OCED. While implementation is not yet clear for all funding streams, OCED has announced some of the specific programs it will be launching. See below for a list of programs, along with expected timelines for applications to open.
For small businesses in CEBN’s community, it’s important to note that many OCED programs are targeted at large-scale demonstration projects geared toward larger prime recipients. However, there will likely be ample opportunities for partnerships and subcontracts stemming out of these awards. Additionally, some OCED programs—particularly rural or remote energy improvement projects and mine land repurposing—will have more flexibility in the size of the awards and may be more suitable for small businesses. CEBN is actively reviewing and making recommendations as to which programs may be best suited for small-scale demonstrations.
How can I learn more?
Want to know more about BIL? Explore additional entries to the Breaking Down the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law series to discover new programs created by this $1.2T investment.