WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $50 million to launch a new milestone-based fusion development program as authorized in the Energy Act of 2020. This program will support for-profit entities, who may team with national laboratories, universities, and others to meet major technical and commercialization milestones toward the successful design of a fusion pilot plant (FPP) that will help bring fusion toward technical and commercial viability. The program is informed by recent reports from the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; community workshops; and input from private industry.
“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,” said David Turk, DOE Deputy Secretary, who today announced the launch of this program in his opening remarks at a fusion showcase event at the Global Clean Energy Action Forum in Pittsburgh. “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.”
“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,” said Geraldine Richmond, DOE Under Secretary for Science and Innovation.
Total planned funding is up to $50 million for awardees to deliver FPP pre-conceptual designs and technology roadmaps by 18 months after award. Funding for meeting subsequent milestones toward full conceptual FPP designs, up to a total period of performance of five years, will be contingent upon meeting early milestones and future annual appropriations. Project teams are to be led by for-profit entities, who must meet particular milestones before being awarded funds by the Department. Significant commitment of non-Federal resources by awardees is expected. This program requires awardees to implement a community benefits plan in support of the Department’s equity and justice priorities.
The DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement, sponsored by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences within the Department’s Office of Science, can be found here.