Energy Department opens up $125M for energy innovation

A program within the Department of Energy, called ARPA-E, has opened up $125 million to fund various technology and science projects that are “transformational” for energy, whether that’s for clean energy generation, lower emissions vehicles, or energy efficient tech for buildings. The ARPA-E program funds early-stage, high-risk, but high-impact, projects out of university labs, young startups and big companies alike, and this type of open funding announcement is meant to make sure they’re not excluding technologies outside of their already established funding verticals. Apply here by February 20.

The DOE’s early stage program to award $27M for 14 efficient grid electronics projects

The U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program — which allocates small grants to early stage, high risk technologies — has launched a new project focused on efficient power grid electronics. Say wha? When electricity flows across, on and off the grid it has to go through a lot of inefficient conversion devices. This program, called SWITCH, will give funds to 14 projects working on more efficient power conversion technologies mostly at the transistor manufacturing level. More info and project winners here.

Fisker green-car government loan heads to auction block

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/10/us-autos-fisker-auction-idUSBRE9991B020131010

The Department of Energy — which loaned now-faltered electric car maker Fisker $192 million to build cars and a factory — will start looking at bids on Friday to sell off the remainder of its loan to Fisker. Reuters reports that bidders have to offer at least $30 million, with 10 percent down, to be in the auction. At one point Fisker was valued at over $2 billion.

Audit reveals some mismanagement of smart grid demonstration stimulus funds

A report from the Department of Energy’s Inspector General found some mismanagement of the smart grid demonstration program that allocated $700 million mostly from the stimulus package. Out of an audit of just a portion of the program, the report found $12 million in questioned costs.

Energy innovation rockstar, former ARPA-E Director, to join Google.org

Looks like Google is resurrecting supporting energy innovation out of its philanthropic arm Google.org. The search engine giant has hired on the former director of the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program, which puts small grants into early stage energy breakthroughs.