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Community Energy Innovation Prize

The $7.49 million Community Energy Innovation Prize provides support to community-based organizations, the private sector, nonfederal government entities, and collegiate teams to build trust and strengthen relationships and partnerships with underserved communities while advancing the clean energy transition.

Community Energy Innovation Prize

This challenge is the successor of two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) prizes related to community-based clean energy innovation: the Community Clean Energy Coalition Prize and the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize.

The combined prize is supported by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Office of Energy Justice and Equity (EJE), and Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO). Eligible competitors develop and carry out activities related to clean energy that promote business and technology incubation and acceleration as well as other community-based capacity building, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

The prize is part of the government’s Justice40 Initiative—a plan to deliver 40% of climate investment benefits to disadvantaged communities and inform equitable research, development, and deployment within federal agencies. Through its three tracks, the prize will serve to inspire and mentor collegiate students; bolster grassroots community organizations; and accelerate innovation in the manufacturing sector, in alignment with a new White House strategy aimed at growing the economy, creating jobs, enhancing sustainability, strengthening supply chains, and ensuring national security.

The Community Energy Innovation Prize serves as a “front door” to DOE’s clean energy funding programs and other federal funding opportunities to communities and organizations who have been historically underserved. In addition to cash awards, the prize provides awardees with mentorship, relevant resources, and connections in their path to forging an inclusive clean energy future.

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Prize Structure

The Community Energy Innovation Prize is made up of three tracks: the Clean Energy Ecosystem Track, the Manufacturing Ecosystem Track, and the Collegiate Track.Each of which has distinct goals and submission requirements over three phases: CONCEPT, PROGRESS, and IMPACT. The ecosystem tracks will close in December, 2024 though the Collegiate Track is now complete! Learn more about the GRAND PRIZE winners by visiting the Results Tab.

Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks

Applicants have applied to both the Clean Energy Ecosystem Track and the Manufacturing Ecosystem Track with distinct submissions. Competitors will be selected as a winner for one or both tracks. In addition to prize awards, winning teams in all three tracks receive in-kind mentorship and other support services.

Competitors in these tracks submitted applications for the CONCEPT Phase that engaged underserved communities; promoted environmental, climate, and energy justice; demonstrated strong community ties; and established bridges between DOE and these communities. Submissions focused on a community-based clean energy initiative to be considered for the Clean Energy Ecosystem Track, and/or a proposal for strengthening and revitalizing advanced manufacturing ecosystems for the Manufacturing Ecosystem Track.

Winners of the CONCEPT Phase carried out their proposed plans with an opportunity to win an additional cash prize in the PROGRESS Phase. In the final IMPACT phase, competitors will present their activities and the measurable impacts they achieved and share their plans for the future to compete for the Grand Prize.

Collegiate Track

The Collegiate Track challenged students to work alongside a community partner to identify a critical issue in their community related to the clean energy transition. Teams proposed a project with measurable impact in the CONCEPT Phase. Winning teams from the CONCEPT Phase then carried out these plans and were eligible for additional cash prizes at the conclusion of the PROGRESS Phase. In the final IMPACT phase, teams presented their activities and measurable impacts at the Community Energy Innovation Summit to in the hopes of being awarded a share of the Grand Prize. Read more about the winners and the final event that concluded the Collegiate Track!

Timeline for Clean Energy Innovation Prize.

Important Dates

Prize Launch

August 2023

Collegiate Track CONCEPT Phase

August–November 2023

Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks CONCEPT Phase

August 2023–February 2024

Collegiate Track PROGRESS Phase

December 2023–March 2024

Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks PROGRESS Phase

March–July 2024

Collegiate Track IMPACT Phase

February–June 2024

Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks IMPACT Phase

July–November 2024

Collegiate Track Final Event

June 2024

Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks Final Event

December 2024

All dates are subject to change including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements.

Sign up for updates on the Community Energy Innovation Prize here.

Who Can Participate?

Clean Energy Ecosystem and Manufacturing Ecosystem Tracks

The Ecosystem Tracks are now closed to new competitors. Please visit the Ecosystem Track CONCEPT phase results page for further details.

Collegiate Track

The Collegiate Track is now closed to new competitors. Please visit the Collegiate Track PROGRESS phase results page for further details.

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Solutions That Help Shape the Future

Are you a community-centric individual, student, coalition, or organization who is interested in being part of a diverse and inclusive clean energy innovation ecosystem? Bring your innovative idea to life with the Community Energy Innovation Prize.

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