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America needs to transform its energy system to reduce its carbon intensity and make clean energy cheap. At the same time, the Intermountain West region (which includes Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah) possesses a unique confluence of world-class innovation assets; varied energy resources; and unparalleled opportunities to build out next-generation energy systems. To that end, the brief proposes that the federal government begin constructing a distributed Intermountain West network of federally-funded, commercialization-oriented, broadly collaborative energy research and innovation centers. Organized around existing capacities in a hub-spoke structure that links fundamental science with innovation and commercialization, these research centers would engage universities, industries and labs to work around specific energy themes to rapidly deploy new technologies to the marketplace, build the region’s knowledge-base, and stimulate economic development. Selected competitively based on scientific merit and the strength of proposed management, financial, and commercialization plans, roughly four to six energy innovation centers could reasonably be organized in the Intermountain West with total annual funding between $1 billion and $2 billion.


Clean energy investment; Energy development; Energy policy; Renewable energy sources; West (U.S.)


Energy Policy | Environmental Policy | Infrastructure | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Policy History, Theory, and Methods | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Science and Technology Policy