American-Made Challenges


Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize

Enabling a just and equitable transition to a clean energy economy
up to $2.5 million in total prizes

Challenge Overview

Advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice, and equal opportunities is a responsibility of the entire U.S. government, including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize fits into President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which promises to deliver 40% of climate investment benefits to disadvantaged communities and, at the same time, inform equitable research, development, and deployment within DOE.

Part of the American-Made Challenges series and sponsored by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, this prize aims to fund organizations for ongoing and/or proposed activities related to climate and clean energy that support, build trust, and strengthen relationships and partnerships with disadvantaged communities. Specifically, this prize seeks to enable and enhance business and technology incubation, acceleration, and other community-based and university-based entrepreneurship and innovation in climate and clean energy technologies.



Up to $2.5 million in cash prizes!

The Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize will award prizes of $200,000 to up to 10 organizations for a total prize pool of up to $2.5 million.

It is expected that Phase One funds will enable the winning organizations to fund proposed programs for approximately one full-time-equivalent person and carry out related activities that may include actively engaging with disadvantaged communities in their regions, building relationships through workshops and other events, providing technical support, and facilitating connections with technical expertise and academic institutions. These are examples of potential activities, and organizations are encouraged to think creatively about specific activities that play to their strengths and serve their communities.



Prize Goals

The goals of the prize are to:

  1. Enable clean energy and climate innovation, and entrepreneurship programming and capabilities at colleges and universities that serve large populations of students underrepresented in STEM, Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), community colleges, and undergraduate institutions.
  2. Create or increase participation in clean energy and climate-smart job training and job placement/hiring, including programs that target participation from disadvantaged communities, including formerly incarcerated individuals and youth transitioning out of foster care.  Workforce training could cover identifying energy efficiencies and greenhouse gas inventories, renewable energy manufacturing, and deployment.
  3. Foster grassroots innovation related to just and equitable clean energy deployment through activities focusing on community-centric networks and bottom-up solutions for sustainable development, based on the needs of the communities involved.
  4. Identify and fund activities that will help disadvantaged communities become aware of, apply into or otherwise secure DOE funding or other federal, state, local government or private (for-profit or nonprofit) funding, in support of the government’s Justice40 goals.
  5. Enable the development of replicable clean energy transitions that deliver just and equitable benefits to disadvantaged communities in support of the government’s Justice40 goals.

The winners of Phase One of the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize will receive cash awards of $200,000 each. Phase One winners will be eligible to participate in a Phase Two of the prize, anticipated to take place 12 months following Phase One awards, during which time it is anticipated that a total of $500,000 will be awarded to up to three teams. 

For more information on the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize, please review the official rules document.




Challenge Guidelines

Who can participate?

Please review the official rules for the application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to subscribe to updates on the prize or have any questions, you may use the contact feature on the HeroX platform, or message us directly.

We are also looking for ideas on how to best structure this contest to attract ground-breaking solutions that will support the marine energy and desalination industries. If you are not interested in competing but want to help develop and judge the prize, contact us.

Updates 3

Challenge Updates

Join us for an informational webinar: November 10, 2021

Oct. 18, 2021, 9:29 a.m. PDT by Amanda Morton

Welcome Innovators,


Looking for some tips on how to put together a successful submission for the Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize?


The prize administration team is hosting an introductory webinar on November 10, 2021 at 1:00pm MT to cover details about the prize, ways to leverage the American-Made Network, and strategies for developing a successful submission package.


Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


-The Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize Administration Team-

Update to Official Rules

Oct. 8, 2021, 1:10 p.m. PDT by Amanda Morton

We've had lots of questions around the eligibility, so we edited the text to make things clearer. 

Check out the updated rules here:

What's your vision? Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize Now Open for Applications!

Sept. 30, 2021, 8:13 a.m. PDT by Amanda Morton

Welcome Innovators,  


It's time!  The Inclusive Energy Innovation Prize is now open and accepting applications. 


Get started by reading the official rules document, brainstorming with your team, and start filling out your team's submission (templates and background materials are in the resources tab). Submissions are due February 25, 2022, 3 p.m. MST.


If you have questions, reach out to us on the forum.


We're looking forward to reading all of your amazing applications!

- The Inclusive Energy Innovation Administration Team -

Forum 6
Teams 390