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Colin Cunliff


Senior Policy Analyst

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @colin_cunliff

Colin Cunliff was a senior policy analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, where he focused on improving national and global energy innovation systems to address climate change. He co-authored the book Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission, which charts a course to triple U.S. clean energy research by 2025.

Prior to joining ITIF, he worked at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis (EPSA), with a portfolio focused on energy sector resilience and emissions mitigation. At DOE, he supported the Quadrennial Energy Review and other agency reports. Prior to that, he was the American Institute of Physics / American Association for the Advancement of Science (AIP/AAAS) Congressional Fellow in the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein, where he served as a staff science adviser on energy, climate, and transportation. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Davis, and a bachelors degree in physics and mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Recent Publications

June 21, 2021

Clean and Competitive: Opportunities for U.S. Manufacturing Leadership in the Global-Low Carbon Economy

The United States needs an integrated national strategy to address the twin challenges of bolstering its manufacturing sector and averting climate change. Timely federal RD&D and deployment policies targeted to specific manufacturing industries could create comparative advantage, expanding domestic investment and employment.

May 17, 2021

Energizing Innovation: Raising the Ambition for Federal Energy RD&D in Fiscal Year 2022

The United States should launch a “moon shot” in clean energy that mobilizes its unmatched innovative capabilities to combat climate change and capture global markets. The fiscal year 2022 budget is a critical opportunity for Congress to advance U.S. energy innovation.

May 17, 2021

A Clean Energy “Moon Shot” Is Sitting on the Launch Pad, and Congress Can Supply the Fuel. Here’s How

Congress and the administration should seize on the momentum created by the passage of the Energy Act of 2020 and provide a multi-billion-dollar increase to raise the ambition for energy innovation programs at DOE in the FY 2022 budget.

March 1, 2021

How Congress and the Biden Administration Could Jumpstart Smart Cities With AI

AI promises to help cities save money, address infrastructure needs, and reduce emissions. But to unlock these benefits and help smart cities reach their full potential, the federal government has an important role to play in funding RD&D and facilitating cooperation.

February 25, 2021

Testimony to the House Appropriations Committee on Strategies for Energy and Climate Innovation

ITIF argued innovation is critical to combat climate change, making three core points: First, greater federal investment in innovation is essential to address climate change and boost U.S. competitiveness in clean energy. Second, prioritize funding to RD&D and deployment programs around 10 critical decarbonization needs. Third, diversify the innovation portfolio to maximize the effectiveness of federal investments.

February 2, 2021

National Academies Report Charts Course: Decarbonize the U.S. Energy System by Accelerating Innovation

A landmark report released today by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) issues a clarion call for more clean energy innovation, finding that “deep decarbonization is technically feasible, but proactive innovation is essential.”

September 15, 2020

Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission

The U.S. government should triple its annual investment in energy innovation over the next five years to speed clean energy transitions around the world and build advanced-energy industries at home.

September 15, 2020

To Confront the Climate Crisis, the U.S. Should Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission

America has successfully launched national innovation missions time and again, but it has not launched a mission to counter the gravest threat of our time: climate change.

July 6, 2020

Beyond the Energy Techlash: The Real Climate Impacts of Information Technology

Alarmists claim the tech sector’s carbon footprint is mushrooming out of control. But they wildly misrepresent the facts. Not only is the ICT sector making significant progress in decarbonizing, but ICT is also a powerful technology that enables other sectors to become more energy efficient.

April 13, 2020

Recommendations to the House Science Committee on Clean Energy Investments for a Long-Term Economic Recovery

In response to a request for input from the House Science, Space, and Technology committee, ITIF recommended that any stimulus bill in response to the COVID-19 crisis include provisions to stimulate manufacturing, technology entrepreneurship, and clean energy innovation, including large-scale demonstration projects in fields such as industrial decarbonization.

March 30, 2020

Energy Innovation in the FY 2021 Budget: Congress Should Lead

Lawmakers should make energy innovation a national imperative, and at least double U.S. investment in clean energy RD&D by 2025.

March 2, 2020

Congress Must Step Up to Save Nine Clean Energy Research Programs From the President’s Budget Chopping Block

Unless Congress takes specific action to reverse the administration’s plans, the president’s budget request will become binding on federal energy RD&D programs, eliminating vital activities.

More publications by Colin Cunliff

Recent Events and Presentations

November 20, 2020

Integrating Advanced Manufacturing and Climate Change Policies

ITIF Senior Policy Analyst Colin Cunliff spoke on a an expert panel discussing underappreciated opportunities for bringing clean manufacturing innovation to greater prominence with the goal of shaping the climate and manufacturing policy agenda.

September 10, 2020

Growth With the Right Balance: The Future of the Federal Energy RD&D Budget

ITIF hosted a discussion of the future of federal energy RD&D investment with experts from ITIF, Columbia University’s Center for Global Energy Policy (CGEP), and elsewhere, with opening remarks by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR).

July 9, 2020

Digitalization: Driving Energy Efficiency for a Connected Future

ITIF hosted a discussion with industry leaders on the role of digitalization in driving energy efficiency gains across the economy, and the release of a new ITIF report assessing the concerns—some legitimate and most not—regarding the energy and environmental impacts of the tech sector.

March 5, 2020

Decarbonizing Industrial Heat

ITIF and the Aspen Institute hosted the Washington, DC release of the Innovation for a Cool Earth Forum’s (ICEF’s) Industrial Heat Decarbonization Roadmap and convened an expert panel exploring the challenges of industrial heat decarbonization.

May 13, 2019

Greening Industry: The Forgotten Climate Wedge

Sustained innovation in clean industrial processes is necessary to avert the worst consequences of climate change, better serve the diverse demands of the American public and enhance U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. The federal government plays a key role in fostering innovation and encouraging cleantech entrepreneurship and investment.

November 28, 2018

An Innovation Agenda for a Low-Carbon Energy Future: Bridging Gaps in the Federal Energy RD&D Portfolio

Even with continued improvements and cost reductions to current emissions reducing technologies, the world is not on track to achieve the deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Join ITIF for the release of a new report analyzing hard-to-decarbonize sectors and an expert panel discussion on the limits of current technologies and potential solutions.

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