Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter announced today that the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) during the past year provided Idaho taxpayers with an 11-to-1 return on their $1.6 million investment in the partnership -- a rate most investors would envy.
CAES researchers earned $18.2 million in competitive research grants, infrastructure and other funding in federal fiscal year 2011 -- which ran through September -- pushing the center's cumulative earnings to $41.9 million.
A University of Idaho economist estimates that CAES generated $26.8 million in regional sales, 366 jobs and $620,000 in tax revenue in fiscal 2011 alone.
"CAES is a great example of what the Idaho universities and Idaho National Laboratory can accomplish by working together," Governor Otter said. "The CAES partnership has proven to be a great investment for taxpayers, and you're going to see more of that kind of collaborative public-private effort from my administration in the years to come."
CAES researchers earned more than 25 different grants and competitive awards in fiscal 2011. Some of the projects funded include: a center that will train engineering students to assess the energy efficiency of manufacturing facilities; researching methods to recover uranium from seawater; a software tool to help developers identify preferred locations for solar energy farms; and developing sensors to monitor conditions inside a nuclear waste container.
"It was a great year for the CAES partnership," said CAES Director Bill Rogers. "The collaborations we have built between the CAES partner institutions and with industry are starting to flourish and result in new research grants and other funding."
CAES, which was created in 2005, is a partnership between Idaho National Laboratory and the State of Idaho through its three researcher universities -- Boise State University, Idaho State University and University of Idaho.
The State of Idaho has contributed $4.8 million over the past three years -- $1.6 million annually -- to help support university researchers' involvement in the CAES partnership.
The U.S. Department of Energy and Battelle Energy Alliance, the contractor that runs Idaho National Laboratory, also have contributed significantly to the partnership.
Battelle Energy Alliance recently invested more than $6 million to equip the CAES Microscopy and Characterization Suite (MaCS) with an atom probe and other high-end instruments to advance materials research. The lab also provided CAES with $1.4 million in funding for exploratory research projects.
For more information about the CAES partnership, visit www.caesenergy.org.