December 5, 2023

U.S. Department of Energy Awards Tulsa $50K for Phase 1 of Clean Energy Project

Empowering Lifecycle Clean Energy in Tulsa brings together stakeholders to expand the region’s energy sector

TULSA, Okla. | Dec. 5, 2023 – PartnerTulsa, in collaboration with Tulsa Innovation Labs and Rose Rock Bridge, has been selected as a Phase 1 winner for its application to expand Tulsa’s thriving energy sector to include a hub for clean energy companies, from manufacturing through recycling.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Manufacture of Advanced Key Energy Infrastructure Technologies Prize, also known as the MAKE IT Prize, will provide approximately $30 million in funding to projects to catalyze domestic manufacturing of critical clean energy technology components.

“We are thrilled to have been selected as a Phase 1 winner for this grant and we are grateful to our partners for their collaboration and hard work,” Mayor G.T. Bynum, who serves as the chair for PartnerTulsa, said. “This $50,000 award will help Tulsa to take the next steps toward creating a more sustainable future for generations to come.”

Empowering Lifecycle Clean Energy in Tulsa is a collection of municipal, community and industry partners who recognize Oklahoma’s strengths in legacy and renewable energy sectors as it relates to energy project development and infrastructure, as well as Tulsa’s strengths in the manufacturing and logistics industries. As a Phase 1 winner, the project has been awarded $50,000 and is eligible to compete in Phase 2: Create, where the project partners will submit their concept roadmap to bring the initiative to life.

Michelle Barnett, senior vice president of Economic and Workforce Development at PartnerTulsa, said she is thrilled the project proposal has been selected for Phase 1 of MAKE IT and will continue onto Phase 2.

“Transforming the Tulsa region’s energy infrastructure sector is paramount to creating and maintaining a well-rounded, robust and equity-focused environment for all Tulsans. We are excited to work together with our partners to see Empowering Lifecycle Clean Energy in Tulsa continue onto Phase 2,” she said.

Phase 2 of the prize will be awarded in May 2024 and Phase 3 – the implementation and activation phase – will be awarded in June 2025.

PartnerTulsa is working collaboratively with Tulsa Innovation Labs, a tech-led economic development organization, and Rose Rock Bridge, a public-private partnership incubating technology startups in Tulsa.

“Tulsa Innovation Labs believes Oklahoma’s longstanding leadership in the energy industry primes the region for success in innovations critical to the energy transition,” said Kelsey Putman Hughes, director of TIL’s energy tech portfolio.  “This award from the Department of Energy will help diversify not only Tulsa’s energy workforce but the energy economy within northeastern Oklahoma.”

“At Rose Rock Bridge, we believe increased clean energy manufacturing activity in Tulsa will generate more opportunities to fulfill our mission by attracting and supporting entrepreneurs who are building critical innovations for the energy transition,” said Kastle Jones, managing director for Rose Rock Bridge.

According to the project application submitted by PartnerTulsa, approximately 47% of the energy used in Oklahoma derives from renewable sources, with wind leading the way at 44%.

“Oklahoma’s traditional oil and gas companies are vigorously engaged in transforming their production and delivery methodologies, evaluating opportunities to convert natural gas transmission to hydrogen and extracting hydrogen from downhole produced water,” the application stated.

An advisory committee includes Cherokee Nation Businesses, representing the Cherokee Nation’s economic activities; Black Tech Street, representing the Black tech community in Tulsa’s historic Black Wall Street and Greenwood neighborhoods; the University of Tulsa;

Enel Green Power, which operates 13 Oklahoma wind farms; and 3Sun Energy, which is locating a $1 billion solar panel gigafactory in the Tulsa region.

“This opportunity aligns with our business and economic development efforts to support the well-being of our citizens and communities by allowing access to quality opportunities in clean energy, ensuring better lives for Cherokee citizens today and tomorrow,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. wrote in a supporting letter for the project. “The Tulsa region’s growing clean energy sector is rooted in a deep background in manufacturing, energy production and storage, and the energy supply chain. We look forward to this award’s opportunities to develop a roadmap for additional clean energy manufacturing in the region.”

The MAKE IT Prize was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), in partnership with its Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) and its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) administers the prize.

This marks another win for Tulsa and underscores the city’s momentum following several major distinctions from the federal government.  In October, the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration designated Tulsa a “Tech Hub.” In 2022, the EDA awarded Tulsa a $38.2 million grant as part of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge.

About PartnerTulsa
PartnerTulsa is the City of Tulsa’s economic development Authority that streamlines and strengthens Tulsa’s economic development efforts through the merging of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development (MOED), Tulsa Industrial Authority (TIA), Tulsa Parking Authority (TPA), and Economic Development Commission (EDC) into a single, enhanced Public Trust. Partner Tulsa (aka TAEO) is governed by a thirteen (13) member Board of Trustees and provides staffing for and oversees the operations of the Tulsa Development Authority (TDA). For more information about PartnerTulsa, visit

About Tulsa Innovation Labs (TIL)

Tulsa Innovation Labs is an initiative of the George Kaiser Family Foundation founded in 2020 to develop a citywide strategy that positions Tulsa as a tech hub, leveraging the strengths of the Heartland. Through a diverse coalition of public and private partners, TIL is creating programs that seek to make Tulsa the nation’s most inclusive tech community.

About Rose Rock Bridge

Rose Rock Bridge is a non-profit energy technology incubator based in Tulsa that sources, recruits, and supports high-growth startups to build a leading energy innovation community in the region. Rose Rock Bridge is supported by a unique group of public and private partners to offer unparalleled startup support for early-stage energy technology companies.