The Energy Department on June 20 announced $3.2 million to launch the National Incubator Initiative for Clean Energy, which will create a national support network to serve the clean energy small business and entrepreneur community. The Initiative will establish a suite of technological and training resources, connect critical industry and energy sector partners, enhance incubator best practices, and increase access to information about industry resources to advance innovative clean energy technologies emerging from universities and federal laboratories.
The Initiative will fund a national organization—the Clean Technology Accelerator Program (CleanTAP)—planned to be headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and led by the Electric Power Research Institute in partnership with the Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. CleanTAP will receive nearly $980,000 to coordinate clean energy-focused business incubators nationwide and provide robust online and technical resources to support the innovation and entrepreneurship community.
Additional awards will go to three incubators to run innovative programs with commercialization services for startups, including mentorship, business development, capital access, and testing and demonstration:
The NextEnergy Center in Detroit, Michigan, and its partner, the Clean Energy Trust in Chicago, Illinois, will receive more than $745,000 to establish the Midwest Innovation Bridge. Through the Bridge, startups and entrepreneurs will have access to a robust set of testing and demonstration facilities in both Michigan and Illinois.
The Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) at the University of Texas, Austin, will receive more than $745,000 to form the Southwest Regional Clean Energy Incubation Initiative. ATI and its partners offer a collection of diverse and substantial tools for entrepreneurs, including facilities for testing and prototyping a wide variety of technologies and access to world-renowned facilities, including those of project partner Pecan Street, Inc.
The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s California Cleantech Commercialization Coalition Program will receive more than $729,000 to establish California’s first statewide clean energy incubator collaboration, which will connect stakeholders, including state and local government organizations, major California utilities, and investors to provide resources and support to entrepreneurs and small businesses.