The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will convene a meeting in Washington D.C. on Feb. 11 of the Clean Energy Incubator Network, a national organization created with $2.3 million in funding by EPRI, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to support clean energy entrepreneurs and incubators around the country.
The collaborative network will establish a suite of technological and training resources, connect critical industry and energy sector participants, enhance incubator best practices, and increase access to information about industry resources to advance innovative clean energy technologies. It will coordinate clean energy-focused business incubators, and provide online and technical resources to support the innovators and entrepreneurs.
The network’s initial members are the University of Texas-based Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), Clean Energy Trust (CET) of Chicago and NextEnergy in Detroit, and the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI) in California. These incubators form the core group, serving as the foundation for the network as it grows to include additional members. They will facilitate access to mentors for clean energy entrepreneurs and provide guidance in business development, capital access, best practices and manufacturing support.
“Start-ups in the energy industry typically require more capital, longer timelines and intense networking in order to commercialize workable technologies,” said Elizabeth Hartman, EPRI project manager who oversees the activities of the network. “The collaboration between the incubator network and entrepreneurs will drive new technologies that add diversity to our energy mix, improve the environment and help to create a more flexible power system.”
The network will organize in-person and virtual meetings that showcase best practices on incubation techniques and clean energy technologies, starting with the innovators workshop this month and followed by a national summit during the summer. These events are expected to attract start-ups, incubators, clean energy investors, and industry participants.
EPRI aims to be the convening force behind building innovation across the industry and accelerating the development of science and technology solutions to transform the power system. The institute’s engagement with electric utilities abroad will provide entrepreneurs with insights on what is required for new technologies to be scaled up and widely deployed on a global scale.