Electrical Business

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New incubator network to help clean energy entrepreneurs



March 3, 2015 – The Clean Energy Incubator Network, launched last month by the U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), wants to improve the performance of clean energy business incubators.

The program, funded by the Energy Department, also connects critical industry and energy sector partners and advances clean energy technologies emerging from universities and federal laboratories, said NREL.

Its newly launched website also provides networking opportunities and serves as a portal to identify industry best practices.

“This website of resources and tools for incubators and entrepreneurs will serve as a focal point of the network,” said Matt Ringer, NREL’s project manager. “With our past experience building databases for a variety of related energy resources, NREL is well positioned to develop this type of resource for the clean tech industry.”

Down the road the website will include funding, laboratory and event resources, in addition to an evaluation toolkit that will recommend resources specifically targeted to guide start-ups, based on their commercialization readiness level, explained NREL.

Along with the NREL website, EPRI is working to help organize a variety of in-person and virtual events aimed at sharing best practices on both incubation techniques and clean energy technologies. They are planning a national summit for later this year that will bring together start-ups, incubators, clean energy investors, and industry participants.

The Clean Energy Incubator Network also plans to implement a SmartIncubation program, in which the network will publish the results of its clean tech start-up analysis every six months, identifying and recommending best practices and strategies.