National Coalition Gathers to Discuss Cleantech and Energy Innovation

Grid Catalyst joined partners from around the country in Washington, D.C. February 27-March 1 to build connections and advance our collective agenda for cleantech and energy innovation. The Coalition of Clean Energy Incubators is comprised of leadership from America’s top clean energy incubators and organized by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI).

For this second annual event in D.C., Grid Catalyst was joined by peers from across the country, including the Austin Technology Incubator, BRITE Energy Innovators, Elemental Excelerator, Evergreen Climate Innovation, FORGE, Greentown Labs, and University of Tennessee Research Park/Spark Innovation Center. Along with high-potential energy startups, we met with members of Congress and federal staff to discuss several key initiatives and opportunities.

Thanks to our partners at LACI for their leadership and articulation of these priorities:

  • The recently enacted bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act authorizes $75 million through FY2027 to establish a program to support incubators and accelerators across the nation that help facilitate the commercialization of energy technologies. This program will support the research, development, commercialization, and deployment of advanced technologies that will improve our clean energy infrastructure, while promoting economic growth in communities throughout the country. The Coalition is urging Congress to appropriate, in FY2024, the full $15 million in authorized spending for the National Clean Energy Incubator Program.
  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act established the DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), to accelerate clean energy technology commercialization and fill a critical innovation gap on the path to achieving our nation’s climate goals of net zero emissions by 2050. OCED’s mission is to deliver clean energy demonstration projects at scale in partnership with the private sector to accelerate deployment, market adoption, and the equitable transition to a decarbonized energy system.The FY23 Consolidated Appropriations Act funded OCED at $89 million, which is $125 million below the FY23 President’s budget request. Given the important work being done at OCED to address emissions and combat climate change, we ask that OCED be funded at $109 million in FY24, with $20 million dedicated to a competitive funding opportunity for non-profit incubators supporting energy innovation.

These two federal initiatives are critical to advancing energy innovation in the United States, bridging critical gaps and providing resources to entrepreneurs and startups that help them make it to the market faster and more effectively.

National coalition of energy incubators meeting with senator klobuchar 1
Coalition meeting with senator amy klobuchar (minnesota)

American Energy Innovation Network

Additionally, the Bipartisan Policy Center has launched the American Energy Innovation Network, a group of emerging companies and investors in the energy space to serve as a central point of coordination in the federal policy landscape. The American Energy Innovators Network (AEIN) serves as an entry point for policy ideas, political engagement, and strategic relationship building for innovative early-stage energy entrepreneurs, startups, and investors. The Bipartisan Policy Center recently released a report addressing the gaps in federal support for pilot-scale demonstration projects and recommends OCED support these projects by creating an SBIR/STTR program. Link to report.

Grid Catalyst is proud to join this network and our colleagues in energy innovation to advance this work.

Making Connections

To learn more about either of these new networks, our federal initiatives and priorities, or how to connect this work to our Minnesota opportunities, please reach out to Nina Axelson to discuss – nina@gridcatalyst.org.

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Nina Axelson

Grid Catalyst was founded in 2021 by Nina Axelson, an industry leader with nearly 20 years of experience in energy and sustainability. Previously, Nina was the VP of Sustainability for Ever-Green Energy and served on the board of the International District Energy Association.

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