Headshot of Jennifer Garson

Jennifer is the Acting Director of the Water Power Technologies Office at the U.S. Department of Energy, where she leads the office’s strategy, management, and execution of the $150M office. The Water Power Technologies office advances research, development and demonstration of hydropower and marine renewable energy. For the last three years, she has led some of the office’s key activities and initiatives—like the Powering the Blue Economy initiative—and a portfolio of prizes, interagency grants, among other programs. She has focused on increasing the impact of federal funding for supporting innovation, including leveraging nontraditional financial mechanisms. This includes increasing the utilization of prizes, creative lab-directed funding, SBIR/STTRs, and other competitive solicitations. Over the last decade, she has worked across DOE, the federal government, and in partnership with the private sector to launch and create new programs, prizes, and commercialization approaches for blue economy and cleantech technologies and applications. 

Prior to the Water Office, she was the Chief of Staff for the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. She was previously a Senior Advisor for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions, focused on Department-wide strategies for increasing the use of prizes, challenges, and other open innovation tools. She also focused on catalyzing new networks and prizes to help entrepreneurs move their technologies from research institutions into the market in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technology to Market team. Her programs supported hundreds of startups across the country through novel training programs, competitions targeted at university students, challenges linking solutions to major corporate partners, supporting early-stage pilots helping validate companies' technologies, and creating new national and regional networks.

She served as a policy and market analyst in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, developed analysis and provided technical assistance for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability on their smart grid portfolio during the Recovery Act, and served as a research assistant for a private consulting company. 

Jennifer earned her B.A. in Anthropology and Environmental Studies Concentration at Kenyon College and her Master of Public Policy at George Washington University.