WASHINGTON, D.C. — Attention energy incubators! The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) is announcing the launch of the American-Made EPIC Prize Round 2. The $4 million competition is designed to award cash prizes to regional incubators that implement high-impact ideas to support energy startups and entrepreneurs.

"Technology startups are crucial to America's clean energy future, but often require more than capital to get off the ground—particularly those in energy-related sectors," said Dr. Vanessa Z. Chan, Chief Commercialization Officer for OTT." To further develop our regional energy innovation ecosystems, entrepreneurs need mentorship, technology validation, business development, and connections to manufacturers. The EPIC Prize Round 2 will help incubators build robust regional networks that strengthen the entire innovation life cycle."

Core to the EPIC Prize Round 2 is the incubator program, which consists of three phases: (1) design a plan to support energy startups and entrepreneurs, (2) implement the innovative, place-based plan, and (3) demonstrate success. Phase 1 begins today and allows three months for competitors to design a program. 

A timeline of the three phases in the Core Incubator Prize Program.

OTT has also partnered with three other program offices to date to provide Bonus Prizes. In addition to the $4 million in Core Incubator Prize funding, $50,000 Bonus Prizes will be available for incubators supporting water power and/or the blue economy, buildings technologies, and solar technologies.

For the EPIC Prize Round 2, incubators include accelerators, co-working startup communities, or other organizations that accomplish similar goals. In subsequent phases, the prize will also include a pitch competition in which incubators can nominate local energy startups for a chance to win up to $50,000. 

The American-Made program fast-tracks innovation through prizes, training, teaming, and mentoring, connecting the nation's entrepreneurs and innovators to America's national labs and the private sector. Teams competing in the EPIC Prize Round 2 will have access to the American-Made Network, which provides mentoring, tools, resources, and support to accelerate the transition of ideas into real-world solutions to achieve clean energy goals. 

The EPIC Prize is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is part of OTT's broader Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) program that provides funds and support to place-based incubators to encourage the robust growth of regional energy innovation ecosystems across the United States.

Visit Energy.gov to learn more about OTT's overall mission to spur commercialization of impactful energy technologies and expand public benefit of the U.S. Department of Energy's research, development, demonstration, and deployment portfolio.