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Sanjiv Speaks during Keynote -- CEIC Director and LINKS participants at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (credit DOE).
SMR Presentation -- LINKS attendees observing presentation on DOE Nuclear Energy Technologies (credit DOE)
On December 16, 2016 the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Investment Center (CEIC) hosted its year-end Laboratory-Investor Knowledge Series (LINKS) in Menlo Park, California at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC). Nearly 40 participants representing the investment community (including venture capital firms and philanthropic organizations), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the White House were in attendance to highlight the anticipated release of the Laboratory Partnering Service (LPS) in January 2017, a new tool to facilitate access to and enable partnerships with the DOE National Laboratories. This LINKS session marked the end of a great first year for the CEIC and set the foundation for an ambitious agenda for 2017 as the CEIC team presented its year-in-review, which covered accomplishments and detailed a series of insights characterizing the challenges faced by investors in the clean energy sector.
The LINKS meeting opened up with remarks from Doug Rand, Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, followed by a keynote address from CEIC Director Dr. Sanjiv Malhotra. Following the keynote, Ken Alston, Special Advisor to the Secretary, described the LPS, what will be the CEIC’s first online offering to the investment community. When launched in January 2017, the LPS will be a free platform that connects external stakeholders to lab subject matter experts to engage on technical questions about specific emerging technology areas and lab capabilities, and will be available online for the public. Once launched, the CEIC team will continue to improve and make updates to the LPS; any feedback on the platform is welcomed and should be directed to the EIC Inbox.
Following Ken's discussion, Marcos Gonzales Harsha, Advisor to the Under Secretary of Science and Energy, presented the CEIC year-in-review with findings from the past year’s global investor engagements. Nine key challenges confronting the energy investment community were highlighted. These findings and the CEIC’s role in helping to remedy some of the challenges identified will be the focus of a report to be released in early 2017. The afternoon session was built around a technology showcase featuring four promising energy technology areas with high commercial potential, including Small Modular Reactors (SMR), Smart Mobility, Fuel Cells and Wave Energy.
True to form with previous LINKS meetings, this LINKS featured candid discussions with energy investors and the DOE on novel partnership opportunities that can spur greater investments in early-stage clean energy technologies. Energy investors in attendance encouraged the CEIC to explore the options and authorities available to enable the DOE to take a more active role in guiding early-stage companies to commercial outcomes (e.g. by 0aligning commercialization incentives by taking equity positions). In addition, attendees encouraged DOE to engage the Small Business Administration (SBA) on how to expand the federal definition of ‘impact-investing’ to support clean energy investments through the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program. The discussion resulted in a further suggestion to design a platform to help startups learn about options regarding access to equity and debt mechanisms. This investor feedback is at the heart of the CEIC’s mission to offer technical and resource assistance to stakeholders to spur greater investments in emerging energy technologies. The CEIC looks forward to incorporating these suggestions into its work plan in preparation for 2017 and beyond.
That’s it for now CEIC friends and followers! The CEIC would like to thank all stakeholders that helped make 2016 a successful year of positioning and strategizing. We have listened to you all, and are prepared to work with you in order to streamline access to information and help unlock the vast potential of the global clean energy market. Be sure to connect with our labs through the LPS when it launches in January and stay tuned for our Investor Insights report. Happy Holidays!
The Clean Energy Investment Center is part of the Office of Technology Transitions, whose mission is to expand the commercial impact of DOE’s portfolio of Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment (RDD&D) activities over the short, medium and long term.