Dubhe Imperial Black IPA brewed using wind and solar power. (at Busboys and Poets)
Piper Super Cub used by the Atomic Energy Commission to search for uranium over the mountain west during the 1950’s. Amazing all of the little things that went into making the bomb… (at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center)
Pepco - a Maryland utility - advertising on how it’s keeping up with climate change. (at Shady Grove Metro | Bus Stops)
Chicago has a thriving energy innovation ecosystem. Very unique to the region are its two support vehicles for startups: Energy Foundry - an investment fund for breakthroughs in smart grid - and Clean Energy Trust - which provides business support to early stage companies.
The message to policymakers from both was the same: the clean energy valley-of-death is real and it needs some policy support. The Valley is the gap in startup funding between lab research and deploring into the market. VCs see it as too risky to invest in. But it’s crucial to advancing breakthrough energy technologies.
The federal government has provided limited support for the Valley including ARPA-Es investment to develop proof-of-concept designs and SBIR grants to a degree, but much more is needed. This includes support to enhance technology transfer of National Lab research from lab to market. It also includes unique solutions to leverage state institutions like utilities to demonstrate new technologies in real world settings.
Investment in basic energy science is just not enough and it never has been across all modern day breakthroughs.