Clean Energy Technology Incubator Initiative Launched in Texas

For more information contact:
Kerry Masson, 303-275-4083
e:mail: Kerry Masson

Golden, Colo., Apr. 26, 2000 - The Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have formed a strategic alliance to support the growth and development of technology-based start-up companies in the energy sector.

ATI—a program of the IC2 Institute of The University of Texas at Austin—will provide qualified companies with strategic, financial and management services while immersing them in an energized business setting. NREL will build upon this expertise and leverage its relationships with international institutions, the venture capital community, multi-lateral lending institutions and national, state and local governments to help ATI jumpstart clean energy businesses in Texas.

A variety of Texas state agencies - including the State Energy Conservation Office, the General Land Office, the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, the Texas Energy Coordination Council and the Texas Department of Economic Development - are participating in the effort, as is the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association.

NREL and ATI are looking for companies that are technology based, poised for strong growth and less than 24 months from market entry. The alliance is interested in a broad range of company types, from technology-based spin-offs and fledgling start-ups to research-based companies. Technological areas of interest include renewable power generation, distributed generation and storage, power quality, communications and controls, fuel cells, energy conservation, clean energy-related information technology, end-use consumer products and distribution automation.

"We're asking potential businesses to review the selection criteria and submit an executive summary or business plan that demonstrates an innovative, technology-based product idea or business concept," said Dr. Joel Wiggins, director of ATI's operations. "If the information looks like it's a good fit for the clean energy initiative, ATI will help the candidate refine its plan for consideration into the incubator."

"Clean energy businesses offer great economic development potential for Texas," said Dub Taylor, Director of the State Energy Conservation Office. "The Texas electric utility restructuring law passed last year mandating 2000 megawatts of new renewable energy generation by 2009. This makes Texas one of the most attractive markets for renewable energy in North America and this Clean Energy Incubator initiative is timed perfectly to capitalize on a growing market."

Clean energy technologies are a new area of interest for ATI. "We're very excited to add clean energy as a new sector within ATI," said Wiggins. "We believe that technological change is impacting the energy industry, driven in part by the growing demand for electricity worldwide, the threat of climate change and the Internet economy. As we have seen with information and communications technologies, we believe the rewards are potentially huge for innovators and investors at the forefront of new, clean energy systems."

In the past four years, NREL has been helping move energy-based businesses from the research and development stage to market through a series of forums that put companies in touch with financial and business leaders. "The forums showed us just how difficult it is for entrepreneurial companies to make the transition from a technology-focused start-up to a market-focused business," said Dr. Marty Murphy, NREL Project Manager for the Clean Energy Technology Incubator Initiative.

"We want to make the same services that are available to the "" and telecommunica- tions companies, available to young clean energy companies. This alliance with ATI will help by immersing entrepreneurs in a business environment where the correct balance of market and technology development can move these companies successfully into the marketplace," Murphy said.

ATI is an internationally recognized business incubator with a solid reputation for transforming fledgling, technology-based companies into successful market-based enterprises. Since 1989, ATI has graduated more than 50 companies, five of which have gone public. These businesses have created more than 2,000 jobs with revenues approaching $900 million.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's premier laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research, development and technology deployment. NREL plans several similar renewable energy and energy efficiency incubator alliances around the country.

For more information about the ATI/NREL Clean Energy Incubator, contact Dr. Joel Wiggins, ATI at (512) 305-0033 or Dr. L. Marty Murphy, NREL at (303) 275-3050.


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