DOE Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Alexander Karsner (who spoke at MIT earlier this semester), announced the creation of a new DOE "Entrepreneur-in-Residence" program this week, in which three entrepreneurs/VC's will be in residence at DOE Labs for the term of one-year to find and build companies around DOE technologies that are ready for start up prime time. The DOE will committ up to $300K to the program in its first year.
One more example of the new consensus that new venture creation will be at the core of solving our energy problems in our new energy era where climate and oil depletion/security have come to center stage. I credit Vinod Khosla's evangelism for getting this ball rolling. Even Nobel Laureate and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Director Steven Chu has been quoted as saying that scientists are realizing that publishing papers is not enough, a blasphemous thought to most scientists in the past.
This is one of a series of very interesting and exciting DOE initiatives designed to unlock the commercial potential of DOE's rich portfolio of energy research and researchers. For example, the DOE organized a Venture Capital Technology Showcase in Washington, DC to attended by a number of local energy investors and entrepreneurs.
And I have it on good authority that there are some other very exciting DOE energy entrepreneurship iniatives coming around the corner.... Stay tuned here for some interesting announcements in the near future! :)