Energy Department Program Links National Laboratories, Small Businesses

Date: March 11, 2016

First Round Of Voucher Awards Totaling $7 Million Will Go To 33 Companies

The Department of Energy announced this week that it will be distributing $20 million in vouchers to small businesses to develop clean energy technology through partnerships with the US national laboratories. Hundreds of businesses applied for the vouchers in the first round of competition to work with the 17 facilities, which include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Pacific Northwest Laboratory, and 33 small firms won nearly $7 million, the AP reports. Assistant Energy Secretary Dave Danielson said the US has a competitive advantage in the national labs, which have feature world class supercomputers, advance laser facilities, and some of the world’s leading scientists. Danielson told reporters, “But if we really want to accelerate our transition to a low-carbon economy, we have to accelerate the process of lab technology reaching the market and help our labs to collaborate with the private sector.” He said the department would seek to double the number of small business partnerships in the coming year, and that the companies can use the vouchers, which range from $50,000 to $300,000 for research assistance or collaboration.

What This Means For Small Business

Though government regulation often interferes with the enterprising nature of small businesses, sometimes the resources of government can help the small business community. The Energy Department’s Small Business Voucher program gives small businesses the chance to compete for access to the national labs’ world class facilities. The program is an excellent example of how the federal government can leverage its unique assets to give small businesses a leg up in a globally-competitive industry.

Additional Reading

The Energy Department vouchers are also covered by E&E News PM, the Albuquerque (NM) Journal, and the Imperial Valley (CA) News.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

Related Content: Small Business News | Energy | National

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