As one the largest funders and performers of research and technology transfer in the country, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is a major part of the energy innovation “ecosystem,” supporting research, development, and demonstration (RD&D), technology transfer, technical assistance, and other activities, including through 17 DOE National Laboratories, four energy innovation hubs, and 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers. DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are not yet mature enough for private investment. Through competitive project selection processes, energy innovators can apply to receive funding, technical assistance, and market readiness assistance.

DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions, branded as the “front door” of DOE’s R&D and commercialization programs apparatus, defines DOE’s policy and vision for expanding the commercial impact of its research investments, and it streamlines information and access to DOE’s national labs and sites to foster partnerships that will move innovations from the labs into the marketplace.

Beyond DOE, other federal agencies invest in energy technologies, among them are the Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Transportation (DOT), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Within the DOD, the Strategic Environmental Technology R&D Program (SERDP) and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) have a significant energy technology focus. The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports a wide range of science and engineering research, including energy-related work. The U.S. Small Business Administration is also pertinent, including through the Small Business Innovative Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR and STTR) programs offered by federal R&D agencies and support of technology accelerators and other resources. The General Services Administration operates the GSA Proving Ground program to demonstrate and evaluate relevant building technologies. The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer offers a gateway to federally-supported technologies and technology transfer resources.

Greater and more systematic state-federal coordination and communication on energy technology RD&D offers multiple potential benefits: heightened understanding of state and local policy and market conditions that affect energy technology markets and commercialization opportunities; coordinating RD&D, technical and business assistance, and other resources; and increased ability to leverage state-level investments, financing, and incentives as cost-match for federally-supported technology and business development. State Energy Offices are encouraged to work through NASEO, the State Energy Advisory Board (STEAB), OTT, and other coordination bodies in order to learn about and support energy technology innovation and commercialization.

The following list describes select federal agencies and programs that may offer resources and opportunities for partnership for State Energy Offices interested in energy technology innovation and commercialization.

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Technology Transitions (OTT)

The Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) was established in 2015 to expand the commercial impact of the Department of Energy’s research and development portfolio to advance the economic, energy, and national security interests of the Nation. OTT offers the Lab Partnering Service, which provides access to experts, innovations and labs, and a technology commercialization fund. Learn more at https://www.energy.gov/technologytransitions/office-technology-transitions.

U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)

ARPA-E advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. ARPA-E projects develop new ways to generate, store, and use energy. Learn more at https://arpa-e.energy.gov/.

U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories

DOE's 17 national laboratories address large scale, complex research and development challenges with a multidisciplinary approach that places an emphasis on translating basic science to innovation. Through OTT’s Lab Partnering Service, investors (including State Energy Offices) can get connected with DOE national lab technical experts to answer questions and cultivate partnerships. Learn more at https://www.energy.gov/national-laboratories.

U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hubs

These integrated research centers combine basic and applied research with engineering to accelerate scientific discovery that addresses critical energy issues. Learn more at https://www.energy.gov/science-innovation/innovation/hubs

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Research Energy Frontier Research Centers

These Centers bring together multi-disciplinary scientific teams to tackle scientific challenges preventing advances in energy technologies, and they train the next-generation scientific workforce by attracting talented students and postdoctoral researchers interested in energy science. Learn more at https://science.osti.gov/bes/efrc/.

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

EERE consists of several offices that advance clean energy technologies, including in manufacturing, buildings, renewable power, and sustainable transportation. Learn more at https://www.energy.gov/eere/about-us/technology-areas-and-offices.

U.S. Small Business Administration SBIR/STTR Programs

The Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program provides funding opportunities for innovators and small businesses. The U.S. Department of Energy is a participant in both programs, designating R&D topics and accepting proposals. Learn more at https://www.sbir.gov/about.

U.S. Department of Defense, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP)

SERDP and ESTCP harness the latest science and technology to develop and demonstrate innovative, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions to meet DoD’s environmental challenges. Learn more at https://www.serdp-estcp.org/

Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC)

FLC is the formally chartered, nationwide network of over 300 federal laboratories, agencies, and research centers that fosters commercialization best practice strategies and opportunities for accelerating federal technologies from out of the labs and into the marketplace. Learn more at https://federallabs.org/.