Denver – Today, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and John Hickenlooper (D) along with Colorado U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D) announced that the Colorado State University (CSU) Energy Institute will receive $1 million in new funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support energy innovation and commercialization in Colorado and the region. The award is part of the Department’s Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) and will provide essential resources to allow CSU’s Energy Institute to make an even bigger impact.

“Time and again, Colorado has proven itself as a leader in energy innovation,” said Bennet. “This award will foster a critical partnership between CSU, Innosphere Ventures, and partners across the West and Midwest to support economic growth and create jobs in the energy sector. I’m glad the DOE recognizes the hard work happening in Colorado to unlock new industries and technologies that benefit these communities.”

“This is great news,” said Hickenlooper. “CSU and communities across Colorado will benefit from investments in energy innovators and the growth of high-tech jobs.”

“I’m pleased to see Colorado State University awarded $1 million to invest in energy innovation and meet the specific needs of the Rocky Mountain Great Plains region, the award recognizes the innovation and ingenuity found at Colorado State University and across Colorado. Colorado’s 2nd district is a leader in energy innovation and earth science through world-class universities and laboratories and these funds will help unlock new technologies and new opportunities, bringing jobs and opportunity to the Fort Collins community,” said Neguse.  

This funding will help CSU create the Rockies/Plains Energy Accelerator for Commercializing Hardtech (REACH), in collaboration with Innosphere Ventures, the Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory (CERC) and 22 other committed ecosystem partners. REACH is tailored to the specific needs of the Rocky Mountains Great Plains region – an area spanning over 40% of the Lower Continental United States that produces 25% of the nation’s energy.

“Colorado’s innovation ecosystem is well-poised for acceleration to meet the need for clean, low-carbon technologies in order to meet the nation’s ambitious climate goals,” said Bryan Willson, executive director of the CSU Energy Institute. “The REACH accelerator will allow us to work with early-stage companies to help transition their technologies into viable businesses that can help meet these goals.”

Innosphere and CSU will plan, develop, and execute a growth strategy for energy innovation clusters throughout the region in partnership with public, private, non-profit, and higher education partners, and with support from CERC – Colorado’s inter-institutional partnership between CSU, University of Colorado – Boulder, Colorado School of Mines and the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“Taking the energy hardtech innovation model developed by CSU and Innosphere over the past decade to support early-stage founders is very significant from a regional collaboration standpoint,” said Mike Freeman, CEO of Innosphere Ventures. “We’re excited to work with leading research universities in the U.S. Mountain Plains region to support their mission of advancing economic development and innovation.”

EPIC is a $10 million funding opportunity created by the DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions to underscore the importance of regional clusters, which increase productivity of area companies, drive the direction and pace of innovation, and stimulate the formation of new businesses, further reinforcing the cluster itself. CSU is one of 10 recipients of the EPIC funding award.

For more information about the REACH partners:

Colorado State University Energy Institute: https://energy.colostate.edu

Innosphere Ventures: https://innosphereventures.org/

Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory: https://www.coloradocollaboratory.org/

For media inquiries regarding the REACH partners, reach out to Allison Vitt, Allison.Vitt@colostate.edu.