By Tim Ryan

In a recent move that heralds a brighter, more sustainable future, the Dominion Energy Innovation Center (DEIC) in Ashland, Virginia, has recently been awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This grant is part of a $3 million initiative aimed at incubators and accelerators nationwide to bolster the growth of clean energy tech startups. For the ambitious minds in Hampton Roads, this marks a beacon of opportunity and innovation as DEIC’s influential programs extend into our backyard.

The DEIC’s winning proposal includes a dynamic 10-week program tailored specifically to startups focusing on reducing the energy footprint of data centers—a critical challenge given the burgeoning digital economy and its associated energy demands. Alongside this, the DEIC plans to pilot a pre-accelerator mentoring program, offering hands-on guidance to nascent ventures in the clean energy sector. This initiative promises to nurture groundbreaking ideas and pave the way for their successful entry into the market.

For Innovate Hampton Roads, the DEIC’s achievement is a testament to the region’s growing influence in the clean energy domain and a call to action for local entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators. DEIC’s programs apply to Hampton Roads businesses and present an unprecedented opportunity for regional startups to leverage expert mentorship, financial support, and industry connections to scale their clean energy solutions.

This DOE grant, part of the Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Round 3, underscores a national recognition of the urgent need to support energy-efficient technologies’ commercial success and scalability. It reflects a collective effort to enhance local business productivity while steering the nation towards a more sustainable and energy-independent future.

As the DEIC gears up to roll out its programs, the time is ripe for entrepreneurs in Hampton Roads to engage with this initiative. Whether developing innovative solutions to reduce data center energy consumption or pioneering new clean energy technologies, the DEIC’s expanded presence in our region offers a fertile ground for innovation. This collaboration positions Hampton Roads at the forefront of the clean energy revolution and solidifies our commitment to nurturing an ecosystem where sustainable innovation thrives.

For those at the helm of clean energy startups or nurturing an idea that could redefine energy efficiency, the moment to step forward is now. The DEIC program, bolstered by DOE funding, is a gateway to transforming into tangible solutions that contribute an ambitious vision to a greener, more sustainable world. Let’s seize this opportunity to lead clean energy innovation, driving regional growth and environmental stewardship.

For further details, please visit the Department of Energy’s announcement page here.