The National Renewable Energy Lab, NREL for short, has been in existence since 1977. It was founded by the Carter administration as a reaction to the oil shocks of the mid-70s. It was the first acknowledgment by the federal government that our economic and national security interests demanded that we diversify our energy resources from exclusively fossil fuels to renewables. The clean energy economy was born!  In the 40+ years since the founding of the laboratory, the clean energy industry has experienced fits and starts but has ultimately developed into what today is a mature, well-funded industry that enjoys support from both the public and private sectors.  

Richard Adams, our guest on today’s episode, is the Director of the Innovations and Entrepreneurship Center at NREL and oversees two fascinating programs: The Innovation Incubator – a technology partnership with Wells Fargo and GCxN, a technology accelerator partnership with Shell. Richards’ position situates him at the crossroads of clean technology innovation and the public/public partnerships that fund and dictate the needs of much of that innovation. 

Richard’s insights into the evolution of the clean technology industry, the respective interests and responsibilities of the diverse entities that comprise the cleantech ecosystem, and the state of early-stage cleantech investing are driven by his day-to-day interactions with Shell, Wells Fargo, the other hundreds of NREL stakeholders, as well as with the early-stage cleantech innovators that he supports.
Tune in as we discuss:
  • The unique public-private partnerships that Richard has developed between NREL and Wells Fargo, and NREL and Shell
  • The business fundamentals, technological disruption curve, and organizational intangibles that characterize the typical NREL Innovation Incubator company
  • The typical program, curriculum, and opportunities that the Innovation Incubator provides to startups
  • Richard’s perspective on the future impact of today’s economic turbulence on the cleantech industry
  • …and more
Learn more about NREL here and register for the virtual NREL Industry Growth Forum which will be held April 29-30.
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