In 2013, private sector investors had largely withdrawn from the cleantech sector. Venture capital investment dropped significantly as investors learned that new energy technologies have much longer development timelines and higher capital needs than software start-up ventures. New models for delivering clean energy technologies to the market were needed for the sector to survive.
In 2016, the Energy Commission launched an initiative called the California Energy Innovation Ecosystem to support new clean energy technology ventures that could meet the requirements of the private sector. The ecosystem provides entrepreneurs with access to the networks, funding opportunities, mentoring, facilities, and expertise needed to take their inventions from the idea stage to the impact stage.
Programs and other activities under the California Energy Innovation Ecosystem are supported by the Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, which funds clean energy research.