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Contact: Public Affairs Department, (202) 482-4085
Wednesday, June 5, 2012

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3 Million to Expand Hawaii Alternative Energy and Biotechnology Incubator

WASHINGTON - U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson today announced a $3 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, to help expand its alternative energy and biotechnology incubator. The project is expected to create 985 jobs and generate $1 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

"This $3 million EDA investment in the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority is an example of the Obama Administration's commitment to investing in cutting-edge, job-creating technologies such as biotechnology and alternative energy sources that are part of an all-of-the-above approach to American energy," said Secretary Bryson. "The grant announced today will help Hawaii businesses develop their products and bring them to market, creating new jobs and spurring additional investment."

"Hawaii is at the forefront of clean energy research and development and the projects and initiatives underway in our islands will help lessen America's dependence on imported oil while diversifying our economy and creating new jobs," said Senator Daniel K. Inouye. "By experimenting with biotechnology and alternative energy sources at Keahole Point we can move our nation closer to a time when the majority of our power is generated from clean, sustainable sources. I would like to thank the administration for recognizing and supporting the important work being done in our islands."

"Expanding Hawaii's network of technology incubators and promoting renewable and alternative energy technologies will benefit our state's economy by creating new business and employment opportunities, reducing capital outflows for fuel purchase, and providing educational opportunities for our children," said Senator Daniel K. Akaka. "Since its establishment in 1974, the National Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA) has spawned successful green commercial enterprises in energy and marine-related ventures. The EDA grant highlights NELHA's proven successes in supporting entrepreneurs and early stage start-up companies. NELHA has helped advance our state as a global leader in research, development, and application of energy technologies and marine science."

The EDA investment helps fund the renovation of an existing business incubator located in NELHA's technology park in Kailua-Kona into an alternative energy and biotechnology demonstration incubator. The new facility will provide 10,000 square feet of leasable space in a LEED Silver certified building. The premises will provide space for business tenants that have completed the research stage for their products, but need further technology development and demonstration prior to commercialization.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.