Some 201 small businesses in 34 states will receive a total of $188 million in new energy grants, the Department of Energy announced last week. The grants are intended to support development of prototype and pilot operations for innovative technologies that have successfully moved beyond the “proof-of-concept stage,” DOE says. The department selected projects that have strong potential for commercialization and job creation, it says. The awards fall into broad categories, according to DOE, including support for the “smart grid,” energy efficiency, high-performance computing, and advanced renewable-energy projects. For example, DOE says a Boulder, Colo., company will receive $999,655 to further develop a control system that allows communication among distributed energy systems in the home, such as rooftop solar panels, plug-in electric vehicles, and household devices that respond to varying electricity demand. DOE stresses the importance of small businesses, saying they employed 40% of the U.S. science and engineering workforce between 1993 and 2008.