$200 Million for Your Smart Grid Ideas: GE Ecomagination Challenge

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Have a good idea for energy creation and distribution? GE and 4 prominent venture capital firms are offering up $200 million for winners of its Ecomagination Challenge in an effort to quicken development of a national smart grid. Perhaps you could be the winner?

“We know how to make things, we know how to sell things, we know how to service things,” GE’s chief executive Jeff Immelt said in a panel discussion about this competition in San Francisco on Tuesday morning. “We have a big brand, so let’s go.”

The Competition

Until September 30, smart-grid entrepreneurs can submit proposals in one of three areas:

• Maximizing penetration of clean energy into the grid.

• Improving the efficiency of the grid.

• Helping electricity customers use energy more wisely.

Representatives of GE and the investment partners (RockPort Capital, K.P.C.B., Foundation Capital and Emerald Technology) will decide which ideas to finance. Winners may even get a partnership deal with GE to develop and distribute the technology.

Visitors of the website can also vote on what they think are the top ideas. “The entry receiving the most user-submitted votes, will receive, subject to GE’s review for appropriate content, a cash award of $50,000,” the website states.

In addition, “GE will present each of five innovation challenge award recipients with $100,000 in cash, for a total of $500,000, to acknowledge these entries as examples of outstanding entrepreneurship and innovation.”

This looks like a great, private sector step to advance clean energy, energy efficiency and the smart grid in the US (and even worldwide). Kudos to GE and the investment partners for coming up with and implementing this idea.

“With this challenge we are inviting others to work with our partners and us to accelerate progress in creating a cleaner, more efficient and economically viable grid,” Mr. Immelt said. “We want to jump-start new ideas and deploy them on a scale that will modernize the electrical grid around the world.”

Have some great ideas? (I know some of you Cleantechnica readers do.) Head on over to the Ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid website.

Like this article? Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter

Image Credit: Screenshot of Ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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