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$5 Million In Funding For Hawaii Energy Start-ups

The Hawaii-based Energy Excelerator program will open applications beginning June 1, 2014 for over $5 million in funding and other support to assist 14 companies. It wants to support innovative start-ups that can help build a better energy future for the state of Hawaii, where there are natural resources available but most energy production is still dependent upon fossil fuels.

Image Credit: Cristo Vlahos Wiki Commons

Image Credit: Cristo Vlahos (CC BY-SA 3.0 license)

“Our mission is two-fold. We aim to help Hawaii solve urgent problems in energy while supporting our entrepreneurial ecosystem and helping companies grow,” explained Dawn Lippert, Director of the Energy Excelerator.

Eight seed stage and six growth stage start-ups will be selected by September, 2014. The seed stage start-ups will receive $75,000 and be assigned mentors. The growth stage companies will receive up to $1 million dollars, but they have to match that with private investment as well.

Visit the online application page to learn more about the process.

Focus areas for the 2015 cohort of start-ups they want to support are:

  • Energy systems integration
  • Grid management
  • Transportation, such as vehicle charging
  • Farm and landowner energy management
  • Reducing water consumption
  • Energy systems resilience (making energy systems more secure)
  • Microgrids
  • Data Management
  • Business model improvement
  • Innovation in financing

The Energy Excelerator is a program of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR). It was launched in January of 2013; $30 million in funding by the Navy’s Office of Naval Research was provided in August of 2013. The Pacific International Center for High Technology Research was founded in 1983 to address Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil. The state of Hawaii has set a goal of having 70% clean energy by 2030.

Imported oil is costly and burning oil for electricity generates too much air pollution. Air pollution is of course harmful to the health of humans and the environment. Hawaii, as everyone knows, is also a very popular tourist destination due to its extraordinary natural beauty. For example, in March of 2014 there were about 728,000 visitors to Hawaii and they spent approximately $1.2 billion dollars. So it makes excellent sense for Hawaii to reduce air pollution to preserve its natural beauty and protect a robust tourism industry.

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