Attendees must apply in advance and be approved to attend. Additional information on how to apply is available here.
Separate from the one-on-one meetings, there is an opportunity to attend a presentation and Q&A on March 8 from 10:30 am – 11:30 am featuring KCPB team members Brook Porter, Wen Hsieh, and David Wells. Thanks to our friends at EBC, readers of Green VC can receive a discount to this event. Please select the "Partner Rate" ticket when registering online.
The one-on-one and general presentation session will be held at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, 650 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304.
The ecomagination Challenge seeks breakthrough ideas to create a smarter, cleaner, more efficient electric grid, and accelerate the adoption of more efficient grid technologies. Proposals are sought in three categories — Renewables, Grid and Eco Homes/Eco Buildings. This competition is open from now until September 30, 2010 to anyone aged 18 years or older and all legally formed entities. Entries may be submitted via the ecomagination Challenge website.
Selected entrants will be offered the opportunity to develop a commercial relationship with GE through:
Investment: The $200 million capital pledge of GE and its partners will be invested globally into promising start-ups and ideas
Validation: Evaluate entrant’s business strategy through in-depth discussions with GE’s technical and commercial teams
Distribution: Explore partnership opportunities with GE to scale a business and create global reach
Development: Leverage GE‘s technical infrastructure and GE Global Research Centers to accelerate technology and product development
Growth: Explore opportunities for utilizing existing GE customer to take Challenge products to market
In addition, five entrants will receive a $100,000 “innovation challenge award” acknowledging their entry as an example of outstanding entrepreneurship and innovation.
“Innovation is the engine of the global effort to transform the way we create, connect and use power,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. “At GE we have invested broadly and deeply in digital energy solutions and see this as a substantial market for us, but we can’t do it alone. We want to work with our partners to make sure we have a comprehensive digital energy offering. This challenge is about collaboration and we are inviting others to help accelerate progress in creating a cleaner, more efficient and economically viable grid. We want to jump-start new ideas and deploy them on a scale that will modernize the electrical grid around the world.”
GE CMO Beth Comstock said, “We took on a challenge when we launched ecomagination five years ago and we have learned about the power of partnerships to deliver clean energy solutions today. The challenge announced today is about collaboration and harnessing the promise of fledgling ideas and businesses to transform our energy future. We are confident in people’s willingness to change the way the world uses energy and in the ideas that will make this possible.”
“The Smart Grid is a new platform and a new market that is just beginning to be explored. Great ideas on how to do this can come from anywhere, so this competition is designed to tap the widest possible range of innovators, from big companies to entrepreneurs to students,” said Chris Anderson, who is serving as an advisor on the Challenge.
“Modernization of global electricity transmission and distribution systems have simply not kept pace with our society’s growing demand for clean and highly reliable power,” said Gina Domanig, Managing Partner of Emerald Technology Ventures. “Smart Grid innovation has been a significant area of investment focus for Emerald over the past decade and we are pleased to be a partner in the GE ecomagination Challenge.”
Foundation Capital General Partner Paul Koontz said, “Global power grids make up the largest networks in the world. In most cases, the technology on which they are based is essentially 100 years old. The opportunity to reinvent how energy is produced, distributed and consumed is extraordinarily large and is critical in the battle against climate change. We’re pleased to support GE’s initiative to engage the entrepreneurial community, and the powerful innovation engine it represents, in this effort.”
“Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is committed to a sustainable energy environment and are working to reduce the world’s dependency on fossil fuel-based energy through our growing portfolio of innovative Greentech companies,” said Ray Lane, Managing Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. We believe the Smart Grid is the information technology backbone that will enable faster scaling of energy innovations. Kleiner Perkins is proud to be a part of the GE ecomagination Challenge, and we are committed to working closely with GE and other investor partners to help commercialize the best Smart Grid innovations.”
RockPort Capital General Partner Chuck McDermott said, “The electric power grid is the central nervous system of the global economy. Though today’s grid is a 20th century engineering marvel, the smart grid of tomorrow promises to revolutionize how we manage our homes, offices and factories and to maximize the use of next-generation clean energy resources. Through this challenge, we will match the best ideas and best entrepreneurs with GE’s commitment to innovation, unparalleled technical knowledge and its deep penetration into the most vital areas of the world’s energy infrastructure. Working together we can transform yesterday’s grid into a 21st century marvel.”
A video of the formal announcement of the ecomagination Challenge follows below.
This event will feature a keynote address on the smart grid from Ellen Pao, Partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Following the keynote presentation there will be a panel session and networking. This program will take place from 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm at the La Jolla Marriott. For more information:
A brief note — The Office of the President-Elect announced this afternoon that President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden will meet on Tuesday, December 9 with former Vice President Al Gore in Chicago to discuss energy and climate change and how policies in this area can stimulate the economy and create jobs. Al Gore's current activities include serving as Partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Speaking at the Reuters Global Environment Summit in San Francisco, Kleiner partner Ajit Nazre said the firm has invested in an energy company there, but did not disclose further details.
"It’s in the business of producing electricity from cleaner sources," Nazre said. The company is working on projects that could produce up to 5 megawatts of power, he added.
The Reuters article also states that Nazre, who leads KPCB’s India investment initiative, is bullish on making clean energy investments in India and that the firm is also looking at investing in technologies that improve clean water resources and generate electricity from biomass and water in India. As previously reported by Green VC, KCPB is active in green technology investing, including the May 2008 launch of its $500 million Green Growth Fund and the November 2007 addition of Al Gore as Partner.
Mascoma Corporation, a Boston, Massachusetts-based company involved in the development and deployment of cellulosic ethanol technologies, announced ealier this week that it received a $49.5 million — $26 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and $23.5 million from the State of Michigan. The funds will be used for the development of a cellulosic fuel production facility in Kinross in Chippewa County, Michigan that uses non-food biomass to convert woodchips into fuel. Mascoma investors General Motors Corporation and Marathon Oil Corporation are also providing support for this project.
Mascoma will be working on this project with Marquette, Michigan-based JM Longyear. This partnership will involve the creation of a new company, Frontier Renewable Resources, which will own the project. Mascoma will also be working with Michigan State University and Michigan Technological University to adapt Mascoma’s technology and supply chain options for the Michigan feedstocks used in production. The Kinross facility will use sustainably harvested mixed hardwood chips and other non-food biomass materials as the raw material for the production of cellulosic fuel. The facility is expected to eventually produce 40 million gallons of ethanol and other fuel products annually.
"Michigan is proud to partner with Mascoma as a part of our commitment to lead the nation in alternative energy production," said Governor Granholm. "This company, and their partners, will create jobs in Michigan as they develop the next generation of cellulosic ethanol that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make fuel more affordable for our families."
"We’ve targeted industries like alternative energy to diversify Michigan’s economy and create new jobs," Michigan Economic Development Corporation President and CEO James C. Epolito said. "Innovative tools combined with effective partnerships are enabling us to attract high-tech companies like Mascoma and accelerate Michigan’s transformation."
"Mascoma is pleased and honored to receive this important funding from the DOE and the State of Michigan," said Bruce A. Jamerson, Chairman and CEO of Mascoma Corporation. "This funding will allow us to accelerate commercial production of low cost, low carbon fuel that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote energy independence," Jamerson continued.
"I applaud the decision by the Department of Energy and the state of Michigan to provide the incentives Mascoma needed to scale up the technology and accelerate construction of this facility here in Michigan," said Senator Carl Levin. "This investment in cutting-edge biofuel technology will create jobs in Michigan, and the incredible natural resources of the Upper Peninsula will help Mascoma to efficiently produce the next generation of fuels."
"Mascoma Corporation’s cellulosic fuel facility is a prime example of how Michigan continues to lead the way in solving our nation’s energy crisis while creating new jobs in a green economy," said Senator Debbie Stabenow. "I am pleased to work with the rest of the delegation and the State of Michigan to support Mascoma in their mission to develop low-carbon biofuels and reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
"Mascoma and the Department of Energy recognize the potential northern Michigan and our workforce hold for developing alternative energy sources," Congressman Bart Stupak said. "Mascoma’s proposed cellulosic fuels facility will be the first of its kind in the nation to produce ethanol from timber. This important federal-state-private partnership will put northern Michigan on the forefront of this developing technology, create hundreds of jobs in our community and the potential for many more. I am pleased to have played a role in helping to bring this significant investment to Chippewa County."
Silver Spring Networks, a Redwood City, California-based provider of Smart Grid technology solutions, announced ealier this week that it received a $75 million round of funding. This round, a portion of which has been reserved for strategic partners, was led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Green Growth Fund and included returning investors Foundation Capital, JVB Properties, and Northgate Capital. Ben Kortlang, co-manager of KPCB’s Green Growth Fund, will join the Silver Spring Networks Board of Directors and KPCB Partners John Doerr and Al Gore will join the Silver Spring Networks Advisory Board.
"Kleiner Perkins has a proven track record of backing winning technology companies that go on to be global leaders," said Scott Lang, President and CEO of Silver Spring Networks. "We are pleased that our systems and services are gaining such strong customer traction, and it’s great to have KPCB as an investor."
"Implementation of the Smart Grid is one of the most important clean technology initiatives of the coming decade," said John Doerr, KPCB Partner. "Silver Spring has emerged as the clear technology leader and Kleiner Perkins’ investment will help them expand globally."
"Silver Spring Networks has the only true Smart Grid platform which has been proven at scale," said KPCB Partner Ben Kortlang. "We believe Silver Spring’s technology will drive the deployment of the Smart Grid globally. Kleiner Perkins is proud to be an investor in this important company."
"This investment from Kleiner Perkins is a testament to Silver Spring’s technology and industry leadership," said Adam Grosser, Foundation Capital Managing Partner and founding investor.
Silver Spring Networks current customers include Florida Power & Light Company, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Modesto Irrigation District, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, and Consumers Energy.
"We are very pleased to have such prestigious investors join our team to assist Ausra in achieving its goals in the solar thermal energy market," said Bob Fishman, president, CEO and chairman of Ausra. "This round of financing will enable us to accelerate delivery of our technology to our customers."
"KERN Partners is excited to be investing in such a dynamic company that is poised to meet the growing demand for sustainable energy with its innovative and cost-competitive solar thermal technology," said Jim Nieuwenburg, general partner with KERN Partners.
Ausra said that it will use the funds from this financing for research and product development and commercial activities, including completing its 5 megawatt Kimberlina solar thermal power project near Bakersfield, California. This will be the first power plant in North America to use Ausra’s core technology – the Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) solar collector and steam generation system. Ausra is also developing a 177-megawatt CLFR power plant for Pacific Gas and Electric Company in central California.
Some background on Ausra is available in the following video, which is an interview by Alternative Energy HQ of Dr. David Mills, Ausra’s Chief Scientific Officer and Founder.