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By Staff on Jul 21, 2010 with 13 responses

GE Offering $200m for a Smart Energy Idea

Tags: GE, smart grid

GE is offering a $200 million dare to startup entrepreneurs, technology pros and other innovative thinkers: Find a way to “reinvent how energy is produced, distributed and consumed.”

That’s how Paul Koontz, a general partner with Foundation Capital, describes GE ecomagination’s new $200 million “Powering the Grid” challenge.

“Global power grids make up the largest networks in the world,” said Koontz, whose company is one of several partnering with GE on the challenge. “In most cases, the technology on which they are based is essentially 100 years old.”

That’s not good enough for 21st century society, according to GE. So the company is looking for the most innovative ideas it can find in three energy areas: grid efficiency, renewable energy and eco homes/eco buildings. The most promising entrants will get a chance to receive financial, technical and business support from GE and its challenge partners to help develop their ideas and bring them to the global market.

In addition to Foundation Capital, other companies investing in the GE ecomagination challege include Emerald Technology Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and RockPort Capital.

“This challenge is about collaboration and we are inviting others to help accelerate progress in creating a cleaner, more efficient and economically viable grid,” said Jeff Immelt, GE’s chairman and CEO. “We want to jump-start new ideas and deploy them on a scale that will modernise the electrical grid around the world.”

The challenge is open to any legal entity or individual aged 18 and up. Entries will be accepted over the next 10 weeks. In addition to entrants selected to work with GE on bringing their ideas to market, five entrants will be chosen as $100,000 innovation challenge award winners.

The GE ecomagination initiative is aimed at helping the world achieve a modern energy infrastructure that’s both efficient and “smart,” enabling two-way communications, automation and less energy waste across the grid.

“The electric power grid is the central nervous system of the global economy,” said Chuck McDermott, a general partner with RockPort Capital. “Though today’s grid is a 20th century engineering marvel, the smart grid of tomorrow promises to revolutionise how we manage our homes, offices and factories and to maximise the use of next-generation clean energy resources.”

Reproduced with permission from Greenbang.

  1. By Kit P on July 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    The only thing smart here is the marketing.  

     

    “That’s not good enough for 21st century society, according to GE.”

     

    If GM said putting four wheels on cars was ‘not good enough for 21st century society’ we would call them stupid.

     

    So far ‘smart’ grid concepts should be labeled expensive grid concepts based on expected rate of return on stuff that GE sells.

     

    I used to work for GE.  The were a great company that did many things well including marketing.  GE is very savvy at marketing to political correctness. 

     

    If it is not broke, do not fix it.  

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  2. By Jay B. on August 18, 2010 at 9:22 am

    It has been said well: “The electricity power grid is the central nervous system of the global economy.” I also agree that the grid is a 20th century engineering marvel and if it works we do not need to fix it (Kit P).
    On the other hand, I doubt if some entrepreneurs have such good developed R&D to solve this kind of challenge. GE may collaborate with some super experts but the whole project should be under GE managers supervising.

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  3. By Kit P on August 18, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Large multinational companies crush the
    life out of innovation. Certain tasks require a large degree of
    discipline. GE did not train me to come up with innovative ways to
    operate their reactors.

     

    When entrepreneurs would come up with
    good ideas, GE would buy the company, Put the GE brand on it, then
    market it around the world with great discipline. That is how they
    stay in business.

     

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  4. By poiboy45 on September 11, 2010 at 4:28 am

    I would like to take this challenge. I will do my best to get in touch with GE. In 2005 my partner recieved a Patent for a new way of creating electricity. Using this method, this generator was put into a large American vehicle. We achieved, 712 mpg and attained speeds of over 70 mph. We have video and paperwork to support this claim. It is 27 pounds, solid state, no moving parts, uses multi fuels to create heat to which is turned into electricity.

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  5. By Kit P on September 11, 2010 at 8:04 am

    I will do my best to get in touch with
    GE.

     

    There is a link above, it should not be
    that hard. BTW are all your funds tied up in Nigeria and you need an
    American to help transfer the funds?
    Cool

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  6. By Wendell Mercantile on September 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    GE is offering a $200 million dare to startup entrepreneurs, technology pros and other innovative thinkers: Find a way to “reinvent how energy is produced, distributed and consumed.”

     

    Kit,

    Aren’t you a world expert technology pro and innovative thinker?  I expect nothing less than to see you walk away with the $200 million award from GE’s dare.  If nothing else, your posts on Robert’s blog should qualify you for the prize. 

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  7. By Kit P on September 11, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    s that sarcasm Wendell? There are
    several problems with your statement.

     

    First, from GE’s web site,

     

    “the world’s toughest challenges –
    building the next-generation power grid to meet the needs of the 21st
    century.”

     

    The first problem is that I do not agree with the premise.  This is just GE marketing BS. The
    present generation US power grid is world class. The job of the
    electricity generating industry is provide reliable affordable
    electricity not turning off your hot water heater.

     

    The second problem is I no longer work
    for GE. I work for a competitor so any marketing ideas I have would
    be provided to my company.

     

    The third problem is supplying power is
    a matter of practicality and reliability. This does not preclude
    innovation but yesterday’s innovation is today’s SOP.

     

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  8. By paul-n on September 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    The first problem is that I do not agree with the premise.  This is just GE marketing BS. The

    present generation US power grid is world class. The job of the

    electricity generating industry is provide reliable affordable

    electricity not turning off your hot water heater.

     

    I am  actually in agreement with Kit here.  The whole smart grid thing seems to me a bit like a solution to a problem that does not exist.  It also seems like a great way for GE to sell lots of equipment that is not really needed.

    What is needed, if anything, is smarter consumers, and some simplification of some arcane rate structures (like at PG&E) so that even normal customers can understand them, and then start to change their patterns.

    I’ll also go the same with some of these “smart home” concepts, where you can control everything from you iphone, and see how much power you are using, and what it is costing, every minute of the day.  That may be great for a medium and larger commercial businesses (hotels, offices etc), but for a house it is an unnecessary complication.  Some time of day rates and usage is fine, but not everything needs to be app on an iphone.

    As far as the grid, and the customers go, I think the smart = simple + reliable, not complicated + high tech, and dependent upon “software”.

     

    Not to say, as Kit points out, there is no room for innovation, in generation, delivery and consumption, but this competition seems to asking for a magic bullet solution to a problem that does not exist.  It sounds like something from the marketing dept, not the engineering dept.

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  9. By Kit P on September 11, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Good old routine maintenance is one of
    those mundane aspects. A major outage in the west in 1996 and the
    north east US and Canada in 2003. Cost cutting results in poorly
    maintained power plants and transmission system are ripe for that hot
    day when the first failure causes a chain reaction. If you are
    trying to maintain the grid by dropping a million hot water heaters
    do not be surprised if that system is not maintained either.

     

    If you look at the good practices where
    the black out did not continue cascade, you will find indicators like
    trees being well trimmed under transmission lines and high rating for
    customer satisfaction. Good management is a win-win. Good for
    investors, good for rate payers.

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  10. By Kit P on September 11, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    One of the more mundane (learning from
    experience is not innovative just smart) but new design requirements
    imposed by FERC for new power plants is to ride through grid
    transients and not contribute to cascade failures. For example, if a
    power plant trips then voltage and frequency dip. If this transient
    causes subsequent power plants and transmission lines to trip and
    leading to a cascading failure.

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  11. By Wendell Mercantile on September 11, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    The first problem is that I do not agree with the premise.  This is just GE marketing BS. The present generation US power grid is world class. …supplying power is  a matter of practicality and reliability.

     

    Kit P.

    You should pass that on to GE.  I’m sure their bean-counters will be happy to find they don’t have to  “reinvent how energy is produced, distributed and consumed.” and can save the $200,000,000 reward the marketeers have put up. Perhaps they will share with you a million or two of the savings.  Wink

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  12. By Kit P on September 12, 2010 at 10:07 am

    “Perhaps they will share with you a
    million or two of the savings.”

     

    When I worked for GE I did receive
    several checks for costs savings but like I said I do not work for GE
    any more.

     

    Judging from Wendell’s sarcasm I
    suspect he has not even looked at GE web site. Kit P is always
    looking for innovative ideas. What I mostly find is snake oil
    salesmen or clueless idealists with dangerous ideas. If I found any
    great ideas I would have shared them here. So Wendell go look for
    the ideas at the GE web site and find what I missed.

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  13. By Imran Nawab on March 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Well i am planning for it …and i am taking these issues as my research area…hoping that i will reach to some conclusions …

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