GE Offering $200m for a Smart Energy Idea
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.