Want to change the way the world uses energy? GE does, and with the Ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid, they’re asking for your help and ideas. GE and partners are awarding $200 million dollars to students, technologists and entrepreneurs who share the best collaborative proposals on how to transform the way we create, connect and use power. They’ve teamed up with renowned venture capital firms to help back the most promising ideas.
“The challenge is about collaboration and harnessing the promise of fledgling ideas and businesses to transform our energy future,” says GE CMO Beth Comstock. “We are confident in people’s willingness to change the way the world uses energy and in the ideas that will make this possible.”
Those ideas are coming from you. “The Smart Grid is a new platform and a new market that is just beginning to be explored,” says Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine and an advisor to the Challenge, which is open to anyone aged 18 years or older and all legally formed entities. “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.”
So how do you get involved? Enter the challenge at ecomagination.com/challenge. You can upload videos that present your ideas, and anyone can vote for the teams they believe in the most. Entries are evaluated as candidates for both a potential future commercial relationship with GE as well as a $100,000 innovation challenge award, for which there will be five recipients.
It’s essential that we modernize the world’s electrical infrastructure, support more renewable energy and increase energy efficiency. “Global electricity transmission and distribution systems have simply not kept pace with our society’s growing demand for clean and highly reliable power,” says Gina Domanig, Managing Partner of Emerald Technology Ventures. Foundation Capital General Partner Paul Koontz adds, “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 ideas that come out of the Ecomagination Challenge may also have a positive effect on energy creation and useage. “The opportunity to reinvent how energy is produced, distributed and consumed is extraordinarily large and is critical in the battle against climate change,” says Koontz. Ray Lane, Managing Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers adds, “We believe that Smart Grid is the information technology backbone that will enable faster scaling of energy innovations.”
So far, more than 1,000 ideas have been submitted from countries all over the world, and thousands are casting votes for their favorite innovations. Learn more about the three challenges here.
“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,” says RockPort Capital General Partner Chuck McDermott. “Working together we can transform yesterday’s grid into a 21st century marvel.”