This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 29, 2006

States Offer Cash Prizes for Clean Energy Business Proposals

The latest trend in encouraging clean energy business development is actually a time-honored approach: award a cash prize. Both California and Massachusetts are currently offering significant cash prizes for clean energy business proposals. The California Clean Tech Open, launched on March 21st, invites the state's entrepreneurs to compete for $50,000 cash prizes in five categories, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, and transportation technologies. The winners will also receive professional services, including legal and accounting services, public relations consulting, and one year of office space, while the overall winner will win an additional $50,000. Applications are due by May 19th, and the finals will be held in late September. See the California Clean Tech Open press release and Web site.

In Massachusetts, the Ignite Clean Energy Competition—hosted by the MIT Enterprise Forum—is offering $125,000 to the best clean energy business proposal. The competition offers a series of networking, team building, training, and mentoring opportunities that culminate in a competition for the best investor presentations. The 29 semi-finalists are proposing to establish businesses involved in solar power, wind power, biofuels, waste energy recovery, and other technologies. The semi-finals are scheduled for April 11th, and the final competition will be held on May 9th. See the Ignite Clean Energy Web site and press release (PDF 138 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has long supported clean energy businesses through its Industry Growth Forums. At the 18th NREL Industry Growth Forum, held in San Francisco in November 2005, a $15,000 cash prize was awarded to a solar concentrator company. The next forum will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in October. NREL also established the National Alliance of Clean Business Incubators, which is dedicated to providing business and financial services tailored to the needs of the clean energy business community. See NREL's "Working with Entrepreneurs" Web site, the NREL Industry Growth Forum Web site, and the National Alliance of Clean Business Incubators Web site.