Hydropower

California Competition Courts Clean Energy Entrepreneurs

Organizers announced the inaugural California Clean Tech Open, a competition that will gather entrepreneurs in September to vie for the nation’s largest cash and service prize devoted to innovations that have a positive impact on the environment. Venture Capitol firms are backing the event partly as a way to identify new opportunities in clean and renewable energy.

“The city of San Francisco is a national leader in its support of programs that promote sustainable living and environmental improvement,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “The California Clean Tech Open creates an opportunity for the city to partner with area businesses to magnify these efforts, establish a new category of local industry and create an abundance of new, high-quality jobs for our residents. We’re honored to host this inaugural competition.” Venture capital firms invested more than $1.5 billion in clean technology companies in 2005. The wave of innovation in clean tech rivals the early days of similar technology growth drivers in California, including the semiconductor, personal computer and Internet. Initiated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Club of Northern California (MITCNC), the Clean Tech Open will help turn ideas into real businesses, creating new jobs as part of the expanding clean tech economy in California. The competition encourages professionals and students throughout the state to submit proposals and compete for prizes in five categories: California Investor Owned Utilities Energy Efficiency Prize, AMD Smart Power Prize, Lexus Transportation Prize, Agora Foundation Water Management Prize, and the Renewable Energy Prize, which has yet to be named. Judges selected from an elite panel of experts — including venture capitalists, researchers and faculty from the state’s leading universities and research laboratories and leading industrialists from related sectors — will select a winner in each category and an overall winner. “The Clean Tech Open convenes the state’s best and brightest minds to develop technological solutions to some extremely complex and important problems,” said Art Rosenfeld, California Energy Commissioner. “This is a competition with no losers. All of California, and the rest of the world, benefit when natural resources are used more efficiently.”