New York Launches Renewable Energy Incubator

A new collaborative venture in New York State is hoping to tap the economic promise of renewable energy by helping incubate RE businesses in the state at a time when state policies have become quite promising for the technologies.

Rochester, New York – July 8, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Leaders of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), High Tech Rochester, Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE), and Rochester Institute of Technology, announced the formation of the Renewable Energy Network of Entrepreneurs in Western New York (RENEW NY). RENEW NY is a collaborative effort focused on identifying, incubating and creating renewable energy companies in Western New York. Renewable energy sources include wind, hydro, solar, biomass and geothermal power. Governor George Pataki’s administration has helped create state policies that bode well for such a venture. “The establishment of RENEW NY is another step forward in carrying out Governor Pataki’s vision to promote energy efficiency, diversity and security, while protecting our environment, and improving our economy,” said NYSERDA President Peter R. Smith. “This Network will bring a unified approach to our mutual efforts in Western New York, and produce benefits for the entire State.” The incubator’s goal is to create a cluster of renewable energy companies in Western New York, defined as the geographic region west of Interstate 81, including the areas of Syracuse, Binghamton, Ithaca, Corning, Rochester and Buffalo. One of its primary goals is to market these firms to other companies throughout New York State, both for potential partnership opportunities and for business transactions. It will also assist firms in reaching out to a broader audience out of state. “RENEW NY demonstrates that Western New York can work together as a large region to compete more effectively in a large, rapidly growing industry sector,” said Paul Wetenhall, Executive Director of High Tech Rochester (HTR) and Project Director for RENEW NY. “Our renewable energy entrepreneurs will need world-class capabilities to compete successfully and this program will help them leverage the considerable resources of this region.” The incubator will create a catalogue of renewable energy companies and resources in the region and establish an inventory of all the clean-energy intellectual property available in the area. It will also match entrepreneurs with seed capital; assist with grants; provide coaching, mentoring, education and training; offer networking opportunities; and raise overall awareness of renewable energy companies in Western New York. “High-technology incubators are supporting businesses and creating jobs all across the country, but an incubator specifically designed to nurture clean- energy companies is a new concept,” said Michael Finney, President and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise. “With RENEW NY, Rochester is now home to one of the few clean-energy incubators in the country, reflecting once again that our region is on the cutting edge and reinforcing our position as a leading hub in the alternative energy and fuel cell industries.” Rochester is not the only region focused on clean energy in New York State — Albany is home to renewable energy companies as well. Smith noted that NYSERDA established the Saratoga Technology + Energy Park, (STEP, near Albany) last year to host clean-energy business and industry. The Park’s current structures are now full and new buildings are being developed. Funding for RENEW NY is provided by NYSERDA, which is contributing $150,000 toward the effort. Additional contributions come from HTR, GRE, RIT, and the Ennovasion Group, a Rochester-based consulting firm that will provide incubation and other services to RENEW NY client companies.

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