Jeff Immelt, GE CEO, made the announcement in San Francisco during a press event attended by 100 members of the green tech industrys. “We really believe this digital energy space is going to move fast and big as an economic proposition,” he said. “It also lays the groundwork for everything that needs to be done in an energy future, from nuclear to renewables. GE can offer 50 to 60 percent of the solutions. But the only way we can grow is by partnering with the venture community.”
Participants can submit ideas at http://challenge.ecomagination.com/ideas up to September 30. There are three categories for submissions: renewable energy, grid efficiency, and ecohomes/ecobuildings and entrants can submit as many ideas as they like in all three categories. GE says it is looking for detailed proposals “describing a smart grid technology that is both innovative and proprietary.”
According to the challenge’s website, “The entry receiving the most user-submitted votes, will receive, subject to GE’s review for appropriate content, a cash award of $50,000.” In addition, “GE will present each of five innovation challenge award recipients with $100,000 in cash, for a total of $500,000, to acknowledge these entries as examples of outstanding entrepreneurship and innovation.” Selected Ecomagination Challenge entrants will be offered the opportunity to develop a commercial relationship with GE.
The $200 million venture capital pledged by GE and its partners will be invested globally into promising start-ups and ideas
Immelt, who estimated that upgrading current infrastructure to a true global smart grid is a potential $15 billion business opportunity, added, “With this challenge we are inviting others to work with our partners and us to accelerate progress in creating a cleaner, more efficient and economically viable grid. We want to jump-start new ideas and deploy them on a scale that will modernize the electrical grid around the world.”