GE has put up $200 million for an innovation experiment they’re calling an “Ecomagination Challenge“. The hope is that businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators and students will share their best ideas on how to build the next-generation power grid. The best ideas will get start-up demonstration funding.
There are 3 categories for topics:
- Renewable energy - new ways to generate the energy to meet our growing needs. Making the best use of the energy created by renewable resources is critical to a reliable supply of affordable energy.
- Grid Efficiencies – GE is looking at different grid technologies that help lower delivery losses and those that anticipate and monitor demand. Reducing losses frees up grid capacity, reduces the need for infrastructure capital expenditure, and protects consumers from steep rate increases. Reducing voltage eliminates the over-delivery of energy, so customers are not paying for unused energy.
- EcoHomes/EcoBuildings - smarter building practices and components that reduce energy demands. GE is already working on a wide range of promising technologies, including smart meters and appliances that let consumers’ appliances “talk” to their power utility; wireless AMI; home area networks; renewable integration tools; demand response systems; home energy use monitoring; time-of-use pricing; plug-in hybrid electric vehicle integration; and neighborhood micro grids. They’re looking for innovation.
Good ideas are being accepted at the website until Sept 30, 2010. You will be asked to register, and then write a clear, detailed proposal describing the idea. You retain intellectual property on the idea (but don’t post confidential information).
Once the idea is posted, the general public will vote on ideas that they consider the most promising smart grid technologies. GE will use those votes to decide which ones make economic sense. In late October, GE will announce those entrants with whom GE intends to pursue commercial relationships. In November, GE will announce any business deals with GE that have been formalized.