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Clean technology initiative signed into law by Washington Governor Gregoire

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law SSB 5921 which requires the governor to convene a temporary Clean Energy Leadership Council. The Council, in collaboration with a statewide, public-private alliance, will prepare a strategy for growing the clean energy technology sector in Washington state.

According to the bill, the Council is to submit an interim clean energy strategy and initial recommendations to the Governor and Legislature by December 1, 2009, and the final clean energy strategy and recommendations by December 1, 2010. The Department of Community Trade and Economic Development is to consider the clean energy strategy when preparing its application for federal state energy program funding and determining the type and number of projects to fund, and is to consult the Clean Energy Leadership Council prior to awarding federal energy stimulus funding for clean energy projects.

"We must coordinate the efforts of alternative energy entrepreneurs and innovators with public and private resources," said Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D–Kitsap County, primary sponsor of the bill. "This will help move their ideas into commercial application and create clean energy job opportunities."

Related external links (will open a new window):

  • View bill information for SSB 5921

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    Washington State Energy Summit - May 4, 2009

    Play your part in shaping Washington's clean energy economy. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) offers an unprecedented opportunity to use federal "stimulus" funds to advance our state's transition to a new clean energy economy.

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    Date(s): May 4, 2009 (Monday)
    Time: 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM
    Location: Washington State Convention & Trade Center - Seattle, Washington
    URL: http://wastateenergysummit2009.eventbrite.com/

    Description:

    Join your fellow business and community leaders from around the state to learn the latest about Recovery Act funding for clean energy programs.

    Keynote speakers include:
    • Chris Gregoire, Governor, State of Washington
    • Matt Rogers, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of Energy (invited)
    • Rogers Weed, Director, Washington State Department of Community, Trade & Economic Development

    Highlights of the full-day Washington State Energy Summit include:
    • Up-to-date information on funding sources and federal guidance
    • Networking and matchmaking opportunities for prospective competitive grant proposal partners
    • First look at the draft State Energy Program (SEP) funding plan that will invest over $60 million in state and local projects for the next two years

    Who should attend? Businesses interested in applying for federal clean energy funds, policy makers, and non-governmental organizations who want to know how the state can use ARRA dollars as a catalyst for the transition to a clean energy economy.

    Contact: Linda Alongi
    360.725.4031
    lindaa@cted.wa.gov

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    EnerG2 CEO offers venture capital advice in CNNMoney article

    CEO Rick Luebbe of EnerG2, a Seattle-based startup in the energy storage market, and nine other CEOs and venture capitalists offer advice on attracting venture funding in a recent CNNMoney article. EnerG2 raised $8.5 million from OVP Venture Partners and others for its nanoscale energy storage technology.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • The venture game: What investors want
    CNNMoney.com - USA - April 15, 2009
  • 10 steps to catch VC cash
    CNNMoney.com - USA - April 15, 2009

    Related WTC links:

  • EnerG2 is a WTC client
  • EnerG2 raises $8.5 M in financing round

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    3TIER opens offices in Germany, Australia and India

    3TIER, a Seattle-based provider of renewable energy assessment and power forecasting services, announced the expansion of its global operations with new offices in Germany, Australia and India. "These offices provide a 'local' presence for financiers, developers, operators or governments who need 3TIER's expertise in wind, solar and hydro assessment and forecasting," said Pascal Storck, Ph.D, president of global operations at 3TIER. Storck says the offices will help them develop partnerships in the rapidly growing markets of Europe, the Pacific Rim and India.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read more in the 3TIER press release [PDF]

    Related WTC links:

  • 3TIER is a WTC client
  • 3TIER launches global wind prospecting tool
  • 3TIER receives $10M in venture funding

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    WSU/WCTA event: The Smart Grid: Powerful ideas for keeping us cool, connected, and competitive -- March 26, 2009

    Join national and statewide experts—leading figures in current strategy discussions—as they answer your questions about this vitally important energy infrastructure.

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    Date(s): March 26, 2009 (Thursday)
    Time: 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM
    Location: Rainier Club, Seattle
    URL: http://www.wacleantech.org/featuredevent.html
    Description: We expect electricity at the flip of a switch. But the electric power grid--marvel of the early 1900s--limped into the twenty-first century overworked, underdeveloped, and headed for a meltdown. What is a “smart grid,” and how will it affect our national competitiveness, our state’s economic viability, and your utility rates? Why is a smart grid central to President Obama’s stimulus plan? Join national and statewide experts—leading figures in current strategy discussions—as they answer your questions about this vitally important energy infrastructure.

    Contact: Co-sponsored by Washington State University and Washington Clean Technology Alliance
    877-978-3868
    info@wacleantech.org

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Register at the Washington Clean Technology Alliance

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    Washington's clean tech companies -- a list from Xconomy

    Xconomy, a business and technology publication, recently compiled a list of Washington's clean technology and alternative energy companies.

    Luke Timmerman, the national biotechnology editor for Xconomy, writes that they "defined the alternative energy industry broadly, including innovative developers of biofuels, solar power, wind, and energy storage, as well as technologies for hybrid vehicles and smart-grid applications and software for energy efficiency and conservation."

    WTC client companies on the list include 3TIER, Boeing, EnerG2, InnovaTek, Microsoft, and Neah Power Systems. Several speakers at Washington's Innovation Summit 2009 come from companies on the list (Blue Marble Energy, General Biodiesel, PACCAR, and Prometheus Energy).

    Xconomy compiled the list of more than 80 Washington companies with the assistance of several organizations and people: The Washington state Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development; the Washington Clean Technology Alliance; Rick LeFaivre of OVP Venture Partners; Eric Gertsman of the University of Washington; Jane Shaw of the Canadian Consulate’s office in Seattle; Pernick of Clean Edge; Gary Spanner of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA; and Kim Zentz of Sirti in Spokane, WA.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read the article and view the list at Xconomy

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC client list
  • Washington's Innovation Summit 2009

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    Funding opportunity: Dept. of Energy

    Opportunity title: 20% Wind by 2030: Overcoming the Challenges. This program provides funding that would focus on near- to medium-term actions to significantly accelerate use of wind energy technologies. A total of $8 million is available for an estimated 29 awards. Applications are due March 3, 2009.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • View the opportunity at the Dept. of Energy

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    Video: U.S. Congressman Jay Inslee on $90 billion stimulus for clean energy and green jobs

    Evergreenfilm.org presents a video interview recorded this week with U.S. Congressman Jay Inslee discussing the impact of the economic stimulus package on energy innovation. Inslee reports that $90 billion will be directed toward clean energy and green jobs.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Watch the video at Evergreenfilm.org

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    3TIER launches global wind prospecting tool

    3TIER, a Seattle-based provider of wind, solar and hydro energy assessment forecasting, announced expansion of its FirstLook® Prospecting tool, providing free access to average wind speed ranges throughout the world. “This intuitive and interactive tool provides a free, initial assessment of global wind resources,” says Kenneth Westrick, CEO and founder of 3TIER. “We developed this map as part of REmapping the World,™ a sophisticated renewable energy resource mapping initiative we launched in March 2008 to address the biggest barrier to global renewable energy adoption – the lack of information.”

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Read the 3TIER press release
  • Navigate the map at http://firstlook.3tier.com
  • Learn more about wind forecasting and 3TIER at The Wall Street Journal

    Related WTC links:

  • 3TIER is a WTC client
  • 3TIER receives $10M in venture funding

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    SolWest Renewable Energy Fair - July 24 to 26, 2009

    "Alternative Vehicles, Renewable Fuels" is the theme of the eleventh annual SolWest Renewable Energy Fair

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    Date(s): July 24, 2009 (Friday) to July 26, 2009 (Sunday)
    Time: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
    Location: Grant County Fairgrounds in John Day, Ore.
    URL: http://www.solwest.org

    Description: “Alternative Vehicles, Renewable Fuels” is the theme of the eleventh annual SolWest Renewable Energy Fair July 24-26, 2009 at the Grant County Fairgrounds in John Day, OR. Admission includes over 50 free workshops on both off-grid and grid-intertied renewable energy (RE) and sustainable living topics. In-depth pre-fair workshops will cover renewable energy technology and natural building. Fifty exhibitors show tools for energy independence and lifestyle self-reliance, including solar, wind and agricultural resources. Keynote speaker Jeff Mapes, author of “Pedaling Revolution,” will inspire you to view human-powered transportation as a healthy alternative. Cost is $5 per adult per day, with weekend, youth, and family discounts, volunteers and children under 12 free. Camping is available (free for volunteers).

    Contact: Jennifer Barker
    541-575-3633
    info@solwest.org

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    3TIER receives $10M in venture funding

    The venture funding will help Seattle-based 3TIER open offices in Europe and Asia and expand globally its forecasting and assessment products and services for weather-driven renewable energy resources (wind, hydro and solar power).

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • More in TechFlash

    Related WTC links:

  • 3TIER is a WTC client

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    Neah Power awarded $1.2M Navy grant, also buys SolCool One

    Neah Power Systems, a Bothell-based maker of fuel cells and power systems for portable electronic devices, announced it completed its first Office of Naval Research contract and received a second contract worth $1.2 million to aid in funding the development of Neah Power's unique methanol-based fuel cell. The company also announced its purchase of SolCool One, a leader in the solar air conditioning industry, with an established manufacturing partner in China.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • More details in Neah Power's press release archive

    Related WTC links:

  • Neah Power is a WTC client

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    Evergreen Film and Website Launched

    Evergreen: The Washington Clean Tech Story features more than forty conversations with clean tech leaders in the state of Washington including the Governor, mayors, entrepreneurs and green collar job holders. The film was produced by the Washington Clean Technology Alliance and Seattle’s More Dust Than Digital Films.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Visit Evergreenfilm.org

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    EnerG2 raises $8.5 M in financing round

    EnerG2, a Seattle-based startup in the energy storage market, announced the company has raised $8.5 million in a Series A financing round led by OVP Venture Partners of Kirkland and Firelake Capital Management of Palo Alto, California. EnerG2 uses University of Washington technology to create ultracapacitors which store and release more energy faster than conventional batteries.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • More in the EnerG2 press release
  • More in TechFlash
  • More in Xconomy
  • More in Seattle Times

    Related WTC links:

  • EnerG2 is a WTC client

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    Seattle/Puget Sound Wave and Tidal Energy Symposium

    Some 90 participants spent a full day at Bell Harbor Conference Center on September 22, 2008 hearing about the opportunities and challenges of producing energy from ocean and tidal resources.

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    Speakers included Steve Klein, the CEO of Snohomish PUD, who spoke about its plans for pilots on both tidal energy and geothermal sources, Roger Garratt, the Director of Resource Acquisition and Emerging Technology at Puget Sound Energy, who emphasized the urgency of finding alternative energy sources to meet the Renewable Portfolio Standards for Washington, and a range of speakers from both the United Kingdom and the State of Washington covering topics from operating demonstrations, through early stage design of new technology to legislation and environmental permitting.

    The Pacific Northwest is identified as the region with most potential in the United States for wave and tidal power generation. However, we are still in the early stages of pinpointing the most promising sites around Puget Sound and along the ocean coasts. Significantly more data and research is required to assess the possible impacts on the marine environment. The UK has been piloting a range of wave/tidal generators since the mid-1990's and is building some valuable experience. They are also conscious of the concentrated effort required to bring together the range of specialties and interests to allow a pilot. One UK speaker talking of a pilot turbine in Northern Ireland commented- "Strangford Lough is an inland body of water surrounded by committees."

    At the end of the symposium there was considerable interest in building ways of staying in touch and sharing information so that we can collaborate and accelerate the innovation path for this energy source. Washington Technology Center is identifying how best to support that effort.

    The symposium formed part of a UK trade mission that was going on to meetings in Oregon and attending the Oregon Wave Energy Conference later in the week. It was planned and delivered through the collective support of UK Trade & Investment, Port of Seattle, Washington Clean Technology Alliance, Washington Technology Center, and Washington State Department of Community Trade and Economic Development.

    Contributed by Graham Evans

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    Energy Companies Get New Source of Seed Capital

    Early-stage companies working on energy-related technologies may soon experience a surge of seed funding from a new industry-focused angel group. Northwest Energy Angel Group, a regional angel investor group, is aiming to provide the financial fuel to get these new power ventures up and running.

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    The Northwest Energy Angel Group got its start from mindshare among two Washington Technology Center programs: the WTC Angel Network and the Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative (NWETC). There was a strong interest from Angel Network investors to explore industry-specific angel groups. At the same time, energy entrepreneurs working with the NWETC expressed a need for easier access to seed capital. The result was Northwest Energy Angels –- a cross-border, regional investment group that focuses on energy-related ventures.

    Martin Tobias, a partner with Ignition Corp., a Northwest-based venture capital firm, and president of Seattle Biodiesel, is a founding member and was instrumental in getting the group formed. "Energy efficiency and new sources of power are some of the most critical needs facing the world today. Innovation in these areas is especially strong in the northwest," notes Tobias. "The region has entrepreneurs and researchers working in this space, and passionate, knowledgeable investors and supporters that can help young companies grow. An energy-focused investment group is a natural next step to moving this forward," adds Tobias.

    Industry-specific angel investing is attractive on many levels. The investors are like-minded and knowledgeable about the sector and technology. This can go a long way in stimulating deal flow and helping companies get the funding and mentorship needed to penetrate the market.

    The Northwest Energy Angel Group has 19 active members and hopes to expand that number by year's end.

    To date, the group has heard proposals from nine energy companies and has funded one company. Another deal is near completion. The group meets six times a year in Seattle, and plans to host additional meetings in locations around the Northwest including Portland and British Columbia. Each meeting will feature three to four companies that have been pre-screened for investment.

    Private investors, or "angels," are critical to the success of start-ups. They are often the first outside financing that early-stage companies receive beyond what they can raise from family or friends. VCs and utilities tend to be later-stage adopters. They are more interested in funding the companies that are further along in their business development. Angel investment is vital for the viability of these next-generation energy ventures. Without this early-stage funding, many of these opportunities would never get off the ground.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Northwest Energy Angels

    Related WTC links:

  • NWETC.com

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  • WTC Client Profile: WTC's Business Services Help EnerG2 Define Market Niche

    EnerG2 is an early-stage nano composite company based in Seattle. Co-founded in 2003 by two seasoned entrepreneurs with Stanford MBAs, the company's proprietary technology is based on unique activated carbons. This material is an ideal conduit in a wide range of industrial, environmental, military and medical applications.

    In 2004, EnerG2 teamed with Dr. Guozhong Cao, an Associate Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering department at the University of Washington, to develop the engineer-ability and performance of their proprietary carbon-based material. Dr. Cao was familiar with Washington Technology Center (WTC) and suggested they collectively apply for a research grant from WTC to supplement the research and development costs. Over the course of two years, the team received $140,000 in grant funding from WTC to complete their research.

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    The attractiveness of EnerG2's product is that it easily adapts to a variety of applications. The unique properties of the nano-engineered carbon allow its porosity and surface-area to be fine-tuned and customized for a wide array of uses. For EnerG2, a key success factor was identifying which of these markets was the best match for their technology and would provide sustainable growth for the company in the long and short term.

    Through WTC's grant program, the company was given the option of applying a portion of their cash matching requirement to consulting services. EnerG2 executives Rick Luebbe and Chris Wheaton recognized this as a unique opportunity. They saw genuine added value in being able to leverage the broad-based experience and connections of the Washington Technology Center to accomplish much of the legwork needed to move the company forward.

    "After completing our research project, we gave a presentation to WTC's advisory board and got excellent feedback on markets for our technology. From that input, we had a better understanding of the importance of identifying early-stage market opportunities," says Rick Luebbe, EnerG2's co-founder and chief executive officer.

    According to Luebbe, he and Wheaton felt a consulting contract with WTC had three key advantages. "First, we wanted to access the knowledge base and resources of the Washington Technology Center. Second, it provided the opportunity to delegate the fundamental 'blocking and tackling' work that needed to be done to take the company to the next level, and third, we wanted to utilize Elaine's specific experience in business planning and venture capital funding."

    "EnerG2 was smart in how they chose to use our services," notes Elaine Kong, manager of WTC's business consulting services program. "We settled on a three-pronged approach to getting the information we needed to move forward. The first was market research, the second was business planning and the third was a strategy for industrial-scale manufacturing."

    "We literally made a list of the things we needed to do," explains Luebbe. "Elaine reviewed the list and indicated where she could contribute the most, and from there, we jointly came up with a game plan."

    Specifically, EnerG2 needed to identify short-, mid- and long-term markets for their technology and roll this into their business plan before going after capital investment. They also wanted to address the issue of manufacturing scalability to ensure the company could meet industrial demand for the product.

    During their research work with Dr. Cao, EnerG2's product proved to be an optimal absorbing material for industrial gas storage. The company's original plan was to go after the hydrogen market. This gas is attracting growing interest across the globe as a driving force in clean energy production. However, the hydrogen economy is proving challenging due t technical barriers and is still many years away, classifying it as a late-stage market opportunity.

    The company was interested in three primary markets for high performance activated carbons: industrial gas storage, filters and super capacitors. Elaine and her team weighed the opportunities and barriers for each of these markets against EnerG2's technology. Industrial gas storage technology has changed very little over the past 50 years. This market has low incentive for change and high regulation and compliance requirements. The bulk nature of the filter market makes its price point too low for the sophistication of EnerG2's product.

    Elaine recommended that the company pursue the makers of super capacitors in the short-term. Super capacitors are an ideal match for the company's technology and are a high-end market with a premium pricing strategy that can better absorb the cost of technology development and product customization. In addition, the super capacitor market has manufacturers who are ready to buy the material now. This strategy also allows the company to maintain its core mission as an energy company. Short-term, the focus will be electrical energy; long-term, the adaptability of EnerG2's product can easily be transitioned to hydrogen gas storage when that market is more mature.

    Once the market analysis was completed, Elaine put her extensive connections to work for Luebbe and Wheaton. This included introducing them to pioneers in the field of industrial engineering who could share experiences in manufacturing scalability, experts in the super capacitor space, venture capitalists that could help prepare them for future funding rounds, and suppliers looking for novel carbon materials.

    "This saved us valuable time in having to do this research ourselves," notes Luebbe. "In many instances, WTC already had the relationships in place, so it was much easier to connect with these people and build our business contact network."
    Kong concurs. "Rick and Chris were able to use the flexibility and personalized nature of WTC's services to their full advantage. Our niche is that we act as a business strategy and market research arm for companies," she adds. "This frees up the time of the executive team to put their efforts elsewhere, where they're most needed."

    "What also helped is that they were very clear on their goals," explains Kong. "This helped us focus our efforts and accomplish key milestones more quickly and efficiently."

    WTC's cross-functional service model is targeted to entrepreneurial businesses. Customers can get plugged into WTC's network and gain access to a wide range of resources that will help them through each step of their company's growth cycle.
    In EnerG2's case, the company received both grant funding and expert consulting in business growth strategy. Next steps within WTC might include a funding proposal through WTC's energy angel investment group, Northwest Energy Angels, or participation in the Northwest Energy Showcase or Northwest EnVenture, two commercialization programs run by the Northwest Energy Collaborative, part of WTC's industry initiative program.

    "We have an entire suite of services that caters to the needs of entrepreneurial and growth-focused companies," explains Kong. "Just as you would choose an investment portfolio for your financial future, companies can customize WTC's programs to fit their needs." WTC offers research grants, education and information on federal funding programs, seed capital through its angel network, and personalized consulting through its business consulting services. "We want our clients to know that WTC can help them at multiples stages in their development," emphasizes Kong.

    In the end, EnerG2 achieved three critical milestones through their work with WTC's business consultants. They clearly established markets that were a good fit for their technology; they gained access to valuable experts in their field and built key relationships with potential customers and partners; and they outlined the main components of their new business plan. The company's next steps are to continue to leverage the relationships they developed through WTC's assistance and take their newly-minted business strategy before investors in late 2006.

    Related WTC links:

  • EnerG2 is a WTC client
  • WTC Business Consulting

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  • Evolving Best Practices Can Remove Barriers to Entry for New Energy Technologies

    What's the biggest challenge facing new energy technologies today? Red tape. The colloquial nature of the term, which dates back to the 18th century and refers to the color of the cloth tape bound around stacks of official documents, is aptly fitting. Archaic local permitting procedures are limiting the ability of many innovative clean and alternative energy providers to get their products and services to market.

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    Take for example solar photovoltaic (pv) cells. Solar power has been around since the late 1960s. Yet, 40 years later, solar pv installations still pose regulatory challenges for providers.

    Recently, a Washington high school wanted to install solar panels on the roof of one of their buildings to decrease energy costs. However, city officials delayed the work until they could conduct their own inspection of the project. This was in addition to the utility company's inspection. Hardly worth the time, effort and cost for equipment weighing less than 50 pounds. Even more surprising was the insistence by the city to conduct their own study rather than granting the necessary permits based on existing standards or best practices around this type of installation.

    Fuel cell installation faces similar challenges. Hydrogen is one of the most cost-effective clean energy solutions available. Yet uncertainty around storage of the gas has translated into excessive safety regulations. Propose a hydrogen fuel cell installation and you get a reaction on the scale of someone trying to dock the Hindenburg at the town hall. Yet welding shops typically store ten times the amount of hydrogen than what's required for fuel cells. Biodiesel processing plants are another example. Biodiesel is a highly effective, clean energy solution whose base product is vegetable oil with very little, if any, environmental risk. Yet, often these processing plants are subjected to the same regulatory restraints as a fossil fuel refinery.

    For start-ups with limited capital, getting to market with their products is critical. Field tests for new energy technologies can take upwards of six months; sometimes as long as 18 months. This is a significant barrier to entry for these small companies. Delays of this length can result in lost sales and impact the thin cash flow of start-ups. Poised for Profit, a study commissioned by Pacific Northwest utilities and economic development agencies, surveyed hundreds of start-up companies on top barriers to entry. The number one barrier cited by these energy companies is government regulations.

    Cities can work effectively with these energy companies to break through this red tape. Just a few steps can create a more business-friendly environment for energy technologies:

    1. Be proactive. Don't wait for the technology to show up. Think about that line from the baseball movie Field of Dreams: "If you build it, they will come." With a little forethought and planning, cities can evaluate these energy products and businesses and adopt standards that lead to faster permitting and more streamlined regulatory compliance. Zoning is also important. Cities should plan where these energy technologies could be sited.

    2. Don't reinvent the wheel. Much of the work surrounding best practices for new energy technologies such as biodiesel, fuel cells, solar, wind and other alternative power has already been done. There are great model ordinances out there that can easily be adopted by municipalities. The U.S. Hydrogen Association catalogues a number of resources on their website. Massachusetts' Solar to Market Initiative has paved the way for pv installations in more than 90 cities, and Philadelphia's Million Solar Roofs Community Partnership references a DOE-supported handbook, Bringing Solar Energy to the Planned Community, detailing rooftop pv installations.

    3. Provide an Incentive. There is little motivation for utilities to embrace new energy solutions. The pay out rate is the same regardless of the method. Use meters as an example. Utilities receive the same profit margin whether the meter is manual or digital. By offering incentives to utilities that buy and install more energy efficient products and services, it increases the likelihood that these technologies will be absorbed into the mainstream marketplace.

    4. Think long term. Most cities have economic development plans in place. Conservation should be at the forefront of these plans. Cities need to look beyond the short-term and consider life-cycle costs. It may be more effective in the long term to run critical applications off of a fuel cell versus relying on a diesel generator, which backs up all energy sources, but may be unnecessary as well as costly.

    5. Lead by example. Governments stand to benefit from alternative energy solutions just as much as private sector. Determining how city operations could be improved through the use of cleaner and more efficient energy sources should be a priority. And the purchase of these energy technologies should be build into the government's procurement programs.

    These five action items could go a long way in accelerating the adoption of new energy technologies. By taking a more proactive stance in permitting, regulation, and procurement, Pacific Northwest cities will open the door for more companies to develop and commercialize clean, efficient and renewable energy solutions. And, in the end, these cities will benefit from new jobs based on cleaner and sustainable energies.

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    Cross-Border Bio-Diesel Project Converts Restaurant Waste Oil into Clean Energy Fuel

    "Fast food" takes on a whole new meaning thanks to an innovative project that will convert the fryer oil from restaurants and food production into a cleaner bio-diesel fuel for commercial utility vehicles.

    The Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative (NWETC), an outgrowth of the Washington Technology Center's Industries of Distinction program, received a $69,777 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct the Bio-Diesel 49 Degrees Border Project (Bio49).

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    Bio49 is a response to the EPA's "West Coast Collaborative," an initiative working to reduce diesel air pollution. The project derives its name from the 49th parallel latitude that crosses the U.S-Canada border near Washington state and British Columbia. The EPA grant, along with matching funds totaling $280,000, will be used to launch and fund the Bio49 project for one year.

    The Bio-Diesel 49 Project is an ideal model of a business enterprise that blends technology innovation with environmental health and safety. Producing bio-diesel fuel for the commercial market creates industry growth and jobs, repurposes a waste product into a raw material, and offers a solution for cleaner air. It's truly a win-win-win situation.

    Bio49 aims to product 144,000 gallons of bio-diesel fuel in its first year of operation. This will replace 12,000 gallons of on-road diesel fuel each month with cleaner burning bio-diesel, reducing diesel emissions in the process. Replacing sulfur-based diesel with bio-diesel reduces emissions of particulate matter by 31 percent, carbon dioxide emissions by 24 percent, and hydrocarbons by 50 percent.

    Bio49 creates a new revenue stream for waste oil, used as raw ingredient for the bio-fuel production, and serves as a model for workforce training programs in automotive and diesel manufacturing at technical and vocational schools. In addition, Bio49 aims to position the Northwest as a global leader in alternative energy resources and create a sustainable bio-diesel industry in the region.

    The program and grant were announced at a press conference on October 3, 2005 hosted by Senator Maria Cantwell. The project will officially begin in January 2006, with bio-diesel production up and running, training underway and fuel being delivered to the utilities for use in their vehicles.

    Bio49 involves 11 bi-national partners who are collaborating to produce and market bio-diesel fuel for commercial vehicles and develop a bio-diesel industry in the Pacific Northwest. Puget Sound Energy will use the fuel in a fleet of their utility vehicles that run along the U.S.-Canada border, testing various blends of the fuel ranging from 5 percent to 100 percent bio-diesel. Bio-diesel processors will be set up at Bellingham Technical College and students will be training on how to perform the process, which will be incorporated into the college's academic curricula. The Washington Restaurant Association will be providing the used food oil, the base material, for the bio-diesel processing.

    A parallel program will be set up with BC Hydro and partners in British Columbia. The processors and training are being provided by Bio-Diesel Works, a Bellingham company for both Washington and British Columbia. NWETC will oversee and manage the project and, with the help of WTC, will provide outreach and education on the program to stakeholders, the public and the media.

    Related WTC links:

  • NWETC.com

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  • Northwest Energy Technology Showcase (NETS), 8/23/2005, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

    This showcase highlights the latest technologies and commercial products from emerging northwest energy companies. NETS offers energy entrepreneurs the rare opportunity to talk about who they are, what they do, how they do it, and the overall benefits to utilities and the energy sector as a whole.

    Register before June 30 and attend the entire conference for $125. Regular admission is $150.

    Related WTC links:

  • NWETC.com

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  • EnVenture Northwest, 8/22/2005, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

    Energy technology companies can take advantage of this exclusive opportunity to present their business plan directly to equity investors. The selected companies will undergo screening and coaching by an expert panel of angel investors and venture capitalists prior to this high-caliber forum.

    Related WTC links:

  • NWETC.com

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  • SBIR Funding for Energy R&D;, 8/22/2005, 8 a.m. - Noon

    The Department of Energy awards $95 million in funding each year to companies working on energy-related technology research & development. This half-day workshop helps companies understand how federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs work and how to apply for funding.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC SBIR Program

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  • Regional Academic Forum, 8/22/2005, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

    A platform for academic researchers and industry leaders to discuss strategic partnerships and R&D; initiatives relating to the region's emerging energy sector.

    Related WTC links:

  • NWETC.com

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  • Northwest Energy Symposium -- August 22-23, 2005

    August 22-23, 2005
    Doubletree Hotel, Lloyd Center
    Portland, Oregon

    A 'power' ful look at the Pacific Northwest's most promising new energy technologies. Find out what it takes to fuel innovation in this emerging market. The Northwest Energy Symposium is a comprehensive conference offering programs on research activities, private investment, and government funding opportunities to accelerate energy industry development.

    Related WTC links:

  • NWETC.com

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  • Energy Industry Plan in the Works for Washington

    A new plan to capitalize on Washington's strengths in energy resources and technology innovation could soon spell success for our state with respect to becoming a power player in the global energy market.

    The Washington State Office of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED) and Washington Technology Center (WTC) hosted a renewable energy & energy efficiency forum in November 2004 at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash. The purpose of the forum was to gather input on developing a statewide strategy for Washington's energy future.

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    The forum, which took the form of a large-scale focus group of energy industry representatives, technology entrepreneurs, utility companies, and government leaders addressed a range of topics that touched on renewable energy and energy efficiency challenges and opportunities for Washington.

    The Washington State Legislature has tasked WTC with developing a report that outlines a renewable energy and energy efficiency plan for the state. The report will outline opportunities in the energy technology sector and suggest actions items for capitalizing on the state's strengths with respect to new commercial markets in this industry.

    The forum provided an opportunity for stakeholders, industry experts and technology companies working on energy innovations to discuss the potential to develop and commercialize sustainable, renewable energy and energy efficient products through such emerging alternative power sources as wind, biomass and bio fuel.

    From this session, Washington Technology Center compiled information to create a draft plan for renewable energy and energy efficiency Strategy for Washington. The plan was reviewed and revised following a public comment period in December. The revised draft plan is being presented to the Washington State Legislature in January. The final report on renewable energy and energy efficiency opportunities for Washington is slated for public release in March.

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    Energy companies to unveil new power products at conference in Canada

    A dozen of the best new energy technology companies in the Pacific Northwest presented their technology at the first annual Northwest Energy Technology Showcase (NETS) July 13, 2004 in Victoria, British Columbia. Key decision makers from utilities, governments and industry from Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest attended the NETS conference, an annual energy event where emerging energy technology companies from the Pacific Northwest Region debut innovative products preparing to launch in the energy market.

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    The Pacific Northwest is experiencing a significant share of the global market activity in new energy technology development. Natural resources combined with strong innovation and world-class research facilities make this region particularly competitive in this industry. New jobs in the new energy technology sector could reach 30,000 by 2010, making this industry as dominant as software or aerospace.

    This year, the following 12 companies from Washington, Oregon and Canada displayed their technologies at the NETS conference:

    AquaEnergy Group Ltd (Mercer Island, WA)

    Heuristic Engineering Inc (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

    InPowerSoft Corporation (Vancouver, WA)

    Lignol Innovations Corporation (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

    Mariah Energy Corp (Calgary, AB, Canada)

    PCS UtiliData (Spokane, WA)

    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, WA)

    ReliOn Inc (Spokane, WA)

    Severon Corporation (Hillsboro, OR)

    Tantalus Systems Corp (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

    3TIER Environmental Forecast Group Inc. (Seattle, Washington)

    WestTech Energy Inc (Kelowna, BC, Canada)

    NETS is the first part of a two-day series of events organized by the Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative (NWETC), a joint effort of business, government, non-profit, and educational institutions committed to accelerating the emergence and growth of the energy technology industry in the Pacific Northwest region.

    On July 14, 2004, early to mid-stage energy technology companies were invited to attend the "EnVenture Northwest Boot Camp," which gave energy technology companies in the Pacific Region the opportunity to present to the venture firms interested in funding this level of industry development.

    Events such as NETS and EnVenture Northwest provide an entrepreneurial and collaborative forum for these energy technology companies to tap into a global energy market estimated to be $180 billion.

    The Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative was founded in 2002 by the Washington Technology Center as the flagship program under WTC's Emerging Industry Initiative program. Today, NWETC's partnerships extend to Puget Sound Energy, Avista Corporation, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Bonneville Power Administration, SIRTI, INTEC, and The Washington Community Trade and Economic Development Energy division.

    Related WTC links:

  • NWETC.com

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