DOE Backs College Clean-Energy Competition

Looking to build a new generation of clean energy entrepreneurs who will “solve our nation’s energy challenges, spur business creation, create American jobs, and boost American competitiveness,” the Obama administration said it will spend $2 million to fund the National University Clean Energy Business Challenge.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said the money will support up to six regional competitions that “will inspire, mentor, and train students from across the country to develop successful business plans  to create a new generation of American clean energy companies.”  These regional competitions will take place before May 1, 2012, and winners of the regional contests will compete on a national level for the National Grand Prize.

National University Clean Energy Business Challenge

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The Clean Energy Business Challenge is now accepting applications from universities interested in putting on the regional competitions. The DOE solicitation is posted on FedConnect under the reference number “DE-FOA-0000570,” with applications due by August 22. Selections are expected to be made before the end of September 2011

As envisioned by DOE, the competitions will bring together student teams “that will work with experienced mentors from the energy industry and start-up community, along with university and national lab-based researchers, to develop creative business plans for transforming ground-breaking energy technologies into high impact market solutions.”

The Clean Energy Business Challenge is facilitated by the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy with the aim of increasing the number of green jobs through small and start-up businesses. By beginning business ideas within the universities, the program hopes to kick off the next series of entrepreneurial clean energy businesses, and to ultimately wean the country off fossil fuels.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.