Midwest Clean Energy Challenge Goes To College

Earlier this month the Clean Energy Trust (CET), working collaboratively with partners, Cleantech Open, Nortech , University of Michigan, Purdue University and Washington University, as well as sixteen Midwestern universities, announced that the 2012 Clean Energy Challenge will be expanded to include student business concepts from across the Midwest. This section of the competition will be known as the Student Challenge, and the CET hopes that by its inclusion, efforts to support clean energy business growth in the Midwest will be bolstered.

In the Student Challenge, 18 semi-finalists will each be partnered with mentors from the field to prepare for the finals in Chicago. CET is one of six regional recipients of grants intended to develop clean energy business concept competitions for students. The finalists of each region will compete in a national contest next year.

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This year’s Clean Energy Challenge is now open to businesses and students from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Entries are to fall into one of five categories: renewable energy, low-carbon transportation, smart grid, energy efficiency, and carbon abatement. The deadline for applications is December 5.

CET executive director Amy Francetic said that the competition “enables students from across the region to develop their ideas with the support of experienced mentors. Industry-leading venture capitalists and strategic investors will select the most promising ideas for funding. We hope this will encourage the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs and further our mission of making the Midwest a powerhouse of clean energy businesses.”

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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.