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Cleantech Group and Facebook Social Media Challenge

A new opportunity to gain attention for cleantech solutions -

The Cleantech Goes Social Contest aims to support the development of Facebook applications and new uses of Facebook’s billion-person network to encourage adoption of clean technologies, help individuals and companies reduce their environmental impact, and engage the public in further dialogue surrounding key sustainability challenges.

The winner of the contest will receive $25,000 in funding and personalized guidance from Cleantech Group and Facebook on how to maximize the impact of their idea.

Deadline for submissions March 4, 2013. Read more

 

The Seriousness of Failed Cleantech Commercialisation

Business Green blog “Can anyone defuse the carbon bomb?”  is important whilst scary reading referring to the new report Point of No Return study from Greenpeace and Ecofys, which argues that 14 giant "carbon bomb" fossil fuel projects that are currently in planning have the potential to drive up global emissions 20 per cent by 2020 on their own.

The five points brought up by James Murray are very important and valid points where point 5) The rewards for those who defuse the "carbon bomb" will be massive echos the existence of WWF Climate Solvers. Because we believe and even know that some solutions, entrepreneurs and companies must grow very, very fast for us to have a chance to combat climate change. This is why we must focus on enabling this rapid commercialisation, at early as well as later stages of cleantech business development.

What is also worrying in this context though is that the lack of ambition on climate change is starting to take it's toll also on the cleantech industry where several players that could reap massive rewards are being forced to cave in due to lack of policy and investor confidence. The public private partnership machinery to support solutions is failing to deliver at scale. Policy makers and investors must engage in a dialogue with those who have alternative and transformative solutions across sectors, and not stay stuck in a sector-by-sector I-will-change-as-little-and-slow-as-I-can-dialogue with incumbent industry sectors. Policy makers say business-as-usual (BAU) is not an option, yet what we see is BAU. And investors keep betting our pension funds on good old coal, oil and gas since they expect to get high returns on investments from the BAU way of thinking.   

Global clean energy investments actually fell 11% last year according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. This happens at a time when we know it must at least triple or quadruple very quickly if we are to have a chance to combat global warming. At least if we should listen to the World Economic Forum Green Investment Report.

Some real suffering examples of the failure of cleantech commercialisation:

Hailed A123 systems advanced batteries and complete energy storage for ex for electrified vehicles have gone bankrupt as sufficient market demand has not appeared.

The winner of last year's Intersolar award and an earlier Climate Solver,  has now gone bankrupt. The technology combines solar power generation with the use of solar heat. It is the first concentrating PVT collector where priority is given to generating heat as well as electricity. The intersolar jury believed that the solution’s technical construction generated significantly higher yields than any previous systems. Now they are bankrupt. Liquidity issues made it impossible for the award winning company to pay a supplier, and there was no investor to jump in and save the day.

Unfortunately there are several more examples, and many more to come unless policy makers and investors wake up.

If we do not join forces to support our Climate Solvers so that they can grow rather than shrink, what chance do we have ? We must step up our ambition in order to reap the rewards of those who diffuse the "carbon bomb" which could be massive. And policy makers must understand that a top priority for supporting solution providers is to increase ambition on climate change. This creates markets as well as strong industrial policy support for the new strategic industries that are necessary to create a green economy.

Stefan Henningsson

Senior Adviser Climate Innovation

WWF

Funding Opportunity - Powering Agricultural Energy Grand Challenge

“The Powering Agricultural Energy Grand Challenge seeks proposals for clean energy technologies projects.

The Challenge is in search of market-driven solutions that can expand farmers’ and farm –related businesses’ access to clean energy solutions for improving irrigation, value-added processing, cold storage, or other on-farm applications. This will enhance the incomes and economic opportunities of the networks of small holder farmers and associated businesses along the agriculture value chain, and help build profitable clean energy companies.

The Grand Challenge Website (http://poweringag.org/) gives more information on this program. All proposals for funding must be submitted through the program’s Online Application Platform. This Platform will be accessible from January 15, 2013 – February 6, 2013.  The application link is http://poweringag.org/apply. “

 

Dis-ownership - Innovative Business Model for Solar Service

Dis-ownership is an urban trend that seems to be gaining traction in the US beyond the early-adaptor hipsters. Sunrun is riding this wave and has developed an innovative business model that allows homeowners to go solar without the prohibitive upfront costs.

Chinese Solutions Offer Great Hope

The first four Chinese Climate Solvers were presented at an award ceremony in Beijing yesterday. These enthusiastic entrepreneurs were recognized for their solutions for more efficient battery charging, industrial cooling, refrigeration and waste-heat power generation.
The unofficial theme for the event turned out to be “opportunities”. As the fundament of the Climate Solver initiative itself, the entrepreneurs as well as invited experts repeatedly pointed to the opportunities offered by climate innovations and entrepreneurship.
   The mere fact that there are over 50 million SME’s in China is an opportunity for innovation and job creation. Mr. CHEN Xin from China Center for Promotion of SME Development said that the Climate Solver program is very meaningful now that low cost/low quality products are no longer competitive. Their focus is now on innovative SME’s and business models.
The challenge of securing financing was one of the important points raised during the discussions. For example, the fact that although solution developers in early phases may lack collateral, they do have IPR which could be used for securing credits. Mr. ZHU Daniel, a venture investor from Tsing Capital seemed to agree, and said "While traditional banks look at a company's history, we look toward their future." In this context it was promising to hear that some banks have seen the opportunity for developing financing products based on the specific needs of SME's, e.g. joint guarantees shared by several companies.
Mr. CHEN Zhengli from China Merchants Bank pointed out that climate innovations were well aligned with their Green Credit Strategy, “Climate Solver companies are just the kind of customers we want to find.” Judging from the interest from both participants and media, there are substantial opportunities for further developing the Climate Solver platform in China.
Mr ZHOU Qing from newly awarded Climate Solver Yunhe Refrigeration Technology, recollected learning about WWF’s conservation work as a child and said, “The Climate Solver award is the best recognition we can get.”
"An incredibly inspiring event overall," according to Magnus Emfel, Manager Climate Innovations at WWF Sweden, responsible for the expansion of Climate Solver in both China and India."If these four innovations are any indication of the potential for Chinese solutions, then I can hardly wait to see them succeed and achieve their global climate mitigation potential!" says Emfel emphatically.

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