AUSTIN, TX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The inaugural Clean Energy Venture Summit drew an eye-opening 400 attendants, making it the largest clean-tech summit to be held in Texas. It was sponsored by the Clean Energy Incubator and Austin Energy.
Top green- and clean-tech visionaries from across the country discussed new technologies and explored efforts by local companies to make Texas the renewable energy leader for the 21st century. Summit topics included the utility of the future, green buildings, clean transportation and the smart grid.
Speakers included James Woolsey, former director of the CIA, who discussed clean transportation solutions such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and Gary Cowger, group vice president of General Motors. He talked about the Big Three automakers' participation in the United States Climate Action Partnership and how businesses and environmental organizations have come together to pressure the federal government to enact legislation to require reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson presented statistics on the future of windmills in the Gulf of Mexico. He outlined how the near-constant breezes and access to excellent power transmission lines create an almost ideal situation for producing renewable electricity with no carbon output.
"The overwhelming support of this conference highlights the public and private efforts to find solutions for America's dependence on foreign energy and growing carbon footprint as Texas enters a new age of energy leadership," said Joel Serface, director of the Clean Energy Incubator and conference organizer. "These technologies have global applicability and are of great interest to consumers, utilities and investors."
An exciting first for the industry was a competition in which 20 start-up companies presented their products and services for an opportunity to be accepted into the Clean Energy Incubator, a chance to collaborate with Austin Energy, Austin's electric utility, and garner venture funding from a group of leading venture capitalists in attendance.
"There is a lot of interest in conservation, clean-tech and reclaimed building materials as a way to reduce overall consumption costs," said Tom Watson, founder of AccuWater. "The summit allowed some of the best new technologies the opportunity to present to industry leaders and leading investors. It has also been a way to get the attention of end consumers."
Companies and technologies to receive recognition include:
Outstanding Green Building Venture
AgiLight is a solid-state lighting design and manufacturing company with proprietary technology. The company was founded in 2003 and is based in San Angelo, Texas. It is focused on LED lighting and sees vast potential for its lighting systems for use across many industries.
Outstanding Clean Transportation Venture
MicroStaq is working to revolutionize the flow-control industry through solutions using patented MEMS devices. What DLP did to the display market, Microstaq does to flow control. This technology represents a step function in energy efficiency, performance, and cost. A variety of applications exist for this product from automotive to refrigeration to hydraulics.
Outstanding Smart Grid Venture
PCN Technology designs, develops and markets advanced I/O subsystem components that leverage existing energy systems of products, devices, machinery, and installations in order to transmit triple play data.
Outstanding Other Clean Technology Venture
SolBeam markets and sells concentrating photovoltaic systems for utility, and for commercial and residential rooftops. SolBeam is a system assembler while outsourcing component manufacture.
Most Interesting Investment Opportunity
AccuWater has developed an intelligent, Internet-based irrigation system that curbs over-watering by 20 percent to 50 percent and virtually eliminates runoff. The AccuWater system uses landscape modeling, local data and a smart rain gauge to tailor the delivery of water to turf, plants and flower beds. The system integrates site temperature, humidity, solar radiation, rainfall and wind conditions with regional weather forecasts to minimize water consumption and support healthy landscaping.
Austin Energy Choice
Ausra is a U.S. corporation backed by venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins and Khosla Ventures and is a pioneer in thermal solar power for current and expanding worldwide need.
Venture firms attending the summit included CMEA Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Sevin Rosen and Venrock Associates.
According to the Cleantech Venture Network, cleantech has become one of the top three venture capital investment categories in the United States with $2.9 billion invested in clean technologies last year. Texas companies received approximately $211 million.
Early this year, SustainLane, a green media company, named Austin as the No. 1 U.S. city in incubating and clustering clean technology companies. The report ranked 50 cities and credits Austin with creating a robust test facility that is an innovative and economic step forward for the clean energy market.
About the Clean Energy Incubator
CEI provides tomorrow's Clean Energy innovators with the resources needed to compete in the real world. The incubator helps emerging companies leverage a rich network of industry experts and investors, fill knowledge gaps, build stronger business propositions and accelerate time to market. These factors improve venture success rates, which ultimately provide environmentally conscious energy alternatives for future generations. For more information, please visit its Web site.
About Austin Energy
Austin Energy is the nation's 10th-largest community-owned electric utility. Austin Energy powers the capital city of Texas through a diverse generation mix including nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewable energy sources. Located in Austin, Texas, Austin Energy created the top-performing renewable energy program in the nation and is committed to helping Austin become the Clean Energy Capital of the World. The company owns the nation's first and largest green building program and is home to one of the nation's most comprehensive residential and commercial energy-efficiency programs. For further information, please visit its Web site.