Are You on the Smart Grid?

GE’s ecomagination Challenge is taking submissions from all over the world in an effort to revolutionize global energy usage. Vote for your favorites!

The GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid is well underway. With 1,400+ ideas submitted and over 45,000 votes cast for the best proposals, the challenge is reaching its goals of helping to change and inform the way the world uses energy. Time to get involved!

Here’s how the challenge works: GE and partners have committed to invest$200 million dollars to students, technologists and entrepreneurs who share the best ideas development and deployment of power grid technology. They’ve teamed up with renowned venture capital firms, including Emerald Technology Partners, Foundation Capital, KPCB and RockPort Capital, to help back the most promising ideas.

“The challenge is about collaboration and harnessing the promise of fledgling ideas and businesses to transform our energy future,” says GE CMO Beth Comstock. “We are confident in people’s willingness to change the way the world uses energy and in the ideas that will make this possible.”

Thinking out of the box is the name of the game. So far, proposals have been varied and imaginative, ranging from a new take on wave energy using hydraulics to a hurricane-resistant wind turbine to an idea for solar roadways. In the area of grid efficiency, proposed solutions include installing ultra-capacitors to manage the output of renewable energy resources, and software solutions using sophisticated algorithms to make use of abundant real-time data and predict future energy use. In the area of energy use, one submission suggests holding energy use competitions to get people engaged in thinking of new and better ways to save energy. An idea that would enter our homes? Intelligent adaptors and switches that would retrofit energy-based devices at home so they can communicate with smart meters.

In addition to the investment opportunities, ideas will be evaluated for potential commercial relationship opportunities, and 5 ideas will also be awarded a $100,000 innovation award. Every idea submitted gets a shot at funding, and the entry that receives the most user-submitted votes will receive (subject to GE’s review for appropriate content), a cash award of $50,000. Don’t have a proposal? You can still browse these creative ideas vote for the most promising ones, as you see them, on ecomagination.com/challenge.

The challenge is open through September 30th, so if you’ve got a solid concept, you still have plenty of time to submit a proposal and compete for funding. Think you have what it takes? Enter the challenge at ecomagination.com/challenge. You can upload videos that present your ideas, and anyone can vote for the teams they believe in the most. Learn more about the specific challenges here.