Wells Fargo innovation incubator announces $1mn to target cleantech
The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator has awarded $1mn in grants to support 13 projects that address gaps in the development and commercialisation of clean energy (cleantech) and agriculture technology (agtech).
All 13 projects are affiliated with IN2 Channel Partners, a network of incubators, accelerators and university programs that refer start-up companies to IN2 and seen as critical players in IN2’s efforts to advance a “robust cleantech ecosystem”.
The awards are described as “competitive grants to fund efforts to advance sustainable technology solutions that lead to partnerships, capital flow, job creation and sharing of best practices across the ecosystem”.
Trish Cozart, IN2 program manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory commented: “Ultimately, the goal with our Channel Partner Awards program is to create a strong, collaborative ecosystem of support across the US. We are funding these partners to continue their support of early-stage entrepreneurs and each other, as they create partnerships and share knowledge and learnings.”
Ramsay Huntley, Clean Technology and Innovation Philanthropy program officer with Wells Fargo commented: “The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator is proud to provide additional support for the IN2 Channel Partners in their efforts to accelerate the development and commercialization of clean technology and support of early-stage entrepreneurs. These are the leaders who are really disrupting the industry and driving innovation.”
The IN2 Channel Partner Awards program was established in 2017 with $5mn of committed funding from Wells Fargo to be distributed over four years. Since inception, $2.1mn in competitive and non-competitive grants has supported more than 74 events, strategic meetings and trainings, and 21 larger strategic initiatives involving 23 organisations.
In the pilot year of the awards program, funded projects have engaged more than 1,800 participants (entrepreneurs, industry and academic representatives and others), created nearly 200 jobs, led to more than $18.3mn in follow-on funding for startups involved and earned $812,000 in matching funds from outside organisations.
AES Corp seals 10-year carbon-free energy deal with Google
The AES Corporation has struck a 10-year supply contract with Google to provide near-carbon-free energy to power its Virginia-based data centers which will start later this year.
Claiming the first clean energy procurement deal in the world of its kind, AES will help ensure that the energy powering those data centers will be 90% carbon-free when measured on an hourly basis.
AES will become the sole supplier of the data centers' carbon-free energy needs on an annual basis, sourcing energy from a portfolio of wind, solar, hydro and battery storage resources to be developed or contracted by AES.
The agreement marks an important step in meeting Google's previously announced goal to run its business on 100% carbon-free energy on an hourly basis by 2030.
"Last year, Google set an ambitious sustainability goal of committing to 100% 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. Today, we are proud that through our collaboration with Google, we are making 24/7 carbon-free energy a reality for their data centers in Virginia," said Andrés Gluski, AES President and CEO. "This first-of-its-kind solution, which we co-created with Google, will set a new sustainability standard for companies and organizations seeking to eliminate carbon from their energy supply."
"Not only is this partnership with AES an important step towards achieving Google's 24/7 carbon-free energy goal, it also lays a blueprint for other companies looking to decarbonize their own operations," says Michael Terrell, Director of Energy at Google. "Our hope is that this model can be replicated to accelerate the clean energy transition, both for companies and, eventually, for power grids."
AES assembled the 500MW portfolio from a combination of AES' own renewable energy projects and those of third-party developers, which were selected, sized and contracted to meet Google's energy needs across a number of considerations, including cost efficiency, additionality and carbon-free energy profile.
The portfolio assembled by AES is expected to require approximately $600 million of investment and generate 1,200 jobs, both permanent and construction, in the host communities. These efforts will greatly simplify Google's energy procurement and management at a competitive price while decarbonizing Google's load and the broader PJM grid.
This supply agreement follows on the strategic alliance AES and Google formed in November 2019 to leverage Google Cloud technology to accelerate innovation in energy distribution and management and advance the adoption of clean energy. AES is pioneering greener, smarter energy innovations, with the goal of expanding the services available to large-scale corporate customers.
The Google.org Impact Challenge on Climate commits €10M to fund bold ideas that aim to use technology to accelerate Europe’s progress toward a greener, more resilient future. Selected organisations may receive up to €2M in funding and possible customised post-grant support from the Google for Startups Accelerator to help bring their ideas to life.
Last year it issued $5.75 billion in sustainability bonds to fund ongoing and new environmentally or socially responsible projects. To read its 2020 Environment report, click here.