Boosting Clean Energy Technologies
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has established a $1 million innovation fund with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) to speed the development of clean technologies.
Working in collaboration with the LACI, a nonprofit business development agency that helps accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies, SoCalGas has launched an effort to identify and help bring to market potential clean technology solutions in three key areas: fuel cells, renewable natural gas and distributed natural gas products such as liquid transportation fuels and other chemicals.
“Natural gas is more than just a bridge fuel to meet current global energy needs; it has the potential to become a truly sustainable energy source, through new technologies that can produce gas from biomass and solar energy,” said Jeff Reed, director of Business Strategy and Development for SoCalGas.
“We are excited about the project with LACI because it enables us to speed the advancement of key technology areas that we think can have a significant impact on the environmental issues facing California and the planet. This collaboration provides us with a very cost effective and streamlined solution to identifying, developing and deploying strategic technologies.”
Bolstering the research and development efforts of SoCalGas, LACI will investigate key areas and identify leading technologies and those teams bringing the solutions to market. They will recruit those best suited for incubation and development and help them deploy into SoCalGas’ service territory and other key markets.
SoCalGas has reserved $1 million of innovation fund capital for the companies selected, and has the option to invest subject to customary legal and financial due diligence and agreeable terms.
The LACI program addresses inefficiencies currently hampering the development of sustainable technologies and engages local utilities, governments and industry to transform the product innovation model. Instead of entrepreneurs and researchers developing new technologies and then searching for profitable markets, the LACI process works with end customers to identify key technology areas of interest, project the economics of the target solution, size the market and provide customer engagement with the entrepreneur for demonstration and scale up.
“The model is a win-win-win for all parties. End users get the solution they want without having to wade through piles of unsolicited proposals. Investors get prearranged customer engagement and market traction and entrepreneurs get clear visibility on market economics, drivers and sales processes,” said Ian Gardner, chief strategy and investment officer for LACI.
“The Incubator's function makes the process more efficient and directly supports the mutual goal of creating new cleantech jobs in Los Angeles and making Southern California a hub for sustainable technologies.”
SoCalGas is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.