Thursday, May 31, 2012

The spotlight is shining directly on the biofuels industry

Just a few short years ago, biofuels seemed more like a pipe dream than something Gucci would be selling in their 2012 sunglasses line. But in the here and now, that is the case.
Gucci isn’t alone in adopting biofuels and materials into their manufacturing practices. In their case it’s making a pair of sunglasses out of liquid wood product. The fashion mammoth has also ensured that the sunglasses are fully biodegradable.
The bigger issue at hand than fancy sunglasses is the viability of biofuel plants as a feasible option to convert to energy.
Industry analysts are now calling this a “make it or break it” period for the biofuels industry. Currently surviving largely on subsidies, insiders are claiming that advanced biofuel makers are going to have to have some major breakthroughs to get a stronghold on the alternative energy market.
The biofuels industry has found ways in recent decades to relieve any competition with food supplies to assuage concerns in that realm. 
The question now becomes will biofuel makers be able to convince the rest of the world that biofuel energy is a good choice.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

CCIA Partner Event: Aspen Clean Energy Roundtable

CCIA is pleased to be partnering with Montreux Energy to present the Aspen Clean Energy Roundtable "Clean Energy, Mobility & Power Generation: Leadership in Energy Investment"

It's time for serious discussions about energy policy and the future of fuel and technology solutions. The Roundtable will explore goals in creating objective communications and messaging with a positive spin. Additionally, working on creating an understanding of the benefits as there is more of a transition to cleaner power and all that comes with it. 

Participants will have the opportunity to network and renew relationships, attend an invitation-only debate, and engage in high level interaction and discussion with industry participants. 

In the tradition of all Montreux Roundtables, discussion is off the record and participation is limited to help facilitate honest, open dialogue. 

CCIA Members will receive a special discounted rate of $450 (more than a 50 percent discount) to attend. For more information or to register please visit the official registration page.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Alert for Car Lovers—Tesla S Set For Delivery Starting June 22nd

Tesla, the well-known luxury automaker, will begin delivering their first ever designed electric vehicle, the Tesla Model S, on June 22nd.
Every feature on this vehicle is designed for performance. The battery promises to deliver higher mileage with less time charging, and each Model S comes with a standard charging cord. The cords are compatible with the most common 240-volt outlet, standard 120-volt wall outlets and public stations.
As with most EVs, most Model S owners will likely charge overnight for a full charge in the morning, but as trends have shown, many EV owners are charging during off-peak hours.
The Model S starts at a base price of $49,900 with a $5,000 deposit to reserve your very own Tesla EV.
For more information on Tesla and the Tesla Models S, please visit

Monday, May 21, 2012

Energy Connections: Focus on Innovative Partnerships

Creativity has become key in financing cleantech, which has led to some very interesting and innovative partnerships.
Local energy leaders will be giving the lowdown on some of their innovative partnerships. You’ll get both sides of the coin with executive speakers like:
·      Partners: Boulder Wind Power and Molycorp
·      Lockheed Martin who is partnered with Power Tagging
·      And Sundrop Fuels (GBSM) who is partnered with Chesapeake Energy.
These executives will discuss how non-traditional and strategic partnerships can be of benefit to cleantech companies.
The Details:
Davis Graham and Stubbs
1550 17th St.
Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202

Thursday May 24, 2012
7:30 am - 9:30 am

7:30 - 8:00 - Registration and networking
8:00 - Program begins
8:00 - 9:00 - Presentations and Q&A
9:00 - 9:30 - Networking

Please note, this program is for CCIA and CEC members only.

There is no cost to attend, but registration is required.   

Upcoming Event For May 24th - CREED: Patenting 101

For start ups, entrepreneurs, and early stage cleantech companies, CCIA partner, CREED, will be holding a course on the fundamentals of patents and patenting, including the US Patent and Trademark Office’s new rules.
With the unique nature of the cleantech industry, the cleantech entrepreneur faces many uphill battles. One of those major challenges is determining what is and how to protect intellectual property.
This patenting class will go over the ins and outs of patents from applications to balancing costs with a limited budget. Attendees will walk away with a basic understanding of the criteria for obtaining a patent, timing for the process, roles of the inventor and working with attorneys. 
John Stolpa, Senior Intellectual Property Counsel for the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory will present the class.
Registration is now open for this class. Enrollment is limited.
The Details:
When: Thursday May 24, 2012 from 2:30 PM to 6:00 PM MDT

Where: CREED Vail Conference Room
14062 Denver West Parkway
Building 52 (Third Floor)
Golden, CO 80401
Cost: $25.00

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Senator Udall Commends US Navy on Adoption of Clean Technology

Colorado Senator Mark Udall, in an attempt to recognize the valor and innovation of the U.S. Navy, rallied 17 of his colleagues to deliver a letter to Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, commending him on his adoption of alternative energy technologies.
Big news for the cleantech industry as the U.S. military has traditionally led the way for technological advances over the years, including items like the Internet, GPS and even flat-screen televisions.
Udall’s support for moving away from fossil fuels considers both the economic cost as well as the cost of human lives. The supporting senators wrote that they recognize the investment it takes to fund a new clean technology, but that it also “pales in comparison” to the costs currently shelled out for fuel during active combat.
The senators go on to say that even with cutting-edge technology, the limitations in combat are serious and can be traced back to archaic power sources including the use of fossil fuels.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

CCIA Announces Cleantech Fellows Institute

The Colorado Cleantech Industry Association has announced the creation of the Cleantech Fellows Institute designed to create new and robust leadership for emerging cleantech markets. 
 This 17-week intensive program is the first of its kind in the nation and will focus on transforming C-level executives to lead near-market cleantech companies.
Applicants strongly encouraged to apply are former executives from the aerospace, biotechnology and enterprise technology industries who have a desire to transition to the cleantech industry. Those accepted into the program will receive opportunities for networking, accelerated training from cleantech industry experts and exposure to a variety of clean technologies.
Candidates should have prior experience in raising capital, managing the growth of an early stage company and must be able to commit to the four-month program.
With Colorado being a natural hub for cleantech, it only made sense for the program to kick-off here. Beginning Sept. 17 and running through Jan. 2013, the intensive program will be made up of eight weeks in Colorado at various locations including the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and seven weeks held “virtually.”
Some areas of focus for the curriculum will include: energy storage, advanced transportation technologies, building technologies and energy efficiency.
Deadline for applications is July 6, with interviews also scheduled in July.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Brookings Report Raises Eyebrows and More

If you haven’t seen the most recent Brookings Institution report Beyond Boom and Bust: Putting Clean Tech on a Path to Subsidy Independence,” you should give it a read. Despite the numerous negative headlines the past week, this report provides a suggested pathway for weaning cleantech off of subsidies to empower the United States' manufacturing and capacity, and that is a good thing.

What the report reaffirms is that clean tech is only going to be sustainable if its cost is at parity with traditional energy sources. This means energy deployment policies and subsidies should reward technology improvement and cost declines, and the US energy innovation ecosystem should be strengthened to make clean energy cheap —one thing CCIA has been championing for the past three years.

The really good news is that Colorado is ahead of the game. With the creation and funding of the Clean Technology Discovery Evaluation Grant Program, the state is investing in the commercialization of university clean technologies which provides benefits to Colorado job creation, additional revenue to universities from their IP and export ready technologies.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper Signs Bill to Allow More Electric and Natural Gas Vehicle Fueling Stations

New law will increase the use of domestic energy sources and expand statewide economic opportunities for alternative fuel vehicles
Gov. Hickenlooper signs HB-1258 into law affecting placement and regulation of alternative vehicles fueling stations.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed HB-1258 into law making it easier for prospective locations, such as grocery stores and shopping malls, to install and sell alternative fuels to electric and natural gas vehicles.

HB-1258 will enable retail, fleet and community venues to host locations for electric and compressed-natural gas vehicles to refuel. HB-1258, titled “Concerning Regulation of Public Utilities in Terms of Alternative Fuel Vehicles,” will help build out the alternative fuel vehicle charging and fueling infrastructure in the state by removing regulation from the state Public Utility Commission so natural gas (CNG/LNG) and electricity can be sold to alternative fuel vehicles.

“The Colorado Cleantech Industry Association believes signing this bill into law is an important step in jump starting Colorado’s advanced transportation industry and increasing the use of domestic energy sources,” said Christine Shapard, executive director of the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association. “Above all else, it’s giving Coloradans, companies and retailers a choice in where and how they fuel their alternative fuel vehicles.” 

Senator Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge and Representative Brian DelGrosso R-Loveland sponsored HB-1258. It was also supported by the Governor’s Energy Office and Xcel Energy and passed through Colorado legislation with bipartisan support.

"Making alternative fuels accessible to consumers is paramount in our effort to curb harmful emissions. This legislation is meant to pave the way before this emerging industry without burdensome PUC regulation,” said State Senator Cheri Jahn. “When the market allows, our goal is to make sure that everyday citizens can access alternative fuels every day.”

In accordance with state statutes, HB-1258 will go into effect as law on August 8, 2012.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Colorado’s Cleantech Market Expansion for 2012 Part 3: Colorado Cleantech Community’s Rising Stars

In the final installment of a three-part blog series on the market outlook for 2012, recruiter and entrepreneur Dave Mayer offers an glimpse into the growing Colorado cleantech community.

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the presence of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden and the wealth of new ideas and research coming out of the lab and its partner organizations. NREL, and its hundreds of scientists focused on the development of solar, biofuels and wind solutions in Colorado, is a huge boon to the state. 

Another truly prominent and successful example of Colorado’s ongoing leadership in the renewable energy space is Tendril, (which happens to be in Access Venture Partner’s investment portfolio). Tendril has raised more than $70 million dollars over the past six years, and is at the forefront of smart grid deployment by enabling consumers to manage energy usage and costs through their proprietary cloud-based platform.

According to Sheila O’Neil, Director of Corporate Communications at Tendril, the organization signed their first major international customer in 2011 — Origin Energy, based in Australia., Since then, they have developed several new industry partners including Siemens Energy and Whirlpool Corporation. As a result, the company has doubled in size. Sheila notes that “as the smart grid industry moves from pilots to full scale deployments and as our cloud-based platform continues to become the platform of choice for utilities as well as energy ecosystem partners looking to connect more closely to consumers and transform the way they use energy, we see this growth trend continuing. We're excited by the prospects for 2012, not just for Tendril, but for the entire Colorado cleantech industry as the state cements its position as a global cleantech industry hub."

Another exciting example of how the state continues to produce successful renewable energy businesses is Boulder Wind Power. Based in Boulder, the company has a unique global focus and entered the highly competitive $40 billion dollar wind industry with an eye on changing the paradigm through technology.

Their edge in the market is their innovative generator and power conversion system that enables turbine vendors to deliver products that are cost competitive, produce more power, and have higher reliability with lower unscheduled maintenance costs. Tim Connor, BWP’s VP of Business Strategy and CFO helped close a $35 million dollar Series B funding initiative recently.

According to Tim, “Boulder Wind Power’s technology is powerful because of its ability to reduce wind power costs to truly compete with fossil fuels.” 

Tim acknowledges that, like many other renewable energy technologies, the correct incentives and portfolio standards need to be in place, but he’s certain that 2012 is going to be a great year for Boulder Wind Power and for Colorado’s cleantech industry.

The examples we’ve highlighted cover a fraction of the exciting clean energy developments going on in Colorado. There are myriad organizations focused on improving technology transfer, incubating and fostering the growth of companies with great ideas and funding those organizations with the most promise. 

These organizations are only successful as a result of the time, energy and commitment of the visionaries behind them. 

Every quarter in 2012, we will examine the growth and pitfalls that the cleantech sector in Colorado is facing. We’ll talk about hiring trends, growth trajectories and what’s really happening out there.

Colorado’s Cleantech industry has a bright future. We hope you’ll join the growing Colorado Cleantech movement and take an active role in making it even brighter.

Dave Mayer is a Colorado Cleantech Industry Association member and serial entrepreneur based in Denver. He is one of three co-chairs of the Colorado Clean Economy Network, which focuses on creating awareness of issues that will affect the future of this country's energy policy. Currently, Mayer is CEO and founder of Technical Integrity, a cleantech recruiting firm. For more information, visit his website at