DeltaClimeVT Energy 2020 climate economy business accelerator connects nationwide start-ups with Vermont electric utilities and energy companies
MONTPELIER, VT – Entrepreneurs from nine start-ups focused on reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions in buildings graduated from the DeltaClimeVT Energy 2020 climate economy business accelerator during a virtual awards ceremony July 16. During the event, three companies received cash awards and five companies were selected for pilot projects with DeltaClimeVT sponsors Burlington Electric Department (BED), Green Mountain Power (GMP) and Vermont Public Power Supply Authority (VPPSA).
The DeltaClimeVT business accelerator, managed by Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF), aims to bring innovative technologies, services and business models to Vermont in an effort to reach Vermont’s climate and renewable energy goals more quickly while also ensuring the inclusion of low-to-moderate income residents in our energy transition.
In January, VSJF initiated a national recruitment process and in February nine companies from all over the U.S. and Canada were selected to participate in the four-month intensive learning experience. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, VSJF shifted this year’s program to a completely virtual format.
Geoff Robertson, business assistance director at VSJF, was impressed by the commitment on the part of the climate economy entrepreneurs, facilitators, energy and business mentors and sponsors to making connections and executing a successful virtual Energy 2020 cohort.
Robertson said, “At the beginning, I didn’t know how we would make the necessary connections because so much of our program was previously accomplished in person but everyone really stepped up and there’s more potential this year for deployment of technology to achieve climate change solutions than ever before.”
The Energy 2020 cohort was guided through a business acceleration curriculum, developed by ecosVC, that validated assumptions and prepared the entrepreneurs to sell into their market and raise needed investment capital. Representatives from Vermont energy companies worked directly with the cohort in an effort to identify suitable applications of their product or service in Vermont in an effort to accelerate Vermont’s energy transition away from fossil fuels. The ultimate goal is for the cohort companies to land pilot projects or direct sales in Vermont.
“It’s not often that you get asked to join a program as a mentor yet leave each session feeling like you took a graduate course yourself,” said Ken Nolan, General Manager, Vermont Public Power Supply Authority. “DeltaClimeVT creates just such an environment for two-way learning, in a way that also leads to ongoing business relationships. This program is a great asset for Vermont that just gets stronger every year.”
The outcome of the Energy 2020 program yielded impressive results: three monetary prize winners plus five pilot projects were announced, including two with BED, one with GMP, one with VPPSA, and one joint venture among BED, GMP and VPPSA at the McNeil Generating Station in Burlington.
“Through the DeltaClimeVT program, we’ve been able to connect with a number of different Vermont companies that we think could be able to benefit greatly from dynamic electrification,” said Jordan Kearns, founder and CEO of Medley Thermal. He said the start-up plans to continue pursuing connections with Vermont-based companies in the coming months.
The Energy 2020 winners, selected through a peer-review process, include Pecos Wind Power receiving a $25,000 non-equity prize, Medley Thermal receiving a $15,000 non-equity prize, and Wex Energy receiving a $10,000 non-equity prize.
Pilot Projects Announced, include:
GMP will participate with Switched Source in a large National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) grant application for their Tie Controller which allows more Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) on the grid and provides resiliency during outages.
BED also plans to contract with Medley Thermal to deploy Medley’s hybrid electric boiler product and management software to enable use of electricity to run BED’s boiler during high renewable production windows and to reduce peak load. Medley Thermal is also in discussion with multiple Vermont corporations with the help of Vermont Electric Co-Op (VEC) and Efficiency Vermont (EVT).BED is planning to contract with Wex Energy to deploy their WindowSkin window inserts to low and moderate income residential units to reduce thermal heat loss and reduce heating costs as well as greenhouse gasses.
VPPSA entered into a letter of intent to work with Pecos Wind Power to develop a community wind program for rural, municipal electric utility customers utilizing multiple deployments of Pecos Wind Power’s 85kw wind turbines.
BED, GMP, VPPSA, as a team, through their Joint ownership of the McNeil Generating Station, plan to work with ThermoAI to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) technology to optimize generation at the McNeil Generating Station.
There are other conversations ongoing between cohort companies and Vermont companies and utilities all initiated due to the DeltaClimeVT business accelerator program.
DeltaClimeVT Energy 2020 Graduating Cohort Companies:
- Pecos Wind Power is developing a low cost, 85kW distributed wind turbine to compete on cost with distributed solar and utility-provided electricity. pecoswindpower.com – First Place Winner and Awarded VPPSA Pilot Project
- Medley Thermal develops and dispatches hybrid electric boiler projects. medleythermal.com – Second Place Winner and Awarded BED Pilot Project
- WexEnergy delivers energy efficient solutions for buildings and homes one window, one building, one city at a time. wexenergy.com – Third Place Winner and Awarded BED Pilot Project
- Switched Source provides power electronics equipment that automates balancing of the distribution grid allowing for more renewable generation hosting capabilities, better power quality, enhanced reliability/resiliency, and reduced operational expenditures. switchedsource.com – Awarded GMP Pilot Project
- ThermoAI uses patent pending proprietary machine learning algorithms to optimize the total processes of industrial combustion. thermoai.com – Awarded Joint Pilot Project with GMP, BED and VPPSA
- Camberline Technologies enables a time of use electricity pricing for households and small businesses, whereas such pricing is typically only offered to industrial users.
- Enersion developed an innovative cooling technology that uses low grade waste heat instead of electricity to produce industrial cooling, resulting in over 70% less electricity consumption compared to regular chillers. enersion.com
- InfiSense is a software platform that helps commercial operations reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve sustainability with long-range IoT sensors. infisense.com
- M2 Thermal Solutions developed a new thermodynamic mechanism that is used for residential air-conditioning. m2thermal.com
Partners and sponsors of DeltaClimeVT Energy 2020 included VLITE, BED, Vermont Electric Power Company, EVT, Vermont Public Power Supply Authority, VEC, VGS, GMP, Washington Electric Co-Op, Encore Renewable Energy, Bourne’s Energy.
To learn more about DeltaClimeVT Energy 2020, visit deltaclimevt.com.
About DeltaClimeVT – A Climate Economy Business Accelerator
The DeltaClimeVT business accelerator is a Vermont-based program serving startup and seed-stage ventures focusing on energy and climate economy innovation in the energy sector. The program provides an intense accelerated learning and business development process designed to test assumptions, expose and remediate business vulnerabilities, prepare for significant investment, and provide a platform for rapid scaling. As a proven leader in sustainability, Vermont offers participants access to a large number of entrepreneurial climate economy and energy experts throughout the program. The program is managed by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF). deltaclimevt.com
DeltaClimeVT is funded by VLITE, the Jane’s Trust Foundation, the Sustainable Future Fund, and a large number of utility and corporate sponsors. See deltaclimevt.com for more details.
About Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
In addition to offering the DeltaClimeVT business accelerator to startup and seed stage entrepreneurs, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) provides business assistance, value chain facilitation, network development, and strategic planning to a wide range of stakeholders in the agriculture and food system, forest product, waste management, renewable energy, and environmental technology sectors. Located in Montpelier, Vermont, VSJF was created by the Vermont Legislature in 1995 to partner with state government, private sector businesses, and nonprofits to build a thriving economic, social, and ecological future for Vermont. www.vsjf.org