WA Gov Proposes Plan for Business Climate, STEM Education

Gov. Inslee of Washington released his budget request for the 2013-2015 biennium in his Working Washington plan. Among the priorities are STEM educational investments and clean energy research and development. Overall, the Governor's proposed budget totals more than $34.4 billion, and would result in nearly $532 million in reserves, without proposing new taxes.

GAO Highlights Need for Coordination of Federal Energy, Entrepreneurship Initiatives

Ahead of the president' FY 2014 budget proposal release date (April 10, 2013) and amid federal sequestration, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released two reports that contend duplication, fragmentation and a lack of cooperation between federal agencies may plague federal support for wind energy deployment and entrepreneurial assistance. To address these issues, the GAO reports recommend enhanced collaboration between agencies and consolidation of funding programs. Looming budget cuts and political support could place these reports in the midst of political and public dialogue on government duplication and potentially be used as evidence of federal wasteful spending.

Federal Investment in Clean Energy Underutilized and Declining

Several reports, assessments, and plans have been released related to energy development — particularly clean energy. On March 15, both President Obama's Blueprint for a Clean and Secure Energy Future and the Government Accountability Office's review of the Department of Energy's loan programs were released. In addition, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation published their report on recent trends in federal investment in clean energy, specifically from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Washington Gov Prioritizes Five Sectors in $120M Economic Growth Plan

Gov. Jay Inslee's vision for creating a more prosperous state economy through investments in key industry sectors came full circle with the announcement of his Working Washington Agenda, which prioritizes a similar set of proposals touted last year during his run for governor. The plan includes legislation, government reforms and new state investments totaling nearly $120 million focused around five areas. Tax breaks for startups in high-demand fields, instituting a tradable R&D tax credit, creating 500 enrollment slots in aerospace training programs, and tapping state capital funds to develop clean energy solutions are among the proposals. Gov. Inslee has issued policy briefs in support of each focus area, which are available at:

DOE Commits $12 Million in New Funding for SunShot Incubator Program

The Department of Energy (DOE) is will commit up to $12 million for a new round of funding for the SunShot Incubator Program — a pay-for-performance program focused on helping solar energy startups transition from a proof-of-concept or business plan to domestic commercialization and/or deployment. DOE anticipates to make up to nine awards to support research and development of both hardware and non-hardware solutions that reduce the cost of systems that convert solar energy into electric potential. Interested startups must submit their concept paper by March 5, 2013. Read the announcement...

New York Commits $15M to Establish Clean Energy Proof-of-Concept Centers

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced that it will commit a total of $15 million to Columbia University, the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) and High Tech Rochester to create three proof-of-concept centers focused on turning university-developed, clean energy ideas into successful businesses. Each regional center will receive $5 million in seed money over the next five years, cost-sharing required, with the expectation of being self-sustaining once NYSERDA funding ends. Each organization will partner with regional institutions of higher education to connect potential early stage entrepreneurs with multiple industry and investor partners. Read the press release...

Tech Agenda, Billion Dollar Green Bank Top NY Gov's Economic Growth Plan

Innovation was a key term used in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address and is referenced heavily throughout his economic development agenda for the upcoming year. The governor proposed creating innovation hot spots, an innovation network and innovation venture capital fund. Efforts would be focused on accelerating technology transfer and providing funds to attract startup companies. Cleantech investments and support for competitive university-based projects that emphasize economic impact also are a priority for the governor.

Clean Tech Venture Investment Declines, USDA Supports VC-Backed Clean Tech Firms

Clean Tech venture investments declined in the third quarter of 2012, according to the MoneyTree report released on Friday by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). The numbers reinforce the current trend of decreasing investment in clean tech companies and projects and the inherent challenges of VC backing in the sector. However, many are attributing this drop to a shift in the focus of clean tech investment by private and public entities rather than complete disenchantment in the promising sector.

Govs Detail New Policies to Broaden Energy-Focused Economic Development

New energy plans unveiled by governors in Connecticut and Mississippi promise to capitalize on current strengths, build capacity for future projects, and encourage public-private partnerships to scale up clean energy projects and create jobs by attracting more R&D investment to the states. Connecticut's draft strategy proposes economic incentives to drive down costs of new technology and maximize the use of clean energy finance banks — an approach that is heralded as a model for other states in a recent policy report. At the same time, a new roadmap for energy opportunities in Mississippi focuses on using available resources to attract businesses while expanding research and training more high-tech workers.

U.S. Dept. of Interior Spurs Solar Energy Development

In an effort to develop domestic renewable energy production, the Department of the Interior released details on the Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). PEIS provides an outline for utility-scale solar energy development in six states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.


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