Governor Cuomo Announces Winners of First 76West Clean Energy Competition to Grow the Economy in the Southern Tier

Six Winners Out of 175 Applicants Awarded Prizes to Develop Clean Energy Technologies, Grow their Businesses, Create Jobs, and Advance Clean Energy Economy

November 30, 2016

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the six winning companies of the 76West Clean Energy Business Competition – one of the largest competitions in the country that focuses on supporting and growing clean-energy businesses – in the Southern Tier. Micatu, an optical sensor company from Horseheads, Chemung County, was awarded the $1 million grand prize. The competition also awarded one $500,000 prize and four $250,000 prizes to companies for their use of innovative technologies that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and make clean energy more affordable. The competition advances the state's effort to have 50 percent of its electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2030 under the Governor's nation-leading Clean Energy Standard.

“By attracting some of the brightest and most innovative entrepreneurs to the Southern Tier, 76West is spurring economic growth throughout the region while advancing New York’s clean energy economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “I congratulate these winners, whose use of clean energy technology will continue to generate new opportunities in the Southern Tier and help create a cleaner and greener New York.”

The 76West competition supports the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy by fostering cleantech economic development and leadership, and expanding innovative entrepreneurship in the Southern Tier, which has a robust ecosystem in place to support businesses seeking a foothold in New York's thriving clean economy.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul announced the winners at an awards ceremony at Binghamton University. The event also kicked off the second round of the 76West competition.

“It was an honor to recognize the inaugural 76West winners today, all of whom have demonstrated their vast potential to develop innovative solutions that help address our energy needs – not only in New York, but across the nation,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, these clean-energy entrepreneurs will play a vital role as we continue to transform the Southern Tier into a thriving, clean tech community.”

The six winners were chosen after a rigorous competition which included multiple pitch sessions to judges and mentoring by local experts. Finalists vied for a $1 million grand prize, a $500,000 award and four $250,000 awards. In total, $2.5 million was awarded. The winners are:

$1 million grand prize winner:

  • Micatu – Horseheads, NY: makes an optical sensor that gives highly accurate voltage readings so utilities can reduce energy use, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

$500,000 award winner:

  • Charge CCCV (C4V) – Binghamton, NY: produces energy storage batteries that can be used for telecommunications systems and other industries that need storage with longer lifetimes so they reduce overall cost.

$250,000 award winners:

  • ChromaNanoTech – Binghamton, NY: produces a dye that keeps windows transparent but blocks ultraviolet radiation, so buildings stay cooler and air conditioning loads are reduced. 
  • DatArcs – New York City, NY: provides server software that reduces the energy consumption of data centers while maintaining system performance.
  • Global Thermostat – New York City, NY: captures carbon dioxide out of the air, thereby reducing greenhouse gases, then purifies it and sells it to industrial companies that need it for their manufacturing purposes.
  • Besstech – Troy, NY: manufactures silicon components that make energy storage batteries cheaper, fast charging and more environmentally friendly.

The response to 76West demonstrated New York's growing presence as a clean tech leader on the national and international stage. The competition received 175 applications in the first round from across the state, the U.S. and around the world. A total of 71 applications (40 percent) were from businesses already located in the Southern Tier, 70 from other regions of New York State, 23 from other states including California, Massachusetts, Texas and Nevada, and 11 from international applicants from places such as Turkey, Spain, and Israel.

Of the 175 applications, 24 were chosen as semifinalists who underwent a week of mentoring in May. At the end of the week, semifinalists pitched their proposals to judges, who chose the six finalists based on criteria including technical merit, likelihood of business growth, job potential and benefit to the Southern Tier. Over the summer, the six finalists once again pitched their proposals to judges who then recommended the final award winners.

Applications for the second round of the 76West competition will be accepted from December 1, 2016 through March 13, 2017. Companies interested can apply here.

"We’re thrilled to see that the 76West winners represent such a broad range of start-up technologies,” said New York State Energy and Finance Chairman Richard Kauffman said. “The cleantech industry and entrepreneurial spirit found in the Southern Tier are driving the Governor's Reforming the Energy Vision, bringing cleantech innovation and economic development to the region while helping us achieve our ambitious clean energy goals.”

"New York is already attracting talent from around the world to build our clean energy economy,”  said New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO John B. Rhodes said. “The 76West winners complement these efforts by supporting businesses that advance Governor Cuomo’s energy goals for a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers.”

“The winners of the 76West competition are innovative businesses with great potential, and I congratulate them on this achievement,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “Governor Cuomo’s investment in the development of cleantech industries and high-growth companies will continue to generate new jobs and strengthen the Southern Tier economy.”

“The Southern Tier’s focus on supporting cleantech industries and fostering innovative business models has set the stage for a cleaner, greener, thriving economy for future generations,” said Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Harvey Stenger, President of Binghamton University and Tom Tranter, President of Corning Enterprises. “Through 76West, we look forward to showing the winners all that our region has to offer as we continue to spur job creation and economic growth through the Governor’s clean energy initiatives.”

“Governor Cuomo created 76West to tap into the energy of the creative mind, to spur dreamers into doing and to accelerate genius ideas for the benefit of all,” said Jeff Belt, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and SolEpoxy President. “The winning entrepreneurs’ technologies are innovative and have the potential to significantly benefit New York State, as well as the world.”

“The 76West competition is bringing energy and excitement to New York’s clean energy sector,” said Satish K. Tripathi, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and University at Buffalo President. “We are eager to see the technology created by the winners advance New York’s energy goals and further grow our region’s clean tech industry.”

Senator Fred Akshar said, “I’d like to congratulate Charge CCCV (C4V) and ChromaNanoTech, for making the top three of the Southern Tier’s very first 76West Clean Energy Business Competition. Their ability to craft innovative technological solutions that can improve the climate, while making energy more affordable is what won them this award. I am continuously amazed by the creativity and work ethic of the people of the 52nd Senate District.”

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, "The goal of 76West is to create jobs in the Southern Tier by attracting entrepreneurs to the clean energy sector. The winning companies will most definitely add momentum to our region's ongoing revitalization. I am very pleased to know that among the 175 proposals, three of the six winners are also from the Southern Tier. I'd like to thank the Governor, NYSERDA, and of our government partners for this exciting opportunity for the Southern Tier."

This is the first year of 76West, a $20 million competition and support program administered by NYSERDA that will run once a year from 2016 to 2019. Each year applicants will vie for a $1 million grand prize, a $500,000 award and four $250,000 awards. In total, 76West will provide $10 million in awards and $10 million for business support, marketing and administration through the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative and Clean Energy Fund.

As a condition of the award, companies must either move to the Southern Tier or establish a connection with the Southern Tier, such as a supply chain, job development with Southern Tier companies, or other strategic relationships with Southern Tier entities that increases wealth creation and creates jobs. If the companies are already in the Southern Tier, they must commit to substantially growing their business and employment in the region.

Southern Tier Soaring

Today's announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring,” the region’s blueprint to develop an advanced regional economy – attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. An historic $500 million State investment in the Southern Tier through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative was announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York State has invested more than $3.193 billion in the Southern Tier helping to advance the region's goals and the unemployment rate in the Southern Tier has dropped significantly – moving from 7.6 percent in October 2010 to 4.8 percent during the same time this year. More information is available here.

About the Clean Energy Fund

The 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund is a core component of New York State's Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to achieve a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. It is designed to deliver on New York State's commitment to reduce ratepayer collections, drive economic development, and accelerate the use of clean energy and energy innovation. It includes a minimum of $234 million in funding over the first three years to support clean energy opportunities specifically to benefit low- to moderate-income communities throughout the State. The CEF also supports the aggressive Clean Energy Standard, which requires that 50 percent of the State's electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2030.

About the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative (RGGI)

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is the nation's first program to use an innovative market-based mechanism to cap and cost-effectively reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that cause the climate to change, and New York State took a leadership role in adopting regulations that lowered the emissions cap. Emissions from power plants in New York State are down approximately 45 percent since 2005, and auction proceeds from sale of the RGGI allowances have reduced electricity expenditures and created thousands of green energy sector jobs.

About Reforming the Energy Vision

Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York's economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency, in part through the recent adoption of New York’s Clean Energy Standard which requires that 50 percent of the state's electricity needs be generated from renewable energy sources by 2030. Already, REV has driven 600 percent growth in the statewide solar market, enabled over 105,000 low-income households to permanently cut their energy bills with energy efficiency, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York State reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally-recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5.3 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, please visit www.ny.gov/REV4NY and follow us at @Rev4NY.

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