Redesigned Competition Increases Certain Award Amounts

December 18, 2019

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority today announced that the successful 76West Clean Energy Competition is now accepting applications from emerging clean energy companies for the next round of the competition. 76West is one of the largest competitions in the nation focused on supporting and growing emerging clean energy businesses and economic development. The competition also supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal, the nation’s most assertive climate and clean energy initiative and complements “Southern Tier Soaring,” the region’s comprehensive strategy to generate robust economic growth and community development.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, " The 76West competition is not only creating jobs and economic development in the Southern Tier, it is building excitement within the entrepreneurial ecosystem that New York is the place to be for innovation. As more extreme weather events wreak havoc on New York, Governor Cuomo’s commitment to supporting clean energy solutions, such as those developed by 76West winners, is vital to helping communities throughout the state and beyond become more resilient.”

Now in its fifth year, the 76West competition will accept applications through March 2, 2020. A group of up to 20 semifinalists will be selected and brought to the Southern Tier next spring to meet with mentors who will connect them with prospective local partners, industry leaders, potential sources of funding, and other resources within the region.

The semifinalists will pitch their companies to a group of judges, who will then recommend the four finalists to receive a total of $2.5 million in prizes. This year, the number of finalists has been reduced so award amounts could be increased for each winner. A $1 million grand prize winner will still be named, with the remaining three winners each receiving $500,000.

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

Administered by NYSERDA, the 76West competition was launched in 2016 as a $20 million four-year initiative to grow the clean energy ecosystem in the Southern Tier with funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Clean Energy Fund. Due to its significant positive impact for the region, the competition is being continued for another four years with $20 million in funding from Empire State Development through the Southern Tier Soaring Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “The 76West Clean Energy Competition continues to incentivize clean energy entrepreneurship and innovation, creating jobs and opportunities in the Southern Tier and throughout New York State.”

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Dr. Harvey Stenger, President of Binghamton University and Judy McKinney, Executive Director, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development, said, “The 76West competition has attracted many innovative companies to the Southern Tier. This next round will no doubt help to encourage these forward-thinking clean energy companies to grow their businesses in the region, further supporting the regionally designed Southern Tier Soaring economic development plan, which is working to revitalize our communities.”

Over the past four years, 76West winners and semi-finalists have integrated themselves into the Southern Tier, raising $29 million in private capital for future growth, creating multimillion-dollar investments in property and equipment in the Southern Tier, spending more than $1.7 million on key suppliers, and creating more than 60 new jobs. Some recent accomplishments of past 76West Competition winners include:

  • Optimus Technologies: $1 million grand prize winner (2019): Named as the grand prize winner, the company’s technology was chosen for a project by the National Biodiesel Foundation that will enable three snowplows for the Iowa Department of Transportation to operate exclusively on 100 percent biodiesel to optimize fuel savings and emissions performance.
  • Skyven Technologies: $1 million grand prize winner (2017): Announced the completion of its first installation in New York State, which was only the second in the country utilizing its Intelligent Mirror Array, one of the world’s first solar solutions for industrial steam. The installation was done at Copses Farms, in Valley Falls and the system was manufactured by Cameron Manufacturing, in the Southern Tier (Horseheads).
  • Southern Tier Technologies: $250,000 winner (2018): The company, which creates energy optimization products to help customers reduce carbon emissions and reduce utility bill costs, added a 1,000-square foot production test and quality lab to its facility in Endwell, hired its first manufacturing employee and made sales to multiple companies including Corning Diesel, Corning Biomedical, Corning Glass, Comcast, and Walmart.

Senator Tom O'Mara said, “Over the past several years, investments made through the 76West competition have helped spark innovation in what promises to be a growing and vibrant clean energy industry sector across the Southern Tier. This is badly needed economic development and job creation offering long-term sustainability. I hope we can continue to build on it and expand our leadership.”

Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, “76West is an important part of the resurgence of the Southern Tier’s economy. This program helps bring in new businesses and private investments that build on the region’s legacy of entrepreneurship and innovation. The latest round of 76West will help New York continue its efforts to leader the nation to the development of clean energy and environmental protection.”

Assemblymember Barbara Lifton said, "There is a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial talent throughout my Assembly District and the wider region, thanks to our world-class institutions of higher education and local startups who are developing cutting-edge, clean energy technologies, and the 76West Clean Energy Competition is playing an important role helping to build the new clean energy economy. My thanks to the Governor and NYSERDA for continuing to support this exciting, innovative program."

Visit NYSERDA's website for more information on the 76West Competition, application information and to see a complete list of previous winners.

Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring

Today's announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan - attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available hereLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..

New York State’s Green New Deal

Governor Cuomo's Green New Deal is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, putting the state on a path to being entirely carbon-neutral across all sectors of the economy and establishing a goal to achieve a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, faster than any other state. It builds on New York’s unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $2.9 billion investment in 46 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector, a commitment to develop nearly 1,700 megawatts of offshore wind by 2024, and 1,700 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2012.

The recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates the Green New Deal’s nation-leading clean energy targets: nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035, six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025, and three gigawatts of energy storage by 2030, while calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy. The CLCPA also directs New York State agencies and authorities to collaborate with stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 and aim to invest 40 percent of clean energy and energy efficiency program resources to benefit disadvantaged communities.


NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit or follow us on TwitterLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., FacebookLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., YouTubeLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., or InstagramLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..