The joint mission of the NECEC Institute and its sister organization, the New England Clean Energy Council, is to accelerate New England’s clean energy economy to global leadership by building an active community of stakeholders and a world-class cluster of clean energy companies.
The NECEC Institute, a 501(c)(3), leads regional programs to develop the region’s cleantech cluster focusing its efforts on
- Cluster & Economic Development
- Education & Workforce Development
Cleantech Innovations New England
The Institute received a $1,250,000 award from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (“EDA”) in 2011 to fund a New England-wide innovation consortium aimed at accelerating clean energy startup activity. This award was one of six i6 Green Challenge grants presented by EDA nationally to proposals aimed at regional economic development through innovative, groundbreaking programs that accelerate cleantech commercialization, new venture formation, and job creation across the United States in the cleantech space.
This pilot program is a regional collaboration led by the Institute, with support from the six New England states, EDA, and private funders.
The Cleantech Innovations New England program is rooted in the understanding that in order to form and accelerate new cleantech enterprises, inventors and early-stage entrepreneurs need business, technical, and market support to validate their new ventures. Cleantech Innovations New England has connected more than 30 regional innovators, partners, state programs, the Cleantech Open and the Association of Cleantech Incubators Of New England (ACTION) incubators. Cleantech Innovations NE aims to make it easier for entrepreneurs to locate and connect with our partnering state programs, accelerators, incubators, mentors, EIRs, technology development resources, and test sites, as well as to enable grant applications to fund and accelerate the most promising cleantech start-ups. Cleantech Innovations NE also provides awards to the most promising early-stage projects, leveraging federal and state funding and partner programs.
Major Program Components
Cleantech Innovations New England has developed CleanzoNE, an online platform designed to help parties in the cleantech innovation community find each other and collaborate across the region.
CleanzoNE assists emerging companies by simplifying the task of identifying and connecting with regional resources that can help close the gaps in their business plans, improving their chances of finding independent funding. The platform also enables investors and corporations interested in specific research or product areas to discover and engage with scientists and entrepreneurs throughout New England. The online component of this program was officially launched in the beginning of 2013 and currently consists of over 300 active members, and a network of regional program liaisons.
CleanzoNE supports the solicitation, application, review and award of competitive grants. As more partners add their solicitations to the CleanzoNE network, CleanzoNE aims to be a single interface for entrepreneurs to access and apply for funding opportunities and enabling the judging and administration that the funding body needs.
Cleantech Innovation Cluster Analysis
Through a series of roundtables being held across New England, this program is documenting the landscape of cleantech innovation across the region, and establishing a comprehensive database including both early-stage cleantech companies and the critical infrastructure supporting them. A formal survey to collect feedback on the state of regional cleantech innovation ecosystems has been opened, and we would like to encourage all community to members to respond.
On May 16 the Institute held a roundtable hosted by Brown University to explore cluster activity and resources in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. The event included representation from universities, investors, emerging cleantech companies and a variety of programs supporting commercialization. A similar roundtable was hosted at the Southern Maine Community College in Portland, ME on June 3rd, bringing together a similar mix of attendees from Maine and southern New Hampshire. Both events concluded with tours of regional labs and testing facilities that provide services for cleantech companies.
The full analysis will be published later this fall.
Many early stage entrepreneurial ventures face fundamental challenges to starting their business. They may need to build their first working prototype. They may struggle with understanding their market or determining the best business model to pursue. They may need to demonstrate the feasibility of their technology at a commercially viable scale, or they may need physical space for their team and partners. Cleantech Innovations New England utilizes federal and New England state funds to competitively award grants and services to address these challenges.
The NECEC Institute selected five Cleantech Open Northeast finalists to receive incubation support while participating in the 2014 Cleantech Open Northeast Accelerator program. Winners received subsidized incubation opportunities at Association of Cleantech Incubators of New England (ACTION) incubators. EuphorbUS will utilize space at E2Tech (Casco Bay Technology Hub) in Portland, Maine, and AdaptiveAlgo, NBD Nanotechnologies, Inc., Vecarius, Inc. and Sistine Solar will use space at Greentown Labs in Somerville, MA.
Incubation and State Program Liaisons
In order to foster connections across the community, the Institute also has “people on the street” in the cleantech incubation community through ACTION (the Association of Cleantech Incubators Of New England) and through a network of State Program Liaisons. These liaisons connect entrepreneurs to mentors, research, test and development facilities, and offer expert advice and counsel to cleantech entrepreneurs on resources to help accelerate their start-ups.
In December 2012, with the support and collaboration of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Cleantech Innovations NE announced a competition to grant service awards of up to $130,000 to supplement the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)’s $1M InnovateMass demonstration challenge. These supplemental awards will support companies delivering technologies that offer long-term, resilient, and market-based solutions to the problem of nutrient pollution caused by insufficient wastewater treatment in coastal areas. In June 2013, the first recipient was announced. Advanced Environmental Technologies (AET) was selected to receive an award of $130,000 jointly funded by the NECEC Institute ($60K) and MassCEC ($70K). AET plans to prototype an innovative multi-stage residential waste filtration system. When completed the system will dramatically reduce the release of nitrogen into the environment in coastal areas like Cape Cod.
This July, the NECEC Institute announced two winners in the latest round of the Cleantech Innovations New England startup challenge awards. Pika Energy of Westbrook, ME and SeaChange Group (SCG) of Cape Elizabeth, ME, were each awarded $30,000 in funded services to assist their respective companies. The Institute also launched a $70,000 award program targeted at innovative water technologies as part of the Institute's continued effort to drive regional collaboration and foster cleantech entrepreneurship.
Recent Cleantech Innovations NE Awards
Updates on Selected Direct Awardees
Both Black Island and Dynamo are currently seeking private financing through strategic partners or individual investors. Contact the NECEC Institute if interested in receiving introductions to either company.
Cluster & Economic Development
The NECEC Institute’s Cluster & Economic Development program focuses on identifying and removing barriers to growth affecting promising market sectors of the region’s clean energy industry. The program leads segment-specific projects that convene a diverse set of collaborators to analyze barriers and develop recommendations for market segment growth, technology development and deployment, and public policy. Current projects include:
An Offshore Wind Task Force was convened to consider barriers to financing and contracting of next-generation offshore projects - a report of task force findings, Offshore Wind: Recommendations for a Coordinated Aggregated Power Procurement Mechanism for Offshore Wind Projects in New England was released in June 2013.
The goal of the NECEC Institute's Corporate Sustainability Initiative is to accelerate the creation and adoption of sustainable technologies. NECEC staff is working with the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, among others, to connect the region's technology innovators with large energy users in order to facilitate demonstration projects and access to first customers. This will be accomplished through technology roundtables and a demonstration project practice guide.
The final report for the Massachusetts DPU's grid modernization docket was delivered on July 2. In addition to coordinating the "clean energy caucus" position for the report, organizing the perspectives of NECEC members in collaboration with regulators and other grid participants, NECEC also coordinated the submission of follow-on comments after the report's submission.
Education & Workforce Development
The Institute’s Workforce Development program collaborates with government agencies, industry employers and the region’s educational community to develop a world-class clean energy workforce in New England. In collaboration with Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), and with funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the State of Vermont, the Institute manages and updates an online directory of all clean energy related training and education programs in Massachusetts and Vermont, from vocational high schools to PhDs. This comprehensive online training directory is located at CleanEnergyEducation.org.
In addition, the Institute and its partners help grow the cleantech sector by providing accurate labor market research studies, paid internship programs, training opportunities and career pathways with industry and educational partners, a professional development network for clean energy HR executives, and career awareness events.
- Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report
MassCEC released the 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, which for the third straight year, found that the Massachusetts clean energy economy is growing. The 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report shows clean energy jobs grew by 11.8% from 2012 to 2013, following 11.2% growth the year before and 6.7% growth in 2011. In just the past two years, clean energy sector jobs have grown by 24% overall. Read the full report here.
- Massachusetts Community Colleges and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda (MCCWDTA)
Working with a $20 million grant from the US Department of Labor, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is engaged in a creative initiative to help the state’s community colleges and career assistance centers do a better job of meeting the workforce needs of six selected industries, including clean energy. The MCCWDTA has contracted with the Institute to provide technical assistance and employer engagement help to community colleges with emerging programs aimed at energy efficiency, solar energy, integrated facilities management, HVAC, sustainability management and energy management. Track this project at www.mccwdta.org.
- Leadership Roundtable on Sustainable Facilities Management Workforce Needs
On September 13, 85 people attended "The Future of Facilities Management: Workforce Development and Training Needs for Sustainable Facilities in Massachusetts" a roundtable discussion involving representatives from community colleges, and over 50 leading facilities management employers. The event was organized and facilitated by the NECEC Institute, as part of a contract with the Massachusetts Community Colleges and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda (www.mccwdta.org). The Institute recruited a significant group of co-sponsors for the Roundtable, including: International Facilities Management Association (Boston) Sustainability Committee, UMass Boston, A Better City, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the US Green Building Council, Bunker Hill Community College, and MA DCAMM.
- Rhode Island Energy Efficiency Workforce Study
Under contract to National Grid, the Institute completed a study of the number and types of jobs supported by energy efficiency incentives in Rhode Island in 2012. The final report found a total of 528.71 "full-time equivalent workers" (FTEs) with average annual earnings of more than $51,000.
- Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Internship Program
In September, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) announced it will begin accepting applications for the fall session of the 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Internship Program, co-sponsored by NECEC. The program, which provides paid internship opportunities for college students and recent graduates at Massachusetts-based clean energy companies, set a record in the 2013 summer session with more applicants than ever! A total of 125 companies and 914 students applied to the program this summer. Since the program kicked off in 2011, 328 students and recent graduates have been placed in internships at more than 110 clean energy companies. For more information about the program, please visit ma.cleanenergyeducation.org.
Leading Clean Energy Ventures: Executive Certificate Program
Offered in partnership with the Boston University School of Management, this Certificate program in "Leading Clean Energy Ventures" helps entrepreneurs and executives master the clean energy sector. The course, which evolved out of the LCEV New England Clean Energy Council's signature Fellowship program, features both in-person and remote learning opportunities as well as a capstone project. Click here for more information.
About The New England Clean Energy Council and the NECEC Institute
The New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC, a 501(c)(6) trade member organization) is the lead voice for hundreds of clean energy companies across New England, influencing the energy policy agenda and growing the clean energy economy. The NECEC Institute (a 501(c)(3)) is a leader in programs that support Innovation, Cluster Research & Economic Development, and Education & Workforce Development.
As sister entities under the NECEC umbrella, the organizations share a common mission to accelerate New England’s clean energy economy to global leadership by building an active community of stakeholders and a world-class cluster of clean energy companies. NECEC leads efforts in Policy, Government Affairs, Communications, Member Benefits and Stakeholder Engagement, while the NECEC Institute executes projects in the areas of Innovation, Cluster Research & Economic Development, and Education & Workforce Development.
- Mitch Tyson, Tyson Associates (Board Chair)
- Rob Day, Black Coral Capital
- John DeVillars, BlueWave Capital, LLC
- Dan Goldman, GreatPoint Energy
- Margaret Hall, GreenLight Fund
- Richard Lester, MIT
- Jim Matheson, Oasys Water & Flagship Ventures
- Lawrence Miller, State of Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
- Rob Pratt, GreenerU