Applications Open in Summer for SMUD SHINE Awards 2022

Applications Open in Summer for SMUD SHINE Awards 2022

On June 1 through August 1 the window is open for applications for SHINE Awards from SMUD.  These awards can create sales opportunities for clean tech companies to install clean energy tech in underserved communities.  Here’s one example:   With a $10,000 award, a community organization in South Sacramento installed the “Friendliest Bus Stop in Town”, adding a bench, shade structure, solar power kiosk cell phone charger/Wi-Fi for public use, free little library, bike rack, bike pump and repair stand.  There are dozens of others that involved installing EV charging stations, new LED lighting, rooftop solar, and high-efficiency HVAC.  

Betty Low, Program Manager in the Sustainable Communities Department at SMUD, explained that the awards could be for as much as $100,000.  There are three levels of awards – the Spark level up to $10,000 (with a 25% match required), the Amplifier level ($10,001 to $50,000 with a 50% match requirement), and the Transformer level ($50,001 to $100,000 with a dollar-for-dollar match requirement).  SMUD is looking for applications in 4 categories:  

Social Well-being

Healthy Environment

Prosperous Economy

Improved Mobility

  • Community education
  • Community safety
  • Infrastructure improvements
  • Collective impact partnerships
  • Under-served community development
  • Air quality improvements
  • Carbon emission reduction
  • Climate readiness
  • Environmental justice
  • Health equity
  • Tree canopy
  • Digital accessibility
  • Economic development
  • Small business development
  • Low-income programs
  • Workforce development
  • Technology skills training
  • Electric vehicle
  • Autonomous transportation
  • Public transit access
  • Charging station
  • Walkability
  • Shared mobility access

 

These are pretty broad, so be creative.  A list of all the prior awards is on the SMUD website, so take a look at those for some inspiration.

The awards will cover materials, out-of-pocket expenses, consultants and vendors.  Covering staff costs requires paying prevailing wages, but can be done, according to Betty.  Matching money can be contributions of in-kind costs up to half of the match requirement.  

SMUD is making 6 webinars available in the summer to help you understand the requirements and to give an opportunity to ask questions.  Take advantage of one of those if you are interested.  The dates and sign-ups are on the SMUD website as well.  

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart's Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | TobinBlueTech Valley, Revrnt, River City Bank

Moss AdamsPowerSoft.biz, Greenberg Traurig, California Mobility Center

State Of CleanTech

State Of CleanTech

Since 2005 CleanStart has been working to build the Greater Sacramento region as a clean tech hub. Because of this work and the growing community Sacramento is well positioned to capitalize on the energy transition. Becoming a self sustaining beehive of activity cleantech hub with $5 billion in revenue and 10,000 jobs is just around the corner. With everyone from private industry to government to individuals our regional energy transition could mean an increased quality of life, equitable economic development and sustainable living for all.

Clean Tech has been hot. There have been high valuations and public successes. While the market may eb and flow, the demand for clean energy and innovative solutions will still grow with people seeking solutions to reduce the impact of climate change and demanding energy independence from authoritative regimes. With this demand, receptive policy makers, and innovation expect the growth and returns to continue. 

Recently our region has had some very positive trends with new companies launching regularly and investment coming to the region.  Regional investment in Clean Tech Companies that began as startups here hit a new record $1.95 Billion since 2019.  For the first time, 5 regional companies have attracted attention from national and international investors and corporate partners. This is a result of support provided to companies, getting their technologies investment ready.

Over the past year I’ve been documenting and cataloging and connecting with every company I could identify in the Sacramento region to find out what they are working on, how many are working on it, and how much revenue they are bringing to the region. This part of CleanStart’s progress report, we do these every couple years to gauge our progress towards turning the region into a clean tech hub. The result has been in over 9900 jobs in the Sacramento region and over 100 clean tech companies these clean tech companies are producing defendable IP in batteries, zero emissions fuels, home efficiency and more.

I previewed the Progress Report in my “State of Clean Tech” talk at the 2022 Clean Tech Showcase. We are nearly to our goal and the beehive of activity is activating the virtuous cycle supporting companies’ growth. Now we need to harvest the ecosystem to serve as a catalyst for the energy transition in the Greater Sacramento region.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, Moss Adams GreenbergTraurig

BlueTech Valley, PowerSoft.biz, Revrnt, Synbyo, Califronia Mobility Center

Happy Accident Could Lead to Cheap 2000-Mile EV Battery

Happy Accident Could Lead to Cheap 2000-Mile EV Battery

Battery scientists have always lusted for a way to use sulfur as the cathode in lithium-ion batteries because sulfur can donate up to 8 electrons per atom—and it is really cheap and abundant.  It is largely a waste by-product today.  To date, the use of sulfur has been limited because over time it forms crystals that degrade it quickly, resulting in a life of only 1000-cycles.  The only known way to avoid the crystallization has been to operate at high temperatures (>200F).  As a result, these long-life batteries with their heating systems are big, heavy, and suitable only for stationary sites.  

All of that may be about to change, according to a recent article.  Scientists at Drexel University discovered a new phase of sulfur by accident that prevents crystallization at room temperature.  That could be a game-changer in many ways.  Lithium-sulfur batteries do not need cobalt, or manganese, or titanium.  They would be lightweight, have long lives, and high energy density if they use this new phase material.  It would open the door to EV battery packs with thousands of miles of range that would recharge at rates comparable to today’s lithium-ion batteries.  They would enable long-distance electric airplanes and trucks, with little range worry.  Even cargo and passenger ships could go full-electric.

The Drexel team, however, have not yet figured out what is actually happening to create this new phase or how to make sure it stays that way.  But it is a very exciting prospect.  

It is doubly exciting because the same researchers were working on ways to make a sodium-sulfur battery, eliminating the need for expensive lithium altogether.  If that works, and it may take more than a decade to find out, then the whole landscape for electric vehicles of all types would change dramatically.  

There, of course, is no guarantee all this will come to pass.  But it is one of dozens of routes that lead to batteries with remarkably better performance and lower cost.  If you are looking at a product that would compete with batteries, you would be well-advised to consider where battery technology could be by the time your innovation could be ready to market.  It will be a rapidly changing target.  

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStart's Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | TobinBlueTech Valley, Revrnt, River City Bank

Moss AdamsPowerSoft.biz, Greenberg Traurig, California Mobility Center


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