energy

Why the Prince of Denmark Dropped By

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For the past two weeks, the wonderful team at the Urban Future Lab has been busy, helping to transform the big room into an elegant showcase for clean technologies, just in time for Climate Week. And on Monday, the Crown Prince of Denmark dropped by to cut the ribbon.

He didn’t just drop by—he hung out too, checking in on the Lab’s Danish startups, chatting with hot shots in the city’s cleantech and urban fields, and touring the office (and our awesome view of Brooklyn and Manhattan) with Frank Jensen, the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen.

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Bjarke Ingles shows Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, Count of Monpezat, RE, SKmd, a proposal for a more resilient Manhattan waterfront 

The Prince and the Mayor also got a taste of the BIG U, a proposed redevelopment for the southern tip and sides of Manhattan intended to protect the island from rising tides. “You know the High Line?” architect Bjarke Ingles asked the Prince. Uh huh, his highness replied. “This is the ‘Dry Line.’” Everyone snickered. 

The Prince’s visit to the showcase, on the eve of the UN’s climate meeting here in New York, wasn’t totally out of the blue: Denmark and its capital city have become global leaders in sustainable, resilient solutions for energy and for cities. The showcase, called House of Green, and organized by the Danish Cleantech Hub, is meant to underscore the country’s contributions and bring it to market in New York and around the country.

“As mayors, we must create livability for our citizens,” Jensen said during the ribbon cutting for House of Green. He cited the C40 network of cities, hailed the 400,000-strong People’s Climate March on Sunday, and noted that Copenhagen is on track to become a carbon neutral city.

The same day, our own mayor Bill De Blasio announced a comprehensive plan to reduce New York's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels. That would make our hometown the largest city in the world to make that kind of commitment.

Getting to more sustainable, resilient cities isn’t always easy. But the Prince’s visit to the Urban Future Lab was a reminder that that effort is much easier when the private and public sectors can find ways to collaborate and act together. 

As Shakespeare’s Danish prince put it: “The readiness is all.”

Aloha, Energy Innovators!

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We love the warmth and beauty of Hawaii as much as anyone. That’s just one of many reasons we’re excited to be part of the 2015 class of the Energy Excelerator, a novel startup program in Honolulu devoted to "high quality energy entrepreneurs" and their innovations. 

Along with $5M in funding for the selected 17 startups, the Energy Excelerator will provide valuable guidance as we and our classmates expand our markets and advance sustainable consumption. Hawaii presents a special challenge and opportunity for Bandwagon: in terms of traffic congestion, Honolulu is often ranked last among U.S. cities, alongside L.A.

“Bandwagon is excited to get to Hawaii and start hacking on new traffic congestion and pollution problems, and to dig into the airport and event markets from Honolulu to Beijing,“ says David, our CEO.

"Anybody who flies into Honolulu and drives into town—heading to Waikiki, for example—you are immediately struck by the H-1 freeway, seven lanes of traffic going in the same direction,” Dan Grabauskas, executive director and CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation ­(HART), told CityLab. “And if you land at rush hour, it’s a standstill. It surprises people when they come here, to see how much congestion we face." 

The firms involved come from across the spectrum: transportation, agriculture, water, energy efficiency, grid, and resilience.

“We saw a huge jump in the quality of companies applying to our program, with 85 percent having already raised external funding,” says Dawn Lippert, Director of the Energy Excelerator. “Beyond the high level trends, we get to see how emerging energy companies have structured their businesses and how they are targeting the market. We’re looking for where their approach to the market matches the pain points we hear from our public and private sector partners.”

Last year, the Energy Excelerator received a multi-year $30M commitment from the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research to support the commercialization of game-changing clean energy technologies. These new companies double the size of the Energy Excelerator portfolio, who have gone on to raise over $55M of follow-on funding.

—Alex

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You can check out our entire Energy Excelerator 2015 class below:

Bandwagon connects passengers to share rides and taxi fares through their mobile app.

www.bandwagon.io | @hibandwagon

Bidgely tells homeowners how much energy each appliance uses by extracting energy signatures - without the need for lots of hardware sensors.

www.bidgely.com | @bidgely

BrightBox Technologies improves HVAC performance and comfort, and lowers operating costs, through optimization software.

www.brightboxtech.com

BrightLight Systems combines energy efficient lighting and automation.

www.brightlightsystems.com | @brightlightsys

Edisun Heliostats develops low cost concentrated solar power with built-in storage using rocks as a storage medium.

www.edisun.com

Effortless Energy offers free home energy upgrades at no cost to customers.

GoEffortless.com | @goeffortless

FreeWire Technologies combines robotics and energy storage to create a network of mobile electric vehicle chargers.

www.freewiretech.com | @freewiretech 

Go Electric delivers the next generation of microgrids for facilities that need to attach or detach to utility power at a moment’s notice.

www.GoElectricInc.com

Infinite Invention supports the integration of solar on the electric grid through plug-and-play solar connection and control.

www.infiniteinvention.com

Kunoa Cattle Company enables large-scale local food production powered by renewables.

kWh Analytics reduces financial risk and enables solar financing through analysis of asset performance.

kwhanalytics.com | @kwhanalytics

Prota Culture produces biodiesel and animal feed from organic waste.

Rebound Technology turns supermarket freezers into batteries.

www.rebound-tech.com | @reboundtech 

Ridescout aggregates public, private, and social transportation options into one mobile app.

www.ridescout.com | ridescout

Shifted Energy creates a virtual power plant of electric water heaters to store excess renewable energy and deliver demand response.

www.ShiftedEnergy.com | @shiftedenergy 

Spider9 develops smart controllers that make large battery systems more reliable and profitable.

www.spider9.com | @spider9inc1

TransitScreen synthesizes all sustainable transportation options in real time into one screen.

www.transitscreen.com | @transitscreen

Photos by Energy Excelerator and Kyle Nishioka