GE on Tuesday invited technologists, entrepreneurs, and start-ups all over the world to enter a $200 million challenge that seeks ideas to create a smarter and cleaner power grid while also accelerating the adoption of more efficient grid technologies.

Proposals are sought in three, broad categories: Renewables, Grid Efficiency, and Eco Homes/Eco Buildings. Entrants to the “GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid” will be offered the opportunity to develop a commercial relationship with GE through investment, validation by GE’s technical and commercial teams, distribution of promising start-ups and ideas, and product development. Five winning entries will also win a $100,000 innovation challenge award.

Entries for the 10-week-long competition can be submitted at www.ecomagination.com.

The challenge was launched in collaboration with venture capital firms Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer and RockPort Capital, and Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief, Wired magazine.

Candidates for a future commercial relationship with GE will be evaluated by a committee of representatives of GE businesses and the challenge partner firms. A separate, independent judging panel including challenge advisor Chris Anderson, GE executives, and leading academics and technologists will also provide input on the commercial relationship candidates.

Members of the general public will also be able to review and comment on entries and show support for the idea that they believe will have the most impact on the smart grid of the future.

"Innovation is the engine of the global effort to transform the way we create, connect and use power," GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said. "At GE we have invested broadly and deeply in digital energy solutions and see this as a substantial market for us, but we can’t do it alone. We want to work with our partners to make sure we have a comprehensive digital energy offering. This challenge is about collaboration and we are inviting others to help accelerate progress in creating a cleaner, more efficient and economically viable grid. We want to jump-start new ideas and deploy them on a scale that will modernize the electrical grid around the world."

Source: GE