The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $1.7 million in funding for 18 early-stage clean energy companies. The funding, which comes from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) Catalyst and InnovateMass programs, will support clean energy startups in 10 cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth.
“Providing strategic support to entrepreneurs and startup companies is critical to helping Massachusetts maintain its position as the national leader in cleantech innovation,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These early-stage companies provide a vital source of job creation and economic value while helping the Commonwealth meet the challenges posed by climate change, and we are committed to helping support the growth of the vibrant startup community.”
“Companies at this early stage face critical gaps in funding, and by providing these resources our Administration is able to advance the development of clean energy technologies while supporting local business in the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We are pleased to support these companies, which represent some of the best of Massachusetts’ innovation sector.”
The grants are awarded through MassCEC’s Catalyst Program, which is jointly administered by MassCEC and the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC), and through the InnovateMass Program. Since launching in 2010, Catalyst has awarded $5.49 million to 111 new companies and research teams. Past awardees have raised over $205 million in follow-on funding. Including this latest round, InnovateMass has awarded over $5 million in funding for demonstration projects across the Commonwealth since its launch in 2013, leveraging $6.1 million in other private and public investment.
“The continued strength of the selected projects emphasizes that Massachusetts leads the nation in translating basic research to the market,” said MTTC Interim Executive Director Vinit Nijhawan. “These awards will catalyze the commercial viability of their inventions accelerating them to funded, sustainable businesses.”
“Massachusetts is home to a robust startup community that makes valuable contributions to our state’s nation-leading innovation and clean energy economies,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “As Massachusetts takes action to mitigate the impacts of climate change, these researchers and entrepreneurs are pursuing groundbreaking advancements in technology that will help the Commonwealth lower peak demand and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
“With this capital infusion at this early stage in their development, these companies and researchers can access needed resources that will help them bridge critical funding gaps,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “We are pleased to support these next-generation projects, which are pursuing groundbreaking climate solutions that will help the Commonwealth increase its resilience and meet the challenges posed by climate change.”
According to the 2019 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, the clean energy sector in Massachusetts has grown 86 percent since 2010 and employs 111,836 workers across the state. The Massachusetts clean energy sector is a $14 billion industry, representing about 2.5 percent of the state’s overall economy.
These awards build on the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to grow the Commonwealth’s clean energy economy and meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. In 2016, Governor Baker signed into law bipartisan comprehensive energy diversification legislation requiring utilities to competitively solicit and contract for approximately 1,600MW of offshore wind and approximately 1,200MW of clean energy. Under an environmental bond bill signed by Governor Baker in 2018, DOER was directed to create a new clean peak standard for electricity suppliers to increase the usage of clean energy during periods of high, carbon intensive, and expensive electricity demand.
As emissions from the transportation sector account for over 40 percent of total emissions, the Baker-Polito Administration is focused on investing in clean transportation solutions. The Commonwealth is currently working with 10 other states across the Northeast and the District of Columbia to develop a market-based ‘cap-and-invest’ program to reduce the emissions that cause climate change, while creating economic opportunity and investing in clean transportation options. The administration recently announced a reopening of the Commonwealth’s electric vehicle rebate program, Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) beginning on January 1, 2020 and lasting through at least December 31, 2021, and an investment of at least $27 million per year in 2020 and 2021 to electric vehicle incentive programs including MOR-EV.
“These grants demonstrate our collective desire to commit resources in order to unleash the power of innovation,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R - Gloucester). “We are continuing to reduce waste in the form of pollution and increase our capacity to leverage next level research and entrepreneurship.”
“Massachusetts has been at the forefront of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and with the Baker-Polito Administration’s calls to pursue an even more aggressive net-zero emissions standard by 2050, we will be counting on support from the clean energy sector to help us meet this ambitious target,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “By investing in clean energy startup companies, these grants will help to fuel the innovations needed to address climate change and pave the way for the Commonwealth to achieve its emissions reduction goals.”
“It has been incredible to see the growth in the clean energy economy since the legislature created MassCEC through the Green Jobs Act of 2008, and MassCatalyst’s latest round of grants is a reminder of the state’s strong support for entrepreneurial companies that are eager to put technology and people to work to shrink our carbon footprint,” said State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr., Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “I applaud MassCEC for their continued success in leveraging investments to further strengthen our green economy and to propel us into a clean energy future.”
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