Clean Energy Trust Announces 2012 Clean Energy Challenge, Expands Competition to Businesses Across the Midwest Region

Sept. 22, 2011
More than $200,000 in Prizes Offered at Second Annual Clean Energy Business Plan Competition

The Clean Energy Trust (CET) will begin accepting applications on Nov. 1, 2011 for the second annual Clean Energy Challenge, to be held March 1, 2012 in Chicago. More than $200,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the best early-stage companies and student-generated Midwest business ideas with the potential to bring new clean energy technology to the marketplace.

The inaugural competition, held earlier this year, drew more than 70 applications from Illinois companies working in all aspects of clean energy. Four winners, Clean Urban Energy, NextGen Solar, Thermal Conservation Technologies and Lotus Creative Innovations received awards totaling $140,000.

The 2012 competition will be opened to businesses from Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

“The initial challenge took creative concepts in clean energy and helped accelerate development of these Illinois-based businesses,” said Amy Francetic, Clean Energy Trust executive director. “Some of those first winners have gone on to receive venture funding and are further developing their innovations. This time we’re including companies from all over the Midwest and will be awarding more money to both early-stage businesses and student concepts.”

Finalists will present their projects to a panel of judges, including venture capitalists, corporations and business leaders at an all-day event on March 1, 2012 at the Spertus Center in Chicago. In addition to prize money, winners will also receive mentoring from the broad group of Clean Energy Trust Advisors whose expertise includes investing, manufacturing, deal making, advanced materials and utility companies.

Applications will be accepted in five categories: renewable energy, low-carbon transportation, Smart Grid, energy efficiency and carbon abatement. Complete rules and criteria are available at

Plans may be submitted beginning November 1, 2011 online at The application deadline is Dec. 5, 2011.