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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Clean Tech Open Challenges Californians to Compete for Green

Inaugural competition features nation's largest prize devoted to environmentally conscious technology development

SAN FRANCISCO, March 21, 2006 -- Organizers today announced the inaugural California Clean Tech Open, a competition that will gather entrepreneurs here in September to vie for the nation's largest cash and service prize devoted to innovations that have a positive impact on the environment.  

"The city of San Francisco is a national leader in its support of programs that promote sustainable living and environmental improvement," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. "The California Clean Tech Open creates an opportunity for the city to partner with area businesses to magnify these efforts, establish a new category of local industry and create an abundance of new, high-quality jobs for our residents. We're honored to host this inaugural competition."

Venture capital firms invested more than $1.5 billion in clean technology companies in 2005. The wave of innovation in clean tech rivals the early days of similar technology growth drivers in California, including the semiconductor, personal computer and Internet. Initiated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Club of Northern California (MIT CNC) Clean Technology Program, the Clean Tech Open will help turn ideas into real businesses, creating new jobs as part of a clean tech economy in California.

"Economic growth and environmental preservation are two sides of the same coin," said Terry Tamminen, special advisor to the governor of California and former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, "There's no better illustration of that point than the California Clean Tech Open, which challenges California entrepreneurs to bring new, clean technologies to market. I encourage business leaders, policy makers, and environmental advocates to support this innovative, exciting competition."

The competition encourages professionals and students throughout the state to submit proposals in five categories: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Smart Power, Transportation, and Water Management. Judges selected from an elite panel of experts--including venture capitalists, researchers and faculty from the state's leading universities and research laboratories and leading industrialists from related sectors--will determine a winner in each category and an overall winner.

"The Clean Tech Open convenes the state's best and brightest minds to develop technological solutions to some extremely complex and important problems," said Art Rosenfeld, California Energy Commissioner. "This is a competition with no losers. All of California, and the rest of the world, benefit when natural resources are used more efficiently."

California's economic sustainability is threatened by the increasing global competition for natural resources. Thus, making more efficient use of today's energy and water resources, and finding new resources that are more plentiful, less expensive to produce, and less harmful to society is absolutely critical. The Clean Tech Open addresses these challenges by moving innovative technical solutions from concept to reality.

"The Clean Technology initiative cleverly draws on California's twin strengths: our tradition of high-tech entrepreneurship, and a history of leadership in tackling the globe's most pressing problems," said Paul Saffo, director and Roy Amara Fellow for the Institute of the Future.   "It is only appropriate that the place where both the PC and Earth Day were born should now give us the California Clean Tech Open."

About The California Clean Tech Open

The mission of the California Clean Tech Open is to encourage the development of clean technology companies that foster a healthy natural environment -- companies that provide environmental benefits in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, pollution reduction and resource protection, and conservation.  The competition will also serve as a platform to educate the public, as well as the participants, about the environmental challenges we face and new technologies that can provide solutions to those challenges. The inaugural competition opens in April 2006, and winners will be announced in September at a finals event in the Bay Area. The best plan submitted from five categories--Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Smart Power, Transportation, and Water Management--will be awarded a bundle of prizes to create a sustainable business. The competition was initiated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Club of Northern California (MITCNC) with founding partners Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Plug & Play Real Estate, A&R Partners, and Horn Murdock Cole.

A group of entrepreneurs and technologists from Silicon Valley--Derry and Charlene Kabcenell, Mark Farley, Geoff Ralston, and Michael and Amy Santullo--have generously provided the charter funding to launch the competition. University partners include: the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley; Berkeley Institute for the Environment; Business Association of Stanford Engineering Students; Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University; Stanford Graduate School of Business Environmental Management Club; and Stanford Graduate School of Business Energy Club. Government partners include the City of San Francisco. Venture capital partners include Foundation Capital and Venrock Associates. Innovation partners include Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, SRI International, Technology Ventures Corporation, and Electric Power Research Institute. Other supporting organizations include California Clean Energy Fund, Clean Edge, Environmental Entrepreneurs, and Natural Resources Defense Council.

Acterra: Action for a Sustainable Earth, a California 501(c)3 non-profit public benefit corporation (Tax ID 23-7064937) is the administrative and fiscal sponsor of the 2006 The California Clean Tech Open legally responsible for the activities of the competition.

Acterra is located at 3921 East Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4303.

Additional details about the program are available at  

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