Allison Usavage, 76West Content Strategist for the Southern Tier Startup Alliance


Our 76West team traveled to the ARPA-E Summit in Washington, D.C. to introduce 76West to entrepreneurs, technologists, policymakers, innovators, and industry leaders. The Summit, in it’s seventh year, was themed “Celebrating the Energy Entrepreneur” and attracted over 2,100 attendees. Since its launch, the Summit has proven to be a great opportunity for NYSERDA to tap into a national network of energy leaders. This year’s focus on entrepreneurship was an especially exciting fit as we actively seek clean energy entrepreneurs as part of the first application cycle for 76West.

We heard keynotes and interviews with notable speakers such as former Vice President Al Gore, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski. In addition, we attended sessions on ARPA-E programs, advanced fuels, grid storage, and the human-technology interface.

“Energy innovation is inextricably linked to our nation’s growth,” said Senator Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “It makes me thankful to live in a nation which creates systems to promote energy innovation.”

Former Vice President Gore emphasized the need for rapid clean energy innovation, discussed his investment strategy in sustainable businesses, and commended the growing public interest in clean energy. “The light bulbs are coming on, and they are LEDs.” As we work to build energy around 76West, that interest is evident. Our public kick-off events are drawing crowds in the hundreds.

76West was featured in the Technology Showcase next to renowned national labs, 3D printed vehicles, and tangible demonstrations of energy technologies of the future. Our team explored the showcase and introduced the competition to leaders of companies. Our conversations with entrepreneurs didn’t require an introduction to the benefits of being in New York State. Our State has an indisputable positive reputation for being a great home for energy companies, and conversations quickly progressed to “so how do I apply?”

One such company was ThermoLift, who we met as they demonstrated their efficient HVAC prototype on the Technology Showcase floor.

“76West could offer our company the opportunity to build a better understanding of where we fit in the market,” said Jonathan Hass, Senior VP, ThermoLift, Inc. “We’ve been part of a number of competitions including Cleantech Open Northeast and the Clean Energy Trust Challenge and we know that it’s more than the prize that makes an impact. The prize money from 76West could propel us towards commercialization, but it’s the connections that we could build through the competition that can get us to the next stage.”

As part of the ARPA-E Innovation Summit, Michael Shimazu, NYSERDA Senior Advisor for Innovation, and Brian Bauer, 76West Program Director for the Southern Tier Startup Alliance, met with participants in the Corporate Acceleration Program. This was a unique way for breakthrough energy technology companies to connect with NYSERDA and learn about opportunities that best fit their company.

A variety of sessions, networking, and carefully designed matchmaking offered the opportunity for our team to meet a broad array of potential applicants and spread the word about 76West.

Interested in meeting with our team? 76West is sponsoring events across the Southern Tier and we’re attending industry events across the country. Check out our events calendar at