On September 27, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) released a Request for Proposals seeking applications to the InnovateMass program, which provides up to $250,000 in grant funding for clean energy and water innovation technologies that demonstrate a strong potential for commercialization. In this cycle, MassCEC will also be funding a robotics technology demonstration project under the InnovateMass Robotics Carve-Out. Grants will be awarded to projects that (1) demonstrate innovations in a robot’s energy supply and/or storage system; or (2) deploy robots for clean energy applications.

Building, maintaining, and scaling a sustainable and innovative robotics companies requires accounting for a number of corporate and legal considerations unique to the start-up technology space. For those considering submitting a proposal under the InnovateMass Robotics Carve-Out, Mintz Levin’s Robotics, UAV, and AI practice may offer some valuable insights. When establishing or expanding on a robotics venture, there are a number of vital decisions to be made each step of the way, such as: hiring a key developer, negotiating a critical license or government contract, developing a commercialization strategy, sourcing and negotiating with investors, or seeking exit. Mintz Levin’s team of attorneys and technology specialists has helped groundbreaking robotics companies across the country successfully navigate these questions, and shares key lessons and invaluable resources for similar ventures on its interactive dynamic website, http://www.mintzedge.com/.

As MassCEC’s RFP reflects, the push for scalable innovation in energy, robotics, and artificial intelligence technology is greater than ever before. Along with a skyrocketing demand to commercialize these technologies, we are also seeing major growth in private investment and M&A transactions in the robotics space. 2016 saw over $19 billion paid to acquire 50 robotics companies – a huge leap from $2.27 billion for 32 acquisitions in 2015. 2016 also proved to be the “best year ever for funding robotics startup companies,” with 128 companies seeing a boom in venture capital investments totaling $1.95 billion (a 50% increase from 2015). Companies like Google and Softbank have a vested interest in harnessing and building upon the significant progress initiated by smaller, more targeted tech enterprises, and they’re willing to pay for it – so it makes sense for robotics companies to strategize early for a potential exit transaction down the road. In his article for the National Law Review, Mintz Levin’s Marc Mantell offers a deeper look into the essential elements of the most successful robotics company sales: securing the right legal, accounting, and financial teams; preparing a data room; assessing your intellectual property; carefully approaching deal structure; and protecting your confidential information. Check out Marc’s full recommendations here.

One of President Trump’s early campaign promises was to dismantle the 2015 Clean Water Rule, the Obama administration’s regulation asserting federal power over navigable bodies of water and aiming to replace polluting coal-fired power plants with clean energy facilities. Now, thanks to a district court ruling in D.C., Trump may be one step closer to actualizing that promise. To learn more about this ruling and its impact, read on!

Continue Reading Federal Court Halts Lawsuit Consideration over Obama’s Clean Water Rule; Pruitt Recruits Governors to Shape New EPA Water Regulation

Last night, New England Water Innovation Network (NEWIN) hosted its annual Water Innovation Award Night to celebrate achievements made in the water industry this year. While many innovators in the New England area are creating solutions to address a wide range of water-related challenges, NEWIN recognized three companies for their outstanding innovations, market success, and commitment to furthering the work of NEWIN and the water industry as a whole. I was honored to present the awards to the winners in each category. To find out who are this year’s winners, read on!

Continue Reading 2016 NEWIN Water Innovation Award Winners

On October 27, 2016, Cleantech Open Northeast, the Northeast division of Cleantech Open, a global cleantech accelerator for early-stage clean technology companies, announced the 2016 regional winners of the competition. Four companies focusing on water, efficiency, and energy generation received $20,000 in prizes and will go on to represent the Northeast at the Cleantech Open Global forum in San Francisco, California on February 6-10, 2017. The 2016 regional winners are GreenBlu, Proper Pipe, PV Pure, and Surge Hydro. Selected from a record pool of 107 applicants, Cleantech Open Northeast’s Class of 2016 featured 33 companies developing a diverse array of clean technologies related to energy, agriculture, water, waste management and more. Judges selected the regional finalists from the 24 graduates. To learn more about the Cleantech Open Northeast competition, read on!

Continue Reading Cleantech Open Northeast 2016 Recap

The House of Representatives and Senate returned September 6 from the long August recess that started in mid-July. The House is scheduled to be in session for four weeks and the Senate for five weeks before breaking again for the month of October to campaign. Energy legislation will be debated at the conference of the energy bills (S.2012 and H.R. 8) and potentially during an end of the year tax extenders debate. For further information on energy legislation updates, continue reading!

Continue Reading Energy and Environmental Legislative Updates for Fall 2016

Research published earlier this month in the journal Nature and highlighted in Newsweek explains how substantial amounts of power can be generated when fresh water river mouths flow into bodies of sea water. This natural phenomenon of osmosis involves fresh water coming into contact with sea water through a membrane. The potential of harnessing the process of osmosis is significant: researchers estimate that a 1m2 membrane could produce enough electricity to power 50,000 standard energy-saving light bulbs! To learn more about this breakthrough research, read on.

Continue Reading Natural Process of Osmosis Has Potential to Generate Electricity

This week, the House had hearings on several energy policy issues, including the crude oil export ban, the electric grid, and a broad bipartisan energy package. Also in D.C., President Obama continues his busy fall climate agenda as he prepares for Pope Francis’ visit, which will partly center on the Pope’s environmentally focused encyclical Laudato Si.

The Department of Energy also had two exciting announcements this week. On September 10, the DOE released its second Quadrennial Technology Review, outlining the energy world’s broad research and development challenges. It emphasizes current technological developments in several areas, such as fuel cells and water use, that are crucial to the country’s energy future. The Department also awarded $6.5 million to seven organizations to advance low environmental impact hydropower technologies. For a full report on the week in Washington, read the latest update from ML Strategies.

In late July, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a ruling to help ISO-New England more effectively manage congestion on its grid due to growing renewable energy generation. Due to the intermittent nature of renewable generation, operators nationwide cannot predict when transmission lines might get overloaded. This can cause generators of renewable power to have to curtail their supply through a cumbersome and inefficient manual system. ISO-NE, having experienced this issue firsthand, appealed to the FERC for approval to upgrade from a manual dispatch to electronic management for wind and hydropower resources. In its ruling, FERC granted ISO-NE permission to use a modified electronic dispatch method called DNE Dispatch Points for wind and hydro resources classified as Intermittent Power Resources – those above 5MW.  FERC required ISO-NE to submit a compliance filing within 30 days, with proposed tariff revisions effective April 2016. For implications and analysis on this change, read on!

Continue Reading Recent FERC Decision Provides Welcome News for Operators, Many Renewable Energy Generators

On Tuesday, June 2, CleanEdge, in association with Wells Fargo and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center among others, released its annual U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index. The Index uses a diverse set of industry indicators to rank all 50 states and the country’s 50 largest metro areas on their clean tech advances. It is meant to help drive comparative research and analyze the American clean energy market as a whole. The report gives state and metro overviews, but also ranks locations in specific subcategories such as capital, green buildings, advanced transportation, and carbon management. Read on for a few of the most exciting developments!

Continue Reading CleanEdge U.S. Clean Tech Index – Which Cities and States Are Clean Energy Leaders

In an ambitious and unprecedented move, Hawaii is aiming to increase its current renewable energy output of 21% to a 100% quota by 2045. The state, which carries some of the U.S.’s highest electricity costs, is riding the momentum of decreasing renewable energy prices. Legislators believe Hawaii’s abundant sunshine, wind, ocean and tidal waves, and geothermal activity make it an ideal candidate for quitting fossil fuels. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Mike Gabbard (D – West Oahu), said rather than continuing to spend up to $5 billion annually on fossil fuels, “our islands are blessed with abundant, renewable energy…we should be using these resources for the benefit of our people.”

Continue Reading Hawaii Bill Mandates 100% Renewable Energy by 2045, but Obstacles Remain