The curious collection of a slightly mad scientist
The US Navy has just pumped $30 million into the Energy Excelerator, a funding agency for renewable energy start-ups in Hawaii. That triples the agency’s operating funding over the past three years, and it gives the ol’ Bronx cheer to certain legislators in Congress who have tried to cut funding for the Navy’s ambitious alternative fuel initiatives. Even at the relatively modest initial funding level, the program has already raised follow-on investments from the private sector totaling more than $38 million.
The Energy Excelerator, which also receives funding from the Department of Energy and other partners, has 17 success stories under its belt, and with this new round of funding the ripple effect could be huge. In addition to potential application elsewhere in the US, companies that get under way with help from the Energy Excelerator have the whole Asia Pacific island nation market at their feet.
Hawaii has a twofold, urgent motive for weaning itself from fossil fuel dependency: extremely high prices (quadruple the national average) and long supply lines. Both are intertwined with the state’s importance to the US Navy, most famously in the form of Pearl Harbor, which also explains why the Department of Defense has been adopting renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Hawaii hand over fist. …