Jim Saber, President & CEO
It’s hard to believe 2019 is coming to an end, but when I look back on all that we’ve accomplished this year, it’s hard to believe that it’s only been 12 months. I’m so proud of this team and thankful for the great partners and clients; together we’ve made a real difference.
In our January newsletter, I shared with all of you an introduction to our “new” look. This included a new logo, a mission to “work with innovators to accelerate smarter, cleaner, more accessible solutions for communities and cities,” and a clearly defined process to help our clients achieve their goals:
- Rapid proof-of-concept and business model exploration
- Access to the innovation pipeline
- Opportunities to leverage research, development and commercialization funding
- Mentoring and consulting to facilitate connections to industry partners and investors
Here’s a look back on the year’s highlights:
Under the direction our director of technology, Wayne Snyder, we continued our support of the PlanetM Mobility Grant Pilots. Wayne worked closely with the PlanetM team to successfully launched 11 mobility pilots (Wayne please confirm actual number) within Michigan communities to accelerate new mobility options and services ranging from improved road condition monitoring, to safety for first responders and automated vehicle deployments.
Wayne also wrapped up our work on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s MATch energy program, providing matching funds and support to technology developers pursuing ARPA-E funding. This year grant recipients Michigan State University and Neuvokas launched new research and development programs bringing the total number of companies who have leveraged the program to 13.
Tim Slusser, our director of smart mobility initiatives, and Eric McDonald, our director of facilities and infrastructure worked closely throughout the year with the US Department of Energy and our partners including Delta Products, General Motors, and DTE Energy to develop and test an electric vehicle charger which can provide 180 miles of driving range in 10 minutes. Look for more on this Extreme Fast Charging project in the coming months, including testing that will take place here at the Industry Innovation Center campus.
Tim is also working closely with the Downtown Detroit Partnership on the ChargeD program (a Kinetic Partners pilot project) on ways to activate four new fast chargers installed in Beacon Park. The goal of this project is to develop strategies for educating consumers, businesses and communities on the benefits of EVs.
Our three-year LiTES program led by Nathalie Osborn; our director of smart grid initiatives and Eric McDonald is in the final reporting stages. Through this partnership with the DOE, DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, and the IBEW, we piloted advanced lighting controls in 27 buildings which have seen on average, a 29% efficiency improvement. We trained approximately 100 contractors and installers, promoted the application at several conferences and workshops, and received feedback from dozens of participants in the value chain via surveys and interviews. Look for the final reports on our website in the coming months.
This year we also decided to formalize one of NextEnergy’s biggest assets: Our diverse and extensive network of partners and clients. Innovators, corporations and cities can now apply to “Join our Network” to take advantage of the opportunities and connections that can help you achieve your goals.
In 2019, our renewed focus and mission allowed us to partner and support companies in bringing the exciting solutions closer to reality and into the market. We look forward to continuing our work and sharing some new and exciting opportunities in 2020 so please stay tuned. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me or any member of the NextEnergy team to discuss how we can work together to bring these smarter, cleaner, more accessible solutions to communities and cities.