Clean energy competition offers 200k top prize

A national competition is offering a prize of $200,000 to the student entrepreneurs who can come up with a winning clean energy business plan.

The First Look West, or FLoW, contest invites student teams to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy’s first-ever business plan competition for clean energy.

In addition to the prize money, organizers say, FLoW offers mentoring programs, legal start-up packages and the opportunity for students to pitch the idea to investors.

Students must attend accredited universities and submit an application by Feb. 15, 2012. The competition -- one of six awarded regionally as part of a three-year, $2 million DOE program -- focuses on California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho, Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa. Top teams proceed to final judging, which will be held at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena on April 30 and May 1, 2012.

Panels of experts will select a winning team from each region to compete for a National Grand Prize at a competition in Washington, D.C. in June 2012.

Organizers say the goal is to "shine a spotlight on the best young innovators in the country and attract the follow-on support the competitors will need to bring game-changing new ideas to the market quickly."

For more information and to apply, go to