Vincentian Welectricity Initiative Wins GE Award

Welectricity, a social network created in St Vincent and that Grenadines, that helps users track and reduce their electricity consumption at home, has been named by General Electric (GE) as one of the 10 award-winners of their global Ecomagination Smart Grid Challenge.

At an award ceremony held yesterday in New York City, GE named five US$100,000 innovation award winners, an additional five US$10,000 consumer innovation award winners and announced 12 business partnerships that will attract a total venture capital investment of $55 million. Other venture partnerships, up to a total investment of US$200 million, are planned to be announced by GE over the next year and a half.

Welectricity, the brainchild of Vincentian energy consultant Herbert Samuel, won a consumer innovation award for “Best Idea for the Millennial”.

Welectricity, a free web application (at www.welectricity.com) that allows users to track and reduce their electricity consumption at home, was launched on April 22nd and in seven months had registered users from over 60 countries worldwide. A key feature of Welectricity is that it is a low-carbon solution that only requires access to an internet-connected computer and some information from existing utility bills. No smart meters or other in-house monitoring devices need to be manufactured, packaged, shipped, purchased and installed for Welectricity to work.

“After all,” Welectricity’s blog notes, “what’s the point of using a whole lot of energy and carbon emissions to bring you a bunch of new stuff that’s meant to help you use less energy and emit less carbon?”

The Ecomagination Challenge, a global competition to find and fund the world’s best ideas to power the 21st century smart grid, was launched by GE on July 13th and attracted almost 4,000 ideas from more than 150 countries.

The challenge is GE’s commitment to developing an innovative, global clean energy future and is backed by a US$200 million fund, in collaboration with leading venture capital firms RockPort Capital, KPCB, Foundation Capital, and Emerald Technology Ventures.

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