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CEC is committed to creating a more resilient and just region in the face of climate change. Through our work with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and elsewhere, our vision includes an end to racial injustices and their resulting environmental inequities.

One of CEC’s greatest strengths is its extensive partner network. This month, we are proud to share about our work with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator to support Energize California, a new initiative designed to strengthen the region’s clean energy economy.

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator is a non-profit, public-private partnership that helps promising companies deliver market-ready cleantech solutions and the jobs that come with them. Recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI, since 2011, LACI has helped more than 65 companies raise $130M+ in funding, create 1,500 jobs, and deliver more than $335M in long-term economic value. LACI incubation services combine mentorship, access to funders, partnerships with research institutions, and connections to utilities, public agencies, and customers to help cleantech startups attain success.

A Statewide Initiative

Energize California is a new initiative from LACI that is focused on building the clean energy economy. Funded through a six-year, $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission, Energize California is part of the Commission’s statewide initiative to meet increasing demand for innovation in the energy sector as more renewable resources become available. As one of four similar programs in the state, Energize California’s regional focus is on the Counties of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange.

Supporting Start Ups

The first goal of the program is to speed up the time it takes for clean energy technologies to get to market.To this end, they launched an Innovators Program to help startups focused on accelerating clean energy technologies. Clean energy technologies can include renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, microgrid controllers, demand response, EV infrastructure, and more. Those accepted into the program will receive access to a system of support services and referrals to accelerators, incubators, pilot programs, testing and prototyping facilities, as well as networking opportunities to connect with industry thought-leaders, funding sources, and strategic partners. Interested startups can apply here.

Building an Ecosystem

All new things find it easier to thrive if the surrounding ecosystem is healthy. So in addition to supporting entrepreneurial ventures, Energize California will work to flesh out the network that allows startups to source pilots, access funding, and find needed technical and industry support. This includes helping identify and digitally connect the many organizations, businesses, and other groups dedicated to building a clean energy future. They will also create opportunities for all the players to convene in person.

Launching the LACI Clean Energy Santa Barbara Hub

As part of our partnership, CEC is acting as the local county hub, supporting in grant writing and networking, and also housing Energize California’s Director for Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, Kelly Ferguson. Her role with LACI and Energize California is to build the local network and plug it into the regional system to better support clean energy entrepreneurs.

With Santa Barbara City’s recent commitment to 100% renewables by 2030 and a decision on Community Choice Energy on the horizon, the area is poised to rapidly reshape its energy future. It has all of the pieces – cutting edge research institutions; a deep community of business mentors; a vast network of business services, co-working spaces, and progressive institutions; and a strong culture of advocacy and environmentalism.

Other Energize California partners include the County of Los Angeles, the City of Los Angeles, Southern California Edison, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Sustain OC, the California State University System, the LA Business Technology Center, Cleantech Open, CalTech’s FLoW program, and the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. To learn more about Energize California and sign up for news, updates, and energy events, join their network at

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