WSI Bank of the West Clean Energy Challenge, SDG 7WSI

Congratulations to the Bank of the West Clean Energy Challenge winner, runners up, and finalists! Explore the top entries

Design a product, service, or initiative that empowers small businesses and individual households to play a role in the transition to clean energy.

SDG 7 is an area where a big idea could be a real game-changer.

Your challenge from Bank of the West is to think about what you and your neighbors or your local business community could do to speed the transition from fossil fuels to cleaner, 100% sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower.

Many large corporations are already taking action. But the majority of the businesses in the world are small-to-medium-sized businesses with roots in our local communities. How can these local businesses do their part? And what about individual households? If we're ever going to see real change in our energy consumption habits, somehow everyone's got to get on board.

We’re looking for new ways to activate our local communities so this transition to clean energy happens much more rapidly. Can you come up with an idea for a product, service or initiative (which might be anything from an awareness campaign to a task force) that will promote action?

There are many scenarios that would speed our transition towards modern energy sources. Here are some thought-starters to get you going:

  • Think about what influences investors to get behind producing renewable energy and what influences communities to accept or reject proposals to build things like wind farms, solar farms, geothermal plants, and other energy-producing projects. What could change the dynamic when an energy entrepreneur pitches a potential investor or when a community debates the pros and cons of a renewable energy project?
  • Think about what motivates small- and medium-sized businesses to install photovoltaic roof panels, switch to electric fleet vehicles or delivery trucks, or take other steps to reduce their use of fossil fuels. What are the barriers to action? Can you think of innovative ideas to get past those barriers?
  • Or bring this closer to home. Think about what it might take to persuade a homeowner to install solar panels, participate in net metering, make the next family car a hybrid, explore the possibility of a backyard wind turbine, or swap their oil furnace for a heat pump. Some of the barriers are financial, but some are about public information. We know, for example, that consumers realize substantial cost savings on utility bills and increase the resale value of their homes when they adopt geothermal solutions for heating and cooling, yet the vast majority of homeowners haven't even considered it. Are there ways to reduce the upfront costs or reduce consumer resistance to unfamiliar technologies?
  • What are the career options in renewable energy? Accelerating our transition to renewables might also be a way to create jobs for youth or upskill older workers.
  • Would arming citizens with better information empower everyone to be part of this movement towards clean, modern energy?

Bank of the West

We are driven by our fundamental belief in redefining banking for a better future. At a time when people demand more from companies, we are taking action to ensure our activities help protect the planet, improve people's lives, and strengthen communities. That's why we are focusing on areas where we can have a real impact: supporting energy transition, helping enable women entrepreneurs and financing innovative start-ups. As the bank for a changing world, Bank of the West is committed to sustainable finance along with our parent company BNP Paribas. Through Digital Channels and offices across the U.S., Bank of the West provides financial tools and resources to more than 2 million individuals, families and businesses. © 2019 Bank of the West. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. Doing business in South Dakota as Bank of the West California. Learn more

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One of the most exciting trends we see today is young people leading action on the Global Goals through innovative startups, social enterprises, youth-centered initiatives, and collaborative partnerships that bring together thinkers from business, government and academic circles. We all have to get involved to address the greatest threats facing our planet today.

John Finley / SVP, Head of Innovation, Bank of the West

Bank of the West Clean Energy Challenge Finalists

Explore the top entries in the Bank of the West Clean Energy Challenge.

  • Bike for Watts, a nonprofit that organizes ultra-distance cycling events and donates the human-generated energy to countries in need.
  • Biofood, a program that partners with restaurants and local power companies to turn food waste into biofuels that can generate clean energy. **WINNER**
  • Composity, a unique subscription service that enables household composting at scale and harvests methane for resale.
  • ecoLIGHT, a smart bulb that not only saves power but also educates consumers about their own household energy consumption.
  • EnergyMax, an affordable, modular solution for backyard wind and solar that combines multiple modes of collection, storage and output.
  • FAN-tastic, a residential hydropower solution that harnesses kinetic energy from mini water turbines in placed in plumbing pipes. **RUNNER UP**
  • Hydra, a sustainable way for households to produce clean energy using solar, hydroelectric, and hydrogen fuel cell generators.
  • My Clean Power, an affordable stationary bicycle that lets you maximize the value of your workout by turning kinetic energy into electricity.
  • Powerhouse Planet a nonprofit, eco-friendly gym where the community can work out for free on equipment that generates energy.
  • Spark Light Energy, an innovative, low-cost generator built using off-the-shelf parts and powered by a hand crank. **RUNNER UP**

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