Amsterdam Renewable Energy Incubator Announces Grant Programme

Amsterdam store window displaying various medical cannabis, hemp food and other types of products
Amsterdam store window displaying various medical cannabis, hemp food and other types of products. By nickolette from Bulgaria (the ganja cult) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A startup incubator firm based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, has announced help and grants for people who want to pursue renewable energy ideas.

Start-ups brimming with bright ideas are becoming increasingly important in the field of sustainable energy. And Amsterdam’s “global start-up machine” Rockstart has devised a scheme which places selected small companies bursting with killer energy ideas in an 180-day long accelerator program.

“What we do with Rockstart is we try to connect people… connect entrepreneurs to people who can support them,” Rune Theill, co-founder of Rockstart, told CNBC’s Sustainable Energy.

Rockstart’s smart energy program looks to draw on the experience of more than 75 “smart energy mentors, investors and energy partners.” Ten startups are selected, and in exchange for 8 percent equity, each one is offered a cash investment of 20,000 euros ($20,662), as well as an “in-kind” investment into benefits such as office space and hands on support from mentors.

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I suspect Rockstart’s Amsterdam grant programme will have no problem sourcing lots of wild new ideas for making renewable energy viable. Implementing some of those ideas might be a challenge.

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DC Cowboy
August 27, 2016 7:05 am

ROFL, I love the language used in these press releases
“Rockstart has devised a scheme which places selected small companies bursting with killer energy ideas …”
‘killer energy ideas’. It sounds more like they are promoting a rock band than a science based company.
I doubt seriously that a $21K ‘investment’ is going to make any of those ‘killer energy ideas’ viable.

Reply to  DC Cowboy
August 27, 2016 7:10 am

“Rockstart has devised a scheme” …… Gosh. What a novel idea!

Reply to  DC Cowboy
August 27, 2016 7:46 am

$20K for the person with the killer energy idea to ponder their idea for a while at the local pot bar? That’s about all $20K will buy you.

Curious George
Reply to  rbabcock
August 27, 2016 11:40 am

20K euros. Euros may still exist in 2020, but I would not bet a farm – not even a windmill – on it.

NW sage
Reply to  rbabcock
August 27, 2016 4:45 pm

Curious – I’ll up that bid by one solar panel!

August 27, 2016 7:05 am

Just as long as they are using their own money instead of demanding that I either contribute or go to jail for not paying taxes.

August 27, 2016 7:18 am

How about wind turbines?
They’re “Killer”

Reply to  RobRoy
August 27, 2016 10:11 am

Holland is the birthplace of the modern warfare weapon known as “The Windmill”.

Steve Case
August 27, 2016 7:26 am

I got a chuckle out of the accompanying candy store image.

Reply to  Steve Case
August 27, 2016 8:07 am

My idea is psychedelic dude. 🙂

Reply to  SMC
August 27, 2016 10:12 am

The “Dude abides”……:-)

August 27, 2016 7:33 am

Obama 3+Billion Renewable Failure
Out-Of Money Abengoa Felled By Debt and Shady Accounting
Few companies epitomize the failings, follies and foibles of today’s age of hyper-financialized, super-crony capitalism quite like Spain’s teetering green-energy giant Abengoa. The firm came within inches of becoming Spain’s biggest ever bankruptcy last year after embarking on a suicidal multi-year international expansion program fueled by exceedingly generous renewable energy subsidies and massive helpings of bank and corporate debt.
But the subsidies were abruptly taken away when the Spanish government changed. When it had trouble dealing with its debt, the company began hiding it through increasingly complex financial vehicles set up, of course, in the City of London. As Abengoa’s then-CEO Manuel Sánchez Ortega crowed at the time, when things get serious, you need to have your wits about you, and “Abengoa has always been at the leading edge of financialization.”
Last year Abengoa’s off-balance sheet debt load became so unwieldy that it could no longer be hidden. In August the company announced that it would need a new capital expansion, which triggered a massive shareholder exodus and the collapse of its share price. By November things were so bad that even Deloitte, its trusted auditor, refused to sign off on the firm’s accounts, leaving management with little choice but to announce that it was seeking preliminary protection from creditors.
By that time Sánchez Ortega was gone, having taken a new job with the world’s biggest investment fund, BlackRock, which took a massive short position against Abengoa just weeks after his appointment. Blackrock is also now the proud owner of 563,000 shares of Abengoa’s renamed, rebranded U.S subsidiary, Atlantic Yield.
Big Spanish Firm Abengoa Bagged Over $3 Billion of Obama Green Funds; Now Imploding
This blockbuster saga entails the law-breaking Spanish conglomerate that carries direct ties to a slew of powerful U.S. Democrats, which bagged over $3 billion of American taxpayer money, with the vast majority coming from President Obama’s trillion-dollar stimulus package, coupled with high-praises from the president, is now imploding.
The charges
Our reports show that Abengoa is not only occupying our land and taking our money, but they are mistreating our citizens and blatantly breaking our laws. Illegalities that range across numerous federal and state government agencies, which includes the very stimulus law that made the loans available as well as the DOE, the Department of Labor (DOL), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the California Energy Commission (CEC), the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others.
The cash
As a reminder, Abengoa was the second largest recipient of the Energy Department’s stimulus loans (the DOE’s “Junk Bond Portfolio”): over three times the notorious green energy loser, Solyndra. Between July 2010 and September 2011, this foreign-owned entity was awarded three DOE loans worth over $2.9 billion to construct two solar energy complexes in Arizona and California and a biofuel plant in Kansas –– with two of the largest loans yet to be repaid.
According to the March 2012 House Oversight Committee Report (The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Programs), Abengoa received an additional “$818 million in Treasury grant commitments” (free U.S. cash).
While these monies mostly likely came out of the 1603 Grant Program, which was also the brainchild of the Obama White House via the clean-energy sector of stimulus law, it is unclear how much they actually cashed in on. Meanwhile, the Washington Free Beacon documented that Abengoa has “received more than $100 million in federal grants.”

August 27, 2016 7:37 am

Amsterdam is a city where prostitution is legal. Indeed, the last time I was there the working girls were on display in windows of their particular establishments. Perhaps a grant could be awarded for a device to install on these working girls so they could generate power as they engaged in their craft. Hey…its an idea no worse than some i’ve read about.

Reply to  TeeWee
August 27, 2016 7:42 am

They would need to attach the devices to their clients to get any meaningful energy output.

Bryan A
Reply to  SMC
August 27, 2016 6:07 pm

If 5 minutes of effort could produce a megawatt of output you might have something otherwise it would be as intermittent as wind unless you’re talking about CH4 energy

Reply to  TeeWee
August 27, 2016 12:25 pm

Great idea. You should be able to secure taxpayer funding.

August 27, 2016 7:45 am

Or how about small generators attached to the mattress springs? Electricity would be generated every time the springs compressed and relaxed. 🙂

August 27, 2016 7:58 am

This actually follows the lines of a very classic scam. Not saying it actually is, just it follows the format.
They’ve got 75 “mentors”. Read that as people with deep pockets looking for breakthrough technologies to invest in. Only with this system, they don’t have to look very hard, the breakthrough’s come to them. All they have to do is sit back and read one idea after another until they find a gem. Perhaps (probably in this case!) they never find one. But let’s say in this case, they do.
$20K is all they have to pony up, and presto, they get 8% of the next big thing. If it really is the next big thing, that’s dirt cheap. But wait, there’s more. $20K doesn’t cover even a fraction of start up costs. You can’t even get start up paperwork done for that kind of dough for anything major. So the $20K gets burned through, the startup hasn’t got any money or they wouldn’t have signed up for this program in the first place so can’t continue… “mentor” to the rescue.
The “mentor”, deep pockets and all, who now has a trust relationship with the naive start up (which is really just some nerds with an idea) will offer more money for a still larger share, and most likely controlling interest. The nerds, with no money and no business experience, get skinned alive at the negotiating table.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  davidmhoffer
August 27, 2016 9:05 am

It sounds like you’ve been there. Your description of the venture capitol business is dead on. After watching what happened to several local startups and participating in a few myself, it is a rare one when the VC don’t own at least 90-95% of the company by the time is becomes profitable and the founders are lucky if they have made much more than minimum wage for their actual hours invested.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
August 27, 2016 9:53 am

Sounds like “Shark Tank”.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
August 29, 2016 2:57 am

“Great idea! Glad I thought of it.”

Mark from the Midwest
August 27, 2016 8:10 am

What’s wrong with this: Let me count the ways.
1: “Killer energy ideas?” Ideas don’t mean crap, the need is for working solutions
2: 180 days? Working solutions take time.
3: 20K Euros? That would buy office furniture and equipment for 3 people, but not the hardware and test bench setups necessary to tinker with working solutions
4: “Mentors.” That word almost always makes me cringe. If the “mentor” has the knowledge and skills to turn an idea into a working solution then why didn’t they already create the working solution? May I replace the term “mentor” with “cheerleader.”
5: 8 percent equity? No one who is serious about investing in a potential working solution will even glance at something for 8 percent. If I were investing in a startup, (and I’ve self-funded invovlement in 4 of them), I’d want no less than 30% equity, and a major say on a board that could force the issue of cutting losses.
6: It’s a process of connecting people? If you have a good idea and the ability to develop it into a working solution then why do you need to connect with people? Most inventions are the outcome of the hard work of one or few people. Groups seldom do more than have meetings and waste time. You need connections when you start to bring an invention to scale and then to market, not while it’s still an idea, if you need proof of concept then you still need a prototypical working solution, so get to work.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
August 27, 2016 8:36 am

You mean you won’t fund me just because I’m a great guy with a killer idea? I actually have to do work to prove it? Geez, that’s not fair. 🙂

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
August 27, 2016 9:10 am

When you said: “Most inventions are the outcome of the hard work of one or few people. Groups seldom do more than have meetings and waste time” you nailed it. We use to figure that development time was an inverse function of the number of people involved.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
August 27, 2016 10:13 am

+100, nothing more need be said.

Bruce Cobb
August 27, 2016 8:15 am

Kool! I have a killer idea that uses a combination of pixie dust, moonbeams, and rainbows.
Hey, it’s free.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 27, 2016 9:51 am

Won’t work unless you have a unicorn.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  SMC
August 27, 2016 10:32 am

SMC, that’s just silly. Everyone knows unicorns don’t exist.

Reply to  SMC
August 27, 2016 10:37 am

So, that’s why I’ve been having trouble finding one! Figures.

Eugene WR Gallun
August 27, 2016 8:16 am

We generate electricity from sunshine. We generate electricity from wind. What weather elemental is left? Quite obviously — RAIN!
Generating electricity from rain is certainly a KILLER ENERGY IDEA! The concept of rain generated electricity is as far as my thinking has evolved so far — but with a little grant money I am sure I will be able to sit at home and work on it.
And how about lightening strikes??? Couldn’t we capture those and fed them directly into the grid? That’s two killer energy ideas!
And darkness! I have read many occult novels and there is great power in darkness! We could harness that!
Sunshine, wind, rain, lightening strikes, darkness — all these are equally viable!
Eugene WR Gallun

Reply to  Eugene WR Gallun
August 27, 2016 8:41 am

I don’t know about using darkness. I’ve heard the costs can be prohibitive. Not to mention the high risk factor and potentially devastating consequences if you lose control.

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  SMC
August 27, 2016 9:19 am

SMC — You are funnier than me — Eugene WR Gallun

Reply to  SMC
August 27, 2016 9:45 am

It’s only because I’ve managed to get some sleep while vacationing in an exotic location this weekend. Besides, I thought your Killer Energy Ideas were great, I just have some reservations about Darkness.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  SMC
August 27, 2016 11:32 am

SMC August 27, 2016 at 9:45 am
Oh come on SMC it’s not like you really need or use that your “Soul” thingy. You can easily part with it. I mean just look at how many climate scientists have hocked theirs with no qualms or ill effects.
michael ;-D

Reply to  SMC
August 27, 2016 12:16 pm

The selling of the Soul is not an issue I’m concerned about. It’s finding properly trained and qualified practitioners of the Art that makes me leery. I mean, just imagine what could happen if the witch/wizard in charge made an error in drawing the protective circles, or failed to collect enough blood from the ritual sacrifice, or the assistants mispronounced key elements of the incantation. It can take ages to find, train and equip an Emergency Response Hero and Plucky Crew of Adventurers to mitigate and clean up the mess created. 😛

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  SMC
August 27, 2016 1:38 pm

SMC August 27, 2016 at 12:16 pm
protective circles… Circles! Ans here I thought for all these years it was pentagons and candles,, or was that that pentagrams… Okay that explains Naomi…

Tom Johnson
Reply to  SMC
August 27, 2016 4:47 pm

You don’t use “darkness”, silly. You use the “dark energy” that CREATES the darkness.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Eugene WR Gallun
August 27, 2016 9:23 am

I saw lightning being fed into the power grid one time. I was driving down a back country road in eastern Colorado when lightning hit the power line running parallel to the road. The transformer lit up then a ball of lightning traveled down the line to the next transformer which lit up, then ball traveled further down the line to the next transformer, etc. I saw it take out at least four transformers before is disappeared down the road and I doubt the farm houses got much use from it as it passed. Maybe if we added an extra large capacitor…. oops, I forgot, caps don’t work with AC. Maybe we could figure a way around that problem for $20k. ?

Reply to  Joe Crawford
August 27, 2016 9:40 am

What do you mean caps don’t work with AC. Capacitors work great in filter circuits for AC. 🙂

Reply to  Eugene WR Gallun
August 27, 2016 10:02 am

Rain has been done, Eugene.
It is called Hydro Electricity.
Worth givibg the others a go, though. You would harness lots of dark ideas from any political/governmental organisation.

Reply to  Oldseadog
August 27, 2016 10:18 am

Hydro is so passé. Time for a paradigm shift. How about large tubes with evenly spaced water wheels that stretch up to near typical cloud heights. The rain could then be collected directly from the source. As it falls through the tubes it could spin the water wheels, which would turn small generators. If you put air vents in the tubes, you could effectively turn the water wheels in to wind turbines for those days when their is no rain…double bonus!

Reply to  Oldseadog
August 27, 2016 10:24 am

Darkness for political/government organizations is too mundane and doesn’t have sufficient energy density. If you really want to power the world with Darkness, you have to get occult. I’m sure it could be done but I have some serious reservations.

Reply to  Oldseadog
August 27, 2016 2:47 pm

SMC August 27, 2016 at 10:24 am
Didn’t your POTUS just give you all a huge reservation?
And you have others?

Reply to  Eugene WR Gallun
August 27, 2016 10:18 am

Lightening strikes? Sounds like an anti-gravity device. 😉
Perhaps we’d do better with directing lightning strikes in to the high voltage DC grid.

Reply to  Ric Werme
August 27, 2016 10:28 am

Sounds great. Then you could use capacitors to filter out any pesky AC and provide energy storage for those times when the thunderstorms are someplace else. I wonder how many Farads you would need.

Reply to  Eugene WR Gallun
August 27, 2016 4:03 pm

I had a meeting with the deputy general manager of my local council a couple of years ago, and he was talking about their new industrial park. Their grand plan was to “generate electricity through rainwater harvesting”. I kid you not. They also plan for all new roads through the area to have bike paths and be designed for b-triple road trains. Great combo.

Stephen Heins
August 27, 2016 8:40 am

“Often creativity is ruined by throwing more and more money at premature ideas.”

August 27, 2016 9:01 am

We have the same thing at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois –
The winning applicant receives a $100,000/year salary with benefits, $300,000 grant to help develop the concept, and all sorts of business support.

August 27, 2016 9:04 am

As usual, “renewable” is a meaningless term, signifying nothing. No power generating mechanism “renews” itself (they have a finite lifespan) and whether a fuel used has an infinte supply line is also meaningless – it
only must have a suply that outlasts the plants that use the fuel before this become any consideration, even if significant costs are involved.
A bunch of morons looking to make reliable that which is inherently unreliable, leading to “solutions” (like batteries), which are not solutions at all (except to the narrow-minded folks like Elon Musk, although he
has an ulterior motive for his beliefs – make more billions by selling them his home battery packs). I’m quite certain that any unbiased cost analysis would find that it would be far, far more cost effective to build molten salt nuclear reactors than to have consumers spend all that money for home battery packs , mostly to relieve their ignorant guilt feelings about their “carbon footprint.”
The greenies are our generation’s superstitious village idiots.

Reply to  arthur4563
August 27, 2016 9:57 am

Are you saying there are no perpetual motion machines??? NO!!!!!!

Reply to  arthur4563
August 28, 2016 7:44 am

Despite your obvious bias, the US has already installed or is installing 466 battery systems for electricity storage/retrieval. Most of those are lithium-ion technology, with the largest at 100 MW. Total installed capacity is 1,248 MW as of this date.
Apparently all those entities did not get your memo that they should stop wasting their money on “home battery packs” and instead build “cost effective…molten salt reactors.”

August 27, 2016 9:10 am

Somewhere a young, arrogant, hungry, impatient, ruthless non-joiner dropout is shaping our future in ways no committee can imagine. He’s not looking for a club to pool or share ideas. He wants the world, and he’s probably not nice. (Okay, so Westinghouse, Honda and a few others might have been nice guys…but don’t go looking for nice when you want real change.)
One day our guy will be a boring philanthropist processing money through a foundation. But right now he is on fire. We don’t know who he is or what he is going to do. If we did know, there’d be no point. Just keep out of his way.

August 27, 2016 9:10 am

Maybe they can use all that weed in a psychedelic painted wood fired truck.

Reply to  john
August 27, 2016 9:13 am

Dear Amsterdam, I know i have already won first place so if you would please send the money to WUWT tip jar, I would appreciate it.

Reply to  john
August 27, 2016 10:04 am

I don’t know john, there have been some pretty good ideas thrown around on this thread. I think you have some competition. Personally, I favor my own Mattress Spring Generator idea. 🙂

August 27, 2016 9:55 am
Reply to  john
August 27, 2016 10:34 am

Actually knowing King, he transferred money out of his Bermuda account (where he was on the board of directors) and is investing it in greenland mining and wind. His family trust is akin to what Hillary is doing.

Ed Zuiderwijk
August 27, 2016 10:26 am

In the meantime, at the central station, the Hogwarts express waits on platform 13 1/2 for the lucky ten to be whisked away to cloud cuckoo land.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 27, 2016 10:42 am

I thought it was platform 9 3/4.

Bohdan Burban
Reply to  SMC
August 28, 2016 9:30 am

Darn! Missed the train again!

August 27, 2016 10:46 am

It occurred to while shaving this morning that if there were a simple way of turning water and CO2 into gasoline, our problems would be solved……

Reply to  RCS
August 27, 2016 10:50 am

I understand it can be done. I’ve read a little about this radical new process call photosynthesis. You might want to check it out. It apparently has a lot of potential uses. 🙂

Bill Powers
August 27, 2016 10:49 am

Hey there Rockstart I have a great idea for a perpetual motion machine, yeah that’s the ticket, perpetual motion. Send am a check for $20K and I will set myself in perpetual motion putting and keeping as much distance as I can between you and a payback.

August 27, 2016 10:51 am

Actually a different question – sorry about last comment.
If you took a tube, say 1 metre in diameter and laid it up a mountain. You pump warm air from the bottom so that it warmer than ambient when it reaches the top. You stop the pump. Would the flow of air be self sustaining?

Mike the Morlock
August 27, 2016 11:20 am
The above is a quick (quack?)”check” via the web on patent filing costs and needs requirements (USA).
So much for 20,000 euros.

August 27, 2016 11:28 am

“Rockstart” is a curious name for a program looking to find a replacement for those evil rocks called coal.

August 27, 2016 12:23 pm

I was involved with a start up generator in Nashville. It was okay and I met some very interesting people. Despite best efforts the scene was formulaic and a bit forced. Silicon Valley is mostly a one off. All others especially those sponsored by governments are contests in pissing away money.
BTW…. I hope Jagadish Shukla has his passport in order.

August 27, 2016 2:37 pm
Alan Robertson
Reply to  catweazle666
August 27, 2016 3:24 pm

I know someone who actually thought that car was great and the farmer a genius. Attempts to point out the folly were met with considerable resistance.

August 27, 2016 10:22 pm

I swear this is true. Less than a week ago in the largest newspaper in The Netherlands (paper edition, not online) a letter was published, which proposed the following as a solution for reducing fuel usage: to equip every car with TWO batteries. You’d start out with one full and one empty. While driving (and emptying one) a dynamo would charge the other battery. Once full the other battery would provide the energy and the first one would be charged, so one could drive forever without refill.
Now I read that letter a couple of times and there was no sign of any sarcasm or joking in it. The writer was serious. And the newspaper editor published it without placing any comments.

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  Remmit
August 28, 2016 12:24 am

Remmit — it is New Age science. — Eugene WR Gallun

August 28, 2016 5:48 am

None of this stuff survives the first level of viability unless they can get a taproot into a governments treasury, and ultimately the taxpayers pocket. Where they can bleed the consumer for billions while producing little to nothing. The damage it does to economies, jobs and the creation of original wealth is already being felt around the world.
Ross McKitrick: Wind Power Subsidies Triple Power Prices in Ontario

Jim Yushchyshyn
August 28, 2016 2:28 pm

Some people say that we should wait for costs to come down before we start using renewable energy? But how exactly do they think that costs will come down? Pixies?
Costs come down with R & D and economies of scale. Which won’t happen if we just wait for them to happen.

August 29, 2016 4:32 am

Most of these “incubators” are the collective innovative equivalent of an Energy Dollar Store that develops and sells shoddy little crap ideas. The idea-people who shop in these stores have other objectives than actually solving energy problems. Chief among them being a line of bubble-wrapped eco-ideas that can be acquired cheaply by corporate acquisition to help pad your prospectus and press releases with eco-lingo garbage to impress your gullible investors and stockholders.
Nuclear energy research is capital intensive in part because nuclear is real base load energy, not a crap solution. If the top three of the world’s “incubators” would flush all the crap ideas out of their systems and concentrate on nuclear, a sustainable future at the present level of technology and convenience would be assured.

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