Editor’s note: Susan Sanford is Executive Director of the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Nominees for the Second Annual Cleantech Innovation Awards have been announced by the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster (RTCC), an initiative of business, government, academic and nonprofit leaders focused on accelerating the growth of the statewide and regional cleantech economy. The winners in each category will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony to be held on December 9th in conjunction with and RTCC’s annual meeting.

The nominees for each category are listed below:
Diversity in Cleantech Award – Recognizes an organization or initiative for significant contributions to ensuring the cleantech workforce reflects all the people it serves, including efforts to expose underrepresented groups to cleantech career opportunities, and corporate efforts to hire and support underrepresented employees through mentoring and networking initiatives.
2020 Nominees:
• Women in Clean Energy (WICE)
• Cree Diversity Efforts
• The Climate Service
• Charlotte – Renewable Energy & Efficiency Workforce (RENEW) Training Program
• Xylem Employee Network Groups
Water Innovation Award – Recognizes a water or wastewater project that uses innovative cleantech solutions to create a positive impact for the environment, economy, and residents of NC.
2020 Nominees:
• Town of Cary’s Floodwater Prediction & Monitoring System
• Wave-Actuated, Tethered Emergency Response Buoyant Reverse Osmosis System Desalinization
• Utility Metering Solutions – netAMP Metering-as-a-Service
• City of Gastonia/Two Rivers Utilities – Water Treatment Plant Upgrade Phase 1
• Charlotte – Sugar Creek WWTP Phase 2 Upgrades: Piloting, Funding, & Optimizing the Path to Green
• Orange Water & Sewer Authority (OWASA) – OWASA Solar Lease Project
• Green Stream Regional Flood Sensor Deployment
Cleantech Community Award – Recognizes a local government or community which has completed an innovative project incorporating clean technology to create a positive impact for the environment, economy, and its residents.
2020 Nominees:
• City of Durham Building Analytics
• Town of Atlantic Beach Community Park Smart Lighting
• Wake Electric Eagle Chase Microgrid
• Durham County Library
• Carteret Craven Electric Cooperative Customer-Owned Generation
• AUVSI North Carolina Donate a Drone Program
• Town of Apex Peak of Good Solar
Grid Innovation Award – Recognizes an electric utility or grid project that uses innovative cleantech solutions to create a positive impact for the environment, economy, and residents of NC.
2020 Nominees:
• Roanoke Electric Cooperative Upgrade to $ave/Community Solar Program
• Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation/Heron’s Nest Environmental Village
• City of Charlotte Green Source Advantage Program
• Power Resource Group Carolina Poultry Power – Farmville
• Microgrid Labs
Cleantech Impact Award – Recognizes a cleantech organization that has accelerated economic growth in the region or state, including a cleantech business relocating to NC, an existing cleantech business expanding, or an organization that has enabled economic growth.
2020 Nominees:
• Duke Energy Neighborhood Energy Saver Program
• Honeywell Global Headquarters – Charlotte, NC
• Project Axis ¬– Amazon RDU1
Cleantech Talent Initiative – Recognizes a program or initiative that supports or provides career development for people entering the cleantech industry, including corporate apprenticeship programs, community college cleantech certification programs, or K–12 cleantech curriculum.
2020 Nominees:
• Energy Literacy, Engagement, & Action Program
• Cree Talent
• Community Engagement & STEM Education Program (CE-STEM)
• IE Cleantech Corner Initiative
Transportation Innovation Award – Recognizes a transportation or mobility project that uses innovative cleantech solutions to create a positive impact for the environment, economy, and residents of NC.
2020 Nominees:
• GoRaleigh Compressed Natural Gas Fleet & Fueling Station
• City of Charlotte Fleet Policies
• MGL Fleet Electrification Planning
• City of Raleigh EVSE Sustainability Analysis Mapping Tool
Two additional awards will be presented at the virtual awards ceremony, with the winners announced at that time:
  • Cleantech Champion of the Year – Recognizes an individual who exemplifies commitment to supporting the cleantech industry, including an outstanding commitment to sustainability, business expansion or relocation, development of high-impact technology, or spearheading regional/cross-sector collaboration to drive innovation.
  • Cleantech Entrepreneur Award – Recognizes an individual who has created innovation with the potential to disrupt traditional industries, create a cleaner planet, and improve the quality of life for people around the world.
The awards are judged by executives from the cleantech industry and public sectors. All award finalists will participate in an invitation-only virtual reception to network with industry peers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred cleantech innovation in many ways, for example, in looking at air quality to determine where to place electric-vehicle chargers.
We are excited and encouraged by the people, companies, and cleantech initiatives taking place in the state and the region. Collectively, these people and organizations reinforce North Carolina’s leadership in energy efficiency, transportation, water, and smart grid technologies.”
Registration is open for the 2020 Cleantech Innovation Awards ceremony and RTCC Annual Meeting which will take place virtually on Wednesday, December 9th from noon to 1:30pm to recognize and honor the individuals and organizations driving cleantech innovation and deployment in North Carolina, celebrate success stories, and take advantage of networking with 200+ innovators from the Triangle and beyond. There are additional opportunities for companies to partner with RTCC as a sponsor for the awards event.