When it comes to innovation, there is a lot of talent in the energy industry.

While industry-changing strides have been made in certain sectors of the energy industry—namely oil and gas where technological advancements coupled with better techniques have boosted production in shale plays—more work is needed in other parts of the energy business. This includes clean-energy technologies, which the International Energy Agency (IEA) said is “falling well short of targets.”

In an effort to find clean-energy technologies, the IEA is offering an award— called the Start Up Energy Transition Award—that aims to “link startups, nonprofits, corporations, investors and the public sector to showcase innovations across a variety of categories: urban energy transition; clean-tech against climate change; future production and manufacturing; mobility means energy transition; and platforms and communities.”

“Energy technology innovation represents a crucial element of the global transition to secure, sustainable, affordable energy systems,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said in a statement about the award.

New technology, if effective, can help countries meet emissions goals set under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The 2015 Paris Agreement attempts to combat climate change by keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius (C) and limiting temperature increases to 1.5 C. With climate change at or near the top of agendas for many countries, focus is increasingly turning to clean energy.

As detailed on the award’s website:

  • Urban Energy Transition addresses business models to help make the urban energy transition a reality;
  • Cleantech Against Climate Change involves services and technologies that lower waste pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions;
  • Future Production and Manufacturing puts the Internet of Things in the spotlight. Focus here is on ways to save energy with “smart technical infrastructure;”
  • Mobility Meets Energy Transition centers on ways to reduce CO2 emissions produced from traffic or transport in both urban and rural settings; and
  • Platforms and Communities address ways to make future energy systems more efficient and more cost-effective than today as well as tailoring contracts.

A special prize will be awarded in the area of energy shortage, specifically ways to enable energy to be sustainably produced in areas where energy shortages exist.

The three most promising startups in each category will receive a trip to Start Up Energy Transition Tech Festival in Berlin. In addition, a five-digit monetary prize will be given in each of the five categories. Plus, participants will have access to potential investors, industry partners and international venture capitalists along with additional networking opportunities.

To participate, the startup or project must be centered on energy transition and not founded more than five years ago (10 years for the Cleantech category). Participants must also be able to present a product or prototype.

Birol will serve as an ambassador for the award. Other energy and climate experts involved include Adnan Amin, director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, and Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, according to the IEA.

The application deadline is Jan. 31. Winners will receive awards during the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue in March. For more information, visit the Start Up Energy Transition Award website.

Velda Addison can be reached at vaddison@hartenergy.com.