Amazon Web Services debuts 5-week accelerator for clean energy startups

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Amazon Spheres
The view of Amazon’s Spheres from the street at least offers a look at the plants inside. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Amazon Web Services is announcing the creation of a 5-week accelerator to support clean technology startups. Applications to the AWS Clean Energy Accelerator are being accepted starting today until June 4. The company will select 10 participants.

The Seattle-based cloud and online retail giant is partnering with Freshwater Advisors for the initiative. Freshwater is a venture capital and consultancy in Chicago founded in 2013 that has worked with more than two-dozen corporations to help them find and partner with tech startups.

Amazon has a variety of accelerator programs, such as Alexa Next Stage (which was previously called Alexa Accelerator); the recently launched AWS Space Accelerator; and the Amazon IP Accelerator, which helps sellers on its platform address intellectual property fraud.

The exact value of the Clean Energy Accelerator’s perks are a little fuzzy. The announcement says that startups “may receive” AWS Activate Promotional Credit, and emphasizes the mentorship and networking opportunities. That includes “technical, business and go-to-market mentorship from AWS clean energy experts” as well as connections to AWS energy customers and businesses in the Amazon Partner Network who are interested in clean energy solutions. 

Amazon has been making notable strides as a leader in the climate space in the last couple of years. It helped create the Climate Pledge, a corporate promise to cut and offset its planet-warming emissions to zero by 2040 — a deadline that’s 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. Some 53 companies have signed on.

Amazon has also created a $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund, which will pay for investments in companies and technologies that will help it and others reach climate and sustainability goals.

Last month it announced nine new wind and solar energy projects, bringing its total number of renewable projects to 206.

The Pacific Northwest is home to other clean technology accelerators. The Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator is a 15-week program organized by Seattle’s CleanTech Alliance and Portland-based VertueLab. Fledge accelerators accept companies with environmental and social missions, including non-tech focused enterprises.