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Energy companies bolstered by state funds, private efforts  

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has been busy this fall, approving $2.7 million to spur Bay State alternative energy development.

The quasi-state agency approved $575,000 million in loans and set aside $2.1 million to build a 500-kilowatt to 750-kilowatt wind turbine at Cape Cod Community College, officials said.

New England investment executives characterize the public funding as good news, but also say that cultivating an alternative energy cluster in the region will require a similar commitment from private investors due to the industry’s capital-heavy investment needs.

“They are capital-intensive once they get off the ground, and if we want to keep them in New England we need to create the right kind of incentives,” said Jeff Andrews, a partner at Waltham-based Atlas Venture Inc.

Andrews, who specializes in alternative energy investments and sits on the board of battery technology developer Lilliputian Systems Inc., said state governments can play a significant role in encouraging, or stifling, innovation.

A new industry group, known as the New England Energy Innovation Collaborative, sprouted this fall with the goal of growing the budding alternative energy cluster in the region. The Cambridge-based organization includes investment firms such as Atlas Venture, law firms including Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP and Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC, and MIT. It plans to host a $150,000 business plan competition in January 2007.

In November, another group, the Massachusetts Fuel Cell Partnership, put out the call for millions of dollars in state support for a hydrogen and fuel cell cluster in the state.

In October, the Renewable Energy Trust, a 15-member MTC committee, approved a $500,000 loan to CellTech Power LLC. The Westborough company specializes in fuel cell technology. Its loan is funded through the Sustainable Energy Economic Development (SEED) program. In addition, the trust approved a $75,000 grant for MIT’s Ignite Clean Energy Business Plan Competition.


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