Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Next X Prize: A $10 Billion Renewable Energy 401(k) Challenge?

Next X Prize: A $10 Billion Renewable Energy 401(k) Challenge?

First Company or Corporate team to Generate $10 billion in Renewable Energy Investment via Retirement Plans Could be the Winner of a Proposed New X Prize. Adding a renewable energy sector fund to 401(k) retirement plans will: 1)generate a significant number of new jobs 2)create a healthy economy, 3)increase clean energy production, 4)lower energy costs and combat climate change

Boulder, CO November 11, 2008 -- The X Prize Foundation, creator of the Ansari X Prize for suborbital spaceflight, has launched a contest to design a new X Prize that will boost renewable energy production. A unique entry format requires contestants to pitch their X Prize contest idea via a two minute video (http://www.TheRenewableEnergyInitiative.org) posted to YouTube.

Ken Beitel, a computer systems analyst and documentary film producer ("Grizzlies of the Canadian Rockies" Discovery Channel), has entered the contest and is proposing that the next X Prize be a $10 billion corporate challenge focusing on renewable energy investment. The first round of judging for the contest to design the next X Prize closes Friday (November 14, 2008).

"It will be outstanding for employees to have the opportunity to invest in renewable energy," explains contest entrant Ken Beitel, "Renewable energy is clean, cost effective, fast to build, and is ready to create a significant number of new jobs."

Set against the spectacular backdrop of Colorado National Monument during a desert sunset, the video includes majestic shots of wind turbines and a huge solar power plant. During the video, Beitel explains how retirement plan investment could play a major role in increasing renewable energy production.

The renewable energy sector is also expected to experience rapid expansion under President Elect Barack Obama who backs federal investment in renewable energy, along with regulatory and tax support for clean electricity and alternative fuels. The Obama administration plans to invest $15 billion annually in renewable energy, and sees the industry as a key source of new American jobs. This year in Colorado, Vestas, one of the world's largest wind turbine manufactures, has opened 2 new manufacturing plants that will employ more than 1,300 people.

Beitel acknowledges the tough economic times: "While $10 billion dollars sounds like a lot of retirement dollars to invest in renewable energy, in reality it is only about 1/3 of 1% of the roughly $2.7 trillion dollars in US 401(k) plans."

The proposed "Invest Renewable" X Prize will encourage Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the US and Canada to add a renewable energy sector investment option, such as the Calvert, Guinness Atkinson or Firsthand alternative energy fund to retirement plans. The first company or team of companies to generate $10 billion in renewable energy investment through their corporate retirement plans will split the $10 million X Prize amongst employees who have chosen to invest in renewables.

Ken Beitel is optimistic about his contest entry designing the next X Prize, "The 'Invest Renewable' X Prize will make it possible for employees to invest in the renewable energy sector which will help create a healthy economy and lower energy costs."

The "Invest Renewable" X Prize contest entry can be viewed at http://www.TheRenewableEnergyInitiative.org or http://www.youtube.com/xprize

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Ken Beitel at 720 436-2465.

Contest video can be used for B-Roll. Stills and video can be downloaded at http://www.TheRenewableEnergyInitiative.org

Courtesy credit GE for use of wind turbine or solar production plant video/stills

Background Information:

About Ken Beitel:
Originally from Calgary, Canada, Ken Beitel currently lives in Boulder, Colorado where he works as Computer Systems Analyst. A passionate environmental communicator, in 1997, Ken was awarded an International Digital Media Award for producing the "Windows On Wildlife" interactive kiosk for Parks Canada and the Calgary Zoo. The multimedia display features the hit game "Eat Like A Grizzly!"

Mr. Beitel used publicity from the 1999 national broadcast of "Grizzlies of the Canadian Rockies" documentary to lead the successful call for the creation of a new protected wilderness area in the mountains adjacent to Banff National Park in Canada. The rugged and spectacular Spray Valley Provincial Park area is featured in the Hollywood "X-Men" feature film series. Ken's hobby is to use his environmental communication talents to promote a rapid societal transition to renewable energy as an effective method of building a healthy economy, securing energy independence and combating climate change.

About the X PRIZE Foundation:
The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured the world's attention when the Burt Rutan-led team, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world's first private spaceship to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for suborbital spaceflight. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation and its partner BT Global Services are creating prizes in Exploration (Space and Oceans), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Education and Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leading model for fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit http://www.xprize.org.

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