Boulder is known as a progressive town, partly due to its liberal university population and partly because the people who live there tend to be passionate about preserving the beautiful environment around the city that makes it such a great place to live.
There are many “green” businesses in the area, and just about every business makes some effort to incorporate sustainable practices and products. One of the areas in which Boulder really is at the leading edge is renewable and sustainable energy research, thanks to collaborative efforts between the university and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) was launched in 2009 after years of research and collaboration. The goal of forming the institute was to become an international force in solving the energy challenge through research, education and technology commercialization. With the expert input provided by CU faculty, it was determined that in order to be successful, the institute must be highly interdisciplinary. Integration of the university's extensive research in renewable and sustainable energy with its strengths in climate and environmental science, behavioral studies, policy analysis, and entrepreneurship is key. RASEI uses a three-pronged approach emphasizing discovery, transformation, and entrepreneurship.
The individuals who make up RASEI believe that a critical aspect of the institute is commercialization. RASEI strives to move new technologies into clean and renewable energy markets as quickly as possible. Increasing commercialization through start-up incubation, collaborations on research and deployment, early engagement of students, strategic giving opportunities, and increased networking between CU community and the business community are all facilitated by the Energy Institute’s business program.
RASEI has also aimed to create a local hub for clean technology commercialization and start-up companies by partnering with the Deming Center, Tech Transfer Office and other institutions on and off campus.
RASEI retains a leadership council that serves as advisers. The council corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, policy makers and academics. The goal of the council is to merge the research capabilities of scientists and faculty with local leaders’ market-based experience and perspective.
Institutes like RASEI and innovative entrepreneurs are what keep the city of Boulder at the leading edge of technology and renewable energy research.