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Energy entrepreneurs are developing new technologies for generating, storing, and conserving power. Cleantech investing is beginning to recover from the hit it took last year. But changing the underlying energy infrastructure from a one-way power grid to a smart two-way grid could open the gates for more energy entrepreneurs, at different scales.

If the grid is something more like an open network, small producers can sell energy back to utilities. So maybe local farmers have an incentive to generate their own power with solar panels or wind turbines. As King notes, smart meters create opportunities for new technology as well: Software that helps households and businesses reduce their usage at peak times, for example.

BW: How a Smart Grid Will Spur Energy Entrepreneurship