ISELIN, N.J., Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The theme of how to sustain sustainability dominated the discussion at the inaugural "CLEANTECH NJ 2011: The Business of Clean Technology," New Jersey's first business- and investor-focused clean tech conference held on Oct. 25 in Iselin, N.J.
The conference, which drew more than 200 senior executives of clean technology, energy and professional services companies, government policymakers and regulators, institutional and "angel" investors, thought leaders and environmental activists, was sponsored by Antenna Group Inc., a subsidiary of Hackensack, N.J.-based Beckerman. Antenna is a nationally recognized strategic communications firm focused solely on clean and renewable energy technologies.
"This is 'the' sector to be playing in right now, and the one that I believe is inextricably bound up with the future prosperity and security of our nation," said Antenna Group CEO Keith Zakheim in his opening remarks. "While there is much to be excited about, the clean tech sector must confront the 'vexing challenges' that lie ahead, chief among them that of 'sustaining sustainability.'"
Zakheim's remarks were echoed by the conference's opening keynote speaker, Caren S. Franzini, CEO of the N.J. Economic Development Authority, and by many of the industry experts on the conference's two panels, "New Jersey's Dynamic Renewable Energy Future" and "The National Renewable Energy Roadmap: Planning, Funding and Developing Technologies."
While New Jersey has made enormous strides in renewable energy, ranking second only to California in solar capacity, conference participants expressed concern about the ability to maintain that momentum, warning that the state's progress could come to a halt without the implementation of policy initiatives that bring long-term stability to the renewable energy markets.
"Regulations are implemented and then retracted, tax credits are here today and gone tomorrow and a commitment to research and development gets occasional lip service but rarely any financial support," said Zakheim, presaging sentiments later expressed by many of the participants. "In this type of regulatory and policy environment, investors and entrepreneurs have no choice but to proceed cautiously."
Franzini highlighted efforts to improve the state's tax and regulatory environments, as well as to institute financial incentives and conduct proactive outreach to attract and retain businesses in the clean tech sector.
"When people think of New Jersey, they think of pharmaceuticals, life sciences, logistics and financial services," Franzini said. "We want people to include clean tech on that list."
Closing keynote speaker Mary Beth Brenner, assistant director of the Division of Economic Development and Energy Policy for the Board of Public Utilities, discussed the 2011 Energy Master Plan; and Michele Siekerka, assistant commissioner of economic growth and green energy at the Department of Environmental Protection, spoke about developing a wind industry.
Concerns about sustaining sustainability were also expressed on the investment side. Panelist Daniel A. Gross, a partner at Hudson Clean Energy, predicted that future advances won't come as the result of a new "widget," but rather through incremental, money-saving improvements in existing technologies and by developing innovative financing solutions and new marketing and distribution strategies.
About Antenna Group
Antenna Group is the nation's largest clean technology public relations firm and its parent company, Beckerman, ranks among the top 10 fastest-growing public relations agencies according to O'Dwyer's (http://www.odwyerpr.com/pr_firm_rankings/leading_gainers.html). Antenna Group is a dedicated advocate for innovative technology businesses whose products or services contribute to a cleaner, more energy-efficient world. Antenna's clean tech client-partners are multinational companies for which Antenna serves as the agency of record, leading strategy and managing outreach via partners worldwide. Antenna's experience includes renewable energy of all kinds; energy efficiency; energy storage; finance, from utility-scale to residential; waste management; water; and food purification. Clean tech as a category embraces modern energy, green tech and technologies for sustainable living. To learn more, please visit: http://www.antennagroup.com.
Beckerman ranks among the top 10 fastest-growing and top 50 largest independent public relations firms in the industry. Along with Antenna Group Inc., the nation's largest clean technology public relations practice and a Beckerman subsidiary, the firm represents a distinguished roster of more than 100 clients from diverse industry sectors with clean technology, real estate, professional services, public affairs and consumer products comprising its primary practice areas. Beckerman has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Hackensack, N.J.; and San Francisco, Calif. To learn more, please call 201-465-8000 or visit www.beckermanpr.com or http://facebook.com/Beckermanpr.
SOURCE Antenna Group