SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Northern California is leveraging its strengths to drive clean tech innovation and build the state's clean economy.
"Northern California's forward-looking policies and innovative clean tech entrepreneurs are driving the clean tech sector, cementing our state's leadership in the clean economy," said businessman F. Noel Perry, founder of the nonpartisan nonprofit group Next 10 (www.Next10.org). "California's various regions are carving out specialized niches in the global clean tech sector."
Details are spelled out in two new reports, the first two of five regional analyses to be released by Next 10.
Bay to Market: Bay Area Innovations Leading Clean Technology Development details how the San Francisco Bay region's culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is sparking a revolution in clean transportation and energy storage, with the area leading the nation in electric vehicles and cutting-edge energy storage technologies.
Power Town: California's Capital Region Mobilizing to Meet Growing Demand for Clean Technologies highlights how the Sacramento region is embracing clean power, with new data showing that residential solar grew six-fold between 2007 and 2013, while incubating a vibrant group of clean tech companies, including a waste-to-energy company that developed the nation's first commercial-scale closed loop anaerobic digester project. The findings also indicate per capita non-residential buildings in the region are not only more energy efficient when compared to the state overall, they're also becoming ever more efficient at a faster rate.
An early snapshot of "core" clean economy jobs finds 60,000 such jobs in the Bay Area as of January 2014 and 14,000 in the Sacramento area.
"The Bay Area has an established culture of innovation, along with businesses, investors and a work force that understand the opportunity clean tech presents. This helps drive the region's clean economy," said Doug Henton, chairman and CEO of Collaborative Economics, which compiled the reports for Next 10.
Bay Area companies attracted more than half of the state's clean technology venture capital in recent years. The region is also home to leading universities and national labs that help clean technology companies access the research and development infrastructure needed to commercialize innovation. This has led to a clustering effect in clean technology.
"The Bay Area has one of the largest concentrations of energy storage companies in the world," said Jeff Anderson of CalCharge, a public-private partnership working to accelerate the development, commercialization, and adoption of new energy storage technologies. "It's the connections among these companies and with the region's research universities, national labs, and clean technology community, that drive innovation and make the Bay Area different."
Progressive local policies as well as public-private partnerships are also drivers of the clean tech sector. For example, Bay Area municipal governments launched Bay Area Charge Ahead, a public-private project aimed at deploying 152 charge ports for electric vehicles to the region. Partnerships like this one, as well as other factors are contributors to why the Bay Area was home to 11 percent of all the plug-in electric vehicles in the United States by the end of 2013. The region also enjoys the highest per capita adoption rate of EVs nationally.
In the Sacramento area, the publicly owned utility—Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD)—is identified as a catalyst for growing the clean energy economy. Among SMUD's initiatives: a 20 percent renewable portfolio standard, a special rate program for electric vehicle drivers, and a $300 million smart grid project.
The steady and impressive six-fold climb in residential solar adoption in Sacramento that occurred during the economic downturn can be traced to a number of factors including local policies, consumer demand and the shifting housing market.
"Many builders are working to reinvent themselves coming out of the recession," said Todd Lindstrom, co-founder and principal of solar startup Enable Energy. "Since the solar industry just kept growing through the downturn, there are huge opportunities for solar installation to become integrated into the mainstream building and construction industry."
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SOURCE Next 10