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Top Five US Cities for Cleantech
Sarah Rich, 20 Feb 07
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Since their launch in fall 2006, SustainLane.us has been growing in spades, building out an extensive resource base for government agencies and employees to share best practices in an open-source network. They now have thirteen categories, from climate change policy to food and ag to waste management.

On Friday they released their newest piece of research: a rating and review of the nation's top five cities for cleantech development. According to SustainLane, the project:

analyzed US cities to see which led in combining Cleantech investments, infrastructure and supportive policies into a physical “cluster.� The ideal existing model for a Cleantech incubation cluster combines:
  • Start-up or advanced stage venture capital (VC) and investor network access, including mentoring.
  • Academic or federal research lab collaboration.
  • Active state or local government participation (field testing, prototyping, and pilot programs) and incentives.

And the winners are...

1. Austin, TX: The Cluster Maven Austin's Clean Energy Incubator has "seven companies involved in incubating everything from internet-controlled irrigation to wind and geothermal energy technologies," with support from the University of Texas at Austin and The National Renewable Energy Laboratories, and involvement with the Austin public utility.

2. San Jose, CA: Cleantech 1.0 The beating heart of technological acceleration, San Jose's "long-time leadership in engineering know-how, combined with semi-conductor, nanotechnology and optics R&D gives it a leg up in renewable energy development, particularly in solar energy applications." Even after the bust, Silicon Valley's proving it's still got plenty of chops.

3. Berkeley, CA: Biofuels and Beyond Ever the progressive region and one of the elders of the biofuel movement, Berkeley recently announced plans to open the $500-million BP Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), which in partnership with the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will turn Berkeley into not only an elder in biofuel development, but a robust trailblazer, as well.

4. Pasadena, CA: Coming up Roses Down south in Southern California, start-ups emerging from Caltech are bringing "venture capital that the city of Pasadena hopes to leverage to create a significant Cleantech incubation cluster. For Cleantech start-ups out of Caltech, non-profit Entretec, located right on the Caltech campus, maintains day-to-day office resources for start ups as while arranging for pitches with a deep network of angel investors." They also mention the Pasadena based Energy Innovations Solutions, who we covered in our interview recently with Idealab.

5. Greater Boston: State of Incubation And lastly to the east side, where Boston's cleantech growth has strong government support.

Massachusetts, like New York and California, has some of the most supportive state policies in the nation for renewable energy and energy efficiency. It also leads in Cleantech VC investments after California. With this fertile investment environment, Boston is competing for start-ups and second-stage companies that are beginning to flock to the towns along State Route 95 in central Massachusetts. Boston also draws on nearby Cambridge, home of biomass start-up Agrivida and MIT’s Ignite Clean Energy Competition.

In order to avoid any sore losers who'd aspired to be on the list, SustainLane also listed their runners-up: San Francisco, New York, Seattle, San Diego and Houston.

You can view the full report here.

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