...by Warren Kirshenbaum
There are numerous cities across the United States which can be considered "cleantech capitals." With a large array of renewable resources, a dedication by businesses and homeowners to become more energy efficient, and a large hub for research and development, a lot can be accomplished when it comes to creating new, efficient and sustainable clean technologies. There are many factors that make up a "capital for cleantech," and although there are more than ten cities around the nation that are involved in clean technologies, here are six of the top cities.
1) Boston, Massachusetts. Boston is said to enjoy some of the most supportive policies in the United States for energy efficiency and renewable energy. After California, Boston is second in clean technology venture capital investments. With an environment that is ripe for cleantech startups, numerous companies are moving their business to Boston. The MIT Clean Energy Prize is a venture and innovation creation competition that encourages clean energy innovation. Its objective is to provide educational opportunities and supply incentives to ventures demonstrating the clean energy affordability. As well, the development of MIT's cleantech incubator will provide Boston with more access to cleantech flow, increasing the demands for all future building to be constructed in accordance to LEED standards set up by the U.S. Green Building Council.
2) San Jose, California. San Jose, part of California's Silicon Valley, has been very productive in clean technologies. The city has expanded a number of clean technology investments and because of the research and development institutions in the area, many cleantech companies are coming to make their home in San Jose. 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." San Jose is also home to the Environmental Business Cluster, a non-profit technology commercialization center assisting startup cleantech companies developing goods and services to positively impact the environment.
3) Austin, Texas. Austin has long been Texas' hub for solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass power, as well as fuel cell technologies. Its commitment to the environment and sustainability has made it not only a national cleantech player, but a global one as well. Austin is home to some of the largest cleantech companies on a global level. A large research and development hub, the University of Texas at Austin has created several research expenditures to elevate research into energy efficiency and renewable energy. This includes a project by the College of Natural Sciences to create biofuel from blue-green algae and hybrid-electric automobile programs developed by The Center for Electromechanics.
4) San Francisco, California. California is one of the top cleantech states in the United States and it is cities like San Francisco that makes it happen. Currently, San Francisco is well on its way to becoming the first city to be completely run by renewable energy by the year 2020. With projects like Sunset Reservoir Solar Project, which is the largest municipal solar facility in the state, and a new $250,000 grant to increase renewable energy capabilities.
5) Seattle, Washington. Seattle has been leaving its mark in cleantech society by increasing the need for green standards. The Green Building Sustainable Communities Program, for example, creates city projects that meet sustainable outcomes. Tax breaks and loans are provided to businesses and residences that utilize green practices. Seattle has been a leader in using their garbage to get electricity. They have invested into electricity from garbage landfills.
6) Chicago, Illinois. Over 20 percent of total power in Chicago is coming from renewable sources. Due to the increase in the need for renewable energy and energy efficiency, Chicago has been able to create numerous job opportunities while, at the same time, increasing solar power and saving on CO2 emissions. Chicago is also becoming one of the major investment locations for international businesses. Chicago also has a number of green initiatives, including the Chicago Green Office Challenge.
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The original article was written by Shawn Lesser, and can be seen at http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03 /28/idUS317857292020110328