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Earth2Tech's Top 7 Cities for Cleantech

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San Jose

Notable startups: Tesla, SunPower, Nanosolar

Focus: Green car factories and solar manufacturing plants.

Before Portland, Ore., and San Francisco started competing for the most expansive plug-in electric vehicle infrastructure, San Jose was a testing ground for the technology. It’s part of the city’s innovative economic development strategy. “We want to be the R&D arm for the country,” says Collin O’Mara, cleantech policy strategist for the city. In addition to having an entire cleantech strategy team, the city has become a liaison between local community colleges and companies in an effort to help create real “green jobs,” launched a $3 million venture fund to invest in cleantech back in 2007 (the Economic Development Catalyst fund), and helped bring in the country’s second Underwriters Lab testing facility.

It also doesn’t hurt that the city is in close proximity to the big cleantech VCs on Sand Hill Road, as well as a huge pool of talent compliments of neighboring Stanford University and UC Berkeley. So far, that heady combination has wrestled a Tesla plant away from New Mexico and tempted a number of other cleantech companies, including SunPower and Nanosolar. In fact, O’Mara was so successful as the lead strategist for San Jose, he was just snatched up by the state of Delaware. (This week, O’Mara was nominated as the State of Delaware’s Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, so we may be seeing big things coming out of Dover.)

Next up: Boston »

6 Responses to “Earth2Tech's Top 7 Cities for Cleantech”

  1. Frank

    In electronics yes, biotechnology yes, clean technology no. Policy capitals are most important, DC, Sacramento, etc. It’s just so easy to go to the traditional “tech” cities and explore. Might try digging a little deeper next time. San Jose employment numbers are…questionable.

  2. An important addition to your CleanTech cities is list San Diego with over 220 (list at clean tech companies and growing. San Diego has national leaders in clean tech, wind, solar, biomass, biofuels, algae, climate research, and sustainability,

    San Diego is leveraging its traditional national strength in biotech, wireless, renewables and research which has created a vibrant cluster of clean tech firms. A few of the San Diego clean tech firms are; Apterra, Sythetnic genomics, Sapphire, AES Wind, enXco Wind, Kyocera solar, Envision Solar, Applied Solar, Fallbrook Technologies, General Atomics biofuels, General Atomics fusion research facility, ISE Corp, Knight & Carver Wind Group, Oak Creek Energy, CleanTech Energy, and Wildcat Discovery Technologies. There are too many clean tech companies in San Diego to list here.

    San Diego has a trade association, CleanTech San Diego, dedicated to promoting and supporting clean tech firms. Other associations provide services services for emerging firms including; Biocom, Connect, Commnexus and the California Center for Sustainability.

    There have been many national publications recently with articles on San Diego leadership role in Clean Tech including; Earth2Tech, CleanTech Magazine, Renewable Energy World, Environmental Protection News and Energy Current.