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Notable startups: Propel Fuels, PowerIt, Helion.
Focus: Biofuels, trash-to-fuel, algae fuel, energy efficiency tech.
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels drafted the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Action Agreement and has since gone on to turn his city into an environmental leader. In addition to some of the most aggressive green building codes in the country, Nickels recently announced his intention to build an extensive charging network in the city. Despite the downturn in biofuels, the city boasts some of the best access to biodiesel anywhere in the country, thanks in part to its ties to the agricultural community. It continues to offer support to biofuel companies such as Propel Fuels (in both Sacramento and Seattle).
Proximity to Boeing’s U.S. headquarters also makes Seattle attractive for cleantech companies (for cleantech R&D and algae jet fuel), as does its local socially responsible bank Shorebank Pacific; active and well-funded social development fund ShoreBank Cascadia Enterprise; cleantech-hungry VCs like Cascadia Capital; and regional utility Puget Sound Energy, which is aiming to quickly ramp up its renewable energy purchases and is open to testing out new technologies, including a $50 million trash-to-fuel pilot. Seattle is also tired of losing out on cleantech cred to its West Coast southern neighbors, which makes it willing to do quite a bit to attract cleantech start-ups and retain its current roster of cleantech companies, including energy management solution provider PowerIt and nuclear-energy company Helion.
Image credit: chethan shankar.