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Globalizing our cleantech cluster

Posted by Chad O'Connor  September 19, 2012 11:00 AM

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Our region has long been known as a technology hub, and the Cleantech sector - with a Massachusetts workforce 72,000 strong - is rapidly becoming one of the Commonwealth’s best-known clusters, nationally and internationally.

The Commonwealth’s No. 1 state ranking in energy efficiency by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) earlier this year reflected the strong state policy commitment we have in this area, and resulted in an uptick in national interest in the Massachusetts clean energy success story.

International interest in the Massachusetts clean energy cluster has been growing as well, thanks in large part to Governor Deval Patrick’s international outreach and trade missions to the UK, Israel, Brazil and Chile. In the past year, dozens of international delegations of clean energy business leaders and policymakers from countries around the world have also visited our region to learn about how we’re growing our cluster, share perspectives on progress and barriers in their own countries, and create new businesses.

A delegation from Hafen City in Germany, where a city of the future designed for sustainability and livability is under development, met with Massachusetts state and city officials and the green buildings and energy research community to discuss their project and hear about ways in which the Commonwealth is working towards greener cities.

Israeli company Pythagoras-Solar had productive meetings during last year’s Global Clean Energy Week that led to inclusion of their technology - innovative solar windows - into the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems’ new “living laboratory” for energy efficiency and renewable energy research and development, currently under construction in Boston’s Innovation District.

The Marine Rewnewable Energy Center at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has signed two memorandums of understanding with Chilean universities and continues to explore other opportunities to expand their footprint in Chile, and Mexico’s Cleantech Challenge business plan competition was inspired by their Boston visit last year.

This year, we’re building on the momentum we’ve gained by creating a new event. The Global Cleantech Meet-up, from October 15-18 in Boston, is a time for our region and international companies to forge new connections. Convened by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center, New England Clean Energy Council, and Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems - in partnership with governments and organizations across the Americas, Europe, Japan, and Israel - the Meet-up is bringing together the clean energy global community to create new business opportunities.

The Meet-up is an evolution of years of Clean Energy Week and the Clean Energy Conference in Boston, which previously raised over $250 million in new investments for participating clean energy start-ups.

Many of the international companies and representatives on our Massachusetts team has met with over the past year are joining us at the Meet-up - including the four semifinalists from Mexico’s Cleantech Challenge.

Meet-up participants will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with potential investors and strategic partners, and hear brief partnership-oriented presentations from emerging and leading clean energy companies, major energy consumers, and global strategic partners. We’ll also have short, inspirational talks from leaders in industry and government, discussing today’s challenges and success stories, and tomorrow’s solutions.

We look forward to seeing you in October, and meanwhile, please let us know if you have ideas for how to make the Meet-up even more dynamic.

Amir Eldad is an active Boston World Partnerships connector and is the co-chair of the Global Cleantech Meet-up.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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