Clean tech is now driving economic development. Global sales of more sustainable goods and services passed the milestone of $1 trillion in sales. Current growth rates project that by 2017 the global trade in more sustainable goods and services could achieve 20% of world commerce. Clear winners are emerging among U.S. cites and states capitalizing upon this economic development trend. California is the clear winner.
Three Clean Tech Drivers Behind California’s Economic Development Leadership
California is a global clean tech economic development leader. Despited the state’s highly publicized solar company bankruptcies the economic development reality is that California is the U.S. financial capital for solar energy. Led by companies like SolarCity, SunRun and Clean Power Finance it is California-based companies that are financing solar installations across the U.S. Tellingly the U.S. just achieved a milestone 300,000th solar installation with over 90% of those financed through California companies. The following are the three key-drivers that are creating California’s clean tech economic development success:
Car Electrification. California is leading the nation in the adoption of car electrification. California’s state-policy mandating electrified car sales has sparked a national price war among manufacturers. As evident by Ford’s record breaking hybrid car sales the entire U.S. auto industry is on the cusp of being reshaped into the technology solution to high gasoline prices and health impacts created by vehicle emissions. The result of California’s initiatives is new jobs in Michigan and Southern states like Tennessee where these cars are being manufactured. Plus, California is winning its own economic development benefits from the jobs created by California-based companies like Tesla and from the economic stimulus gained by increasing consumer spending power through the slashing of fossil fueled transportation costs.
Clean Tech Grid. California also is pioneering the new model for running an electrical grid. The California strategy is to substitute fossil fueled generation with renewable energy, energy efficiency and consumer response systems. California’s focus is upon reducing a consumer’s electric bill through smart and clean tech investments that provide superior ROI. In the short term the Californian grid maybe at increased outage risk but progressing past this stage in the learning curve will deliver lower electric bills for consumers, cleaner energy and increased economic development as California sells their solutions to the rest of the world.
Urbanization And Building Efficiency. Building efficiency will be a lynchpin in the execution of California’s economic development. California’s pioneering millennial generation entrepreneurs that created companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook are also redesigning the modern office around human engagement and efficiency. California’s building codes will continue to mandate increased energy and water efficiency that will cut operating costs and increase competitive advantage. California cities like San Francisco, San Jose, LA, Sacramento and San Diego are investing in urban designs that connect people through rapid rail, bike lanes, side walks and WiFi. The livability of their urban designs are attracting top engineering, software and business talent. Their clean tech urban designs create competitive advantage by reducing the cost to operate a commercial operation. And because their urban designs are ultimately healthier due to air quality and increased human physical activity they are creating a path for controlling health care costs.
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Los Angeles
- Washington D.C.
- San Diego
It is valuable to note that Austin, Houston and Dallas were the only Southern cities listed in the top 20. For the midwest it was Chicago and Minneapolis.
Solutions Driving 21st Century Economic Development
Economic development in the 21st Century will be centered around those cities, states and regions that can design, manufacturer and sell solutions to the world’s social, economic and environmental challenges. This mega-trend is being driven by a world population of 7 billion people that increasingly cannot afford the cost and health impacts of 20th century best practices. 21st Century economic development will be won by those cities, regions and nations that win clean tech competitive advantage by creating affordable social and environmental solutions.
About The Author
Bill Roth is an economist and the Founder of Earth 2017. He coaches business owners and leaders on proven best practices in pricing, marketing and operations that make money and create a positive difference. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business case studies of pioneering best practices that are proven to win customers and grow product revenues. Follow him on Twitter: @earth2017