San Diego’s Cleantech Cluster Looks to Canada & Other International Partners for Collaboration

In June, 2007, a study commissioned by the City of San Diego and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. found 148 cleantech companies in San Diego County.

The study encouraged San Diego business leaders in establishing Cleantech San Diego as a way to help stimulate the emerging cluster (and to encourage adoption of renewable energy and other clean technologies)—and the nonprofit trade group now boasts 758 member companies. Not all of those are cleantech companies, of course, but it still represents a five-fold increase in San Diego’s cleantech base.

The group’s luster was burnished a bit more in February, when Shawn Lesser of Atlanta’s Sustainable World Capital named Cleantech San Diego to a top 10 list of cleantech cluster organizations for 2010. Lesser, who raises funds for green private equity firms and cleantech companies, proclaimed San Diego as the North American headquarters for another recent endeavor, the Global CleanTech Cluster Association. He says the association embodies a collaborative effort among cleantech clusters in more than 20 regions around the world.

All of this formed the backdrop to an International Cleantech Showcase that drew an estimated 250 people to the University of San Diego earlier this week. The showcase included presentations and a panel discussion comprising cleantech company executives from Australia, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland.

“What’s exciting about this international summit is that we’re doing it together,” says Jim Waring, a co-founder and board chairman of Cleantech San Diego (and a San Diego Xconomist). “I’m excited because I see that we’re turning the corner and we’re not going to be provincial.”

Even if California could eliminate 100 percent of its carbon emissions, Waring contends it won’t have much impact on lowering total greenhouse gases around the world. But he was enthusiastic about the collective impact California and San Diego could have by joining with other countries and other cleantech clusters. “We’re talking about a momentum that is way bigger than just us,” Waring says.

Canadian diplomat David Fransen, who was appointed Consul General in Los Angeles two years ago, provided an example of how such collaborations are coming together among cleantech proponents in San Diego and Canada.

“San Diego already has demonstrated its ability to … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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2 responses to “San Diego’s Cleantech Cluster Looks to Canada & Other International Partners for Collaboration”

  1. Karen Hutchens says:

    Excellent and very comprehensive article,

  2. What a great program and example for other cities. San Diego just keeps getting better! If only housing were a little cheaper there, I’d move in a heart beat. Clean, beautiful city with perfect weather!