The Northwest Cleantech Cluster: The A-to-Z List of Energy Efficiency Players

[UpdatedI 12:15 pm Pacific] We’ve been covering the cleantech space here at Xconomy for some time, and the whispers we keep hearing from the folks at the Northwest Energy Angels, cleantech incubators like the McKinstry Innovation Center, or the Puget Sound Regional Council, is that although the Northwest is an obvious contender to lead in green innovation, we haven’t won the title of cleantech hub just yet.

In an attempt to survey what’s going on in the clean innovation scene in the Pacific Northwest, two years ago we compiled an all-encompassing guide to the cleantech clusters not only in Washington state, but in Oregon and British Columbia as well. But in just two short years the list has quickly grown longer—and outdated.

As the industry has grown, it’s now apparent that the term cleantech is a broad and reaching one that breaks down into subcategory upon subcategory—such as renewable energy, green buildings, energy efficiency, alternative fuels, power systems. The list goes on and on. So to make this canvassing more manageable, we’re breaking it down by individual sectors.

We’re starting with one of the more obvious ones—energy efficiency—due to the strong IT presence we have here in Washington, as well as in Oregon and British Columbia.

We defined energy efficiency to include energy management hardware and software companies, as well as IT-based efficiency service companies (some of these companies may overlap with other sectors). We did not include energy consultants or efficiency construction or retrofitters—though these too play a vital role in the cleantech climate. To read up on some of these companies, see the Washington State Energy Marketplace Directory (.pdf), which was compiled and updated as of October 2010.

We compiled this list, which is by no means comprehensive, from our past coverage, along with resources from the Washington state Department of Commerce energy division, the Washington state Department of Ecology, the Washington Clean Technology Alliance, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council, the British Columbia Environmental Industry Association, the Oregon Department of Energy, and the Bonneville Power Administration’s Energy Efficiency database. If you know of any companies we missed, or others that are just getting started, please shoot us a note at [email protected], and we’ll add them to the list.

3 Phase Energy Systems (Auburn, WA)

This company spun out of the University of Washington, and develops technology to harness wasted exhaust energy and feed it back into the power grid.

Advantage IQ (Spokane, WA)

The company monitors corporate energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions through Web-based data management services, helping companies to better conserve.

Alerton (Redmond, WA)

This company, part of Honeywell International’s Automation and Controls Group, provides building heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning management services. In fact, the company says it was the first to pioneer ways to help building owners automatically control HVAC systems.

Calico Energy Services (Woodinville, WA)

This smart grid data management company plugs into energy management systems and monitors output from the source—major utilities companies and energy service providers—allowing these companies to instigate energy management campaigns with customers.

Clean Power Research (Kirkland, WA and Napa, CA)

This company develops Web-based software for solar power and other clean energy industries, calculating everyday things like energy output, utility bills, and renewable energy system incentive programs.

ClearEdge Power (Hillsboro, OR)

This company makes a product called ClearEdge5, which is a fuel cell system that converts natural gas into electricity and heat, increasing efficiency, decreasing carbon dioxide emissions, and cutting utility bills for homes and small businesses. The company raised $15 million in financing in August 2009.

EnerG2 (Seattle, WA)

This advanced materials and energy storage company is a UW spinout that develops materials to help make it more efficient to store energy from hydrogen, solar cells, and natural gas. The company received an $8.5 million Series A investment from OVP Venture Partners two years ago, followed up by another $2.5 million in June 2009, a $21.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in August 2009, and another $3.5 million round in April.

Energy Aware (Vancouver, BC)

This company manufactures in-home energy energy monitoring hardware and smart meters that provide homeowners and utilities companies with wireless real-time information on power consumption, electricity rates, and energy management. [Updated: This company was added on 10/27/10].

Energy Trust of Oregon (Portland, OR)

The Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization that helps residents and businesses save energy and tap into renewable resources through an online database of information on energy efficiency services, tax incentives, and retrofitters. The site’s self-serve tool for homeowners looking for pre-diagnosis information on their homes is powered by one of our Seattle-area energy efficiency companies, EnergySavvy. (Olympia, WA)

This website is an online database of information on energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings, and for building owners, operators, occupants, and energy program providers. It is a public service of the Washington State University Energy Program.

EnergySavvy (Seattle, WA)

This online startup provides a free Web-based energy audit tool that allows both consumers and government and nonprofit organizations, using a white-label version of the product, to analyze the energy efficiency needs of a building, and gain access to a wealth of information and resources on efficiency contractors, retrofitters, and consultants.

FirstPoint Energy (Beaverton, OR)

This company helps utilities collect and manage data on energy usage, water and natural gas consumption, and cost saving resources for customers.

Flow Control Industries (Woodinville, WA)

This company is a specialty manufacturer of high-performance, energy efficient, pressure independent control valves that increase the overall efficiency of mechanical systems.

Fuseforward (Vancouver, BC)

This company develops technologies that allow utilities companies, property and maintenance management companies, energy service providers, transportation companies, and government agencies the ability to manage energy operations, performance and efficiency. [Updated: This company was added on 10/27/10].

Greenwood Resources (Portland, OR)

This company grows fast-growing, high-yield, hybrid poplar trees, and manages sustainable tree farms that require less fertilizer and energy than traditional row crops.

Itron (Liberty Lake, WA)

Itron (NASDAQ: ITRI) is a global smart-grid company that develops intelligent metering, data collection, and utility software that manages energy usage and data for electricity, gas, water, and heating systems.

JX Chrystals (Issaquah, WA)

This Boeing spinoff develops more efficient photovoltaic cells that generate heat and electricity day and night, all year long, combining solar power with more efficient energy use.

Legend Power (Burnaby, BC)

This company uses a patented device to help utilities and facilities conserve electrical energy through voltage optimization, reducing electricity costs as well as emissions.

Light-Based Technologies (Vancouver, BC)

This company has technology that improves the efficiency of solid-state lighting, from light-emitting diodes to controls for the quality of light, brightness, color, and temperature that use much less energy.

LivinGreen Materials (Seattle, WA)

This solar cell company develops dye-sensitized crystals (DSC) that are both more efficient and more cost-effective that previous solar technologies.

MagnaDrive (Bellevue, WA)

This company develops disconnected torque-transfer technology that enhances energy efficiency, and eliminates wear and tear of vehicle motors, drive pumps, fans, blowers, and other processing and manufacturing equipment.

Micro Power Electronics (Beaverton, OR)

This company develops more than 1,000 different battery systems and chargers that are designed to help medical and military products have longer run time on a charge, with reduced charging time, and decreased size and weight.

Microplanet (Seattle, WA)

This company develops energy conservation technology that allows residential and business customers to manage incoming power voltage, reducing energy consumption by an average of five to 12 percent.

MountainLogic (Seattle, WA and Portland, OR)

This company develops energy efficiency automated home controls that integrate lights, thermostats, and occupancy sensors into every room of a home. The sensors, designed to anticipate each individual’s energy and comfort needs year-round, cuts home energy use by over 40 percent on average.

Nexterra Energy (Vancouver, BC)

This company develops gasification systems to generate heat and power from waste fuels at industrial facilities. The company raised $3.8 million from ARC Financial of Calgary in August 2008.

Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (Seattle, WA)

The NEEC is a trade association of the energy efficiency industry.

Optimum Energy (Seattle, WA)

This cleantech company makes software that helps large commercial buildings manage heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems for increased energy efficiency. The company, founded in 2005, brought in $4.5 million in financing in June 2006, followed by an additional $1.2 million earlier this month. The company says its product reduces energy consumption by an average of 50 percent, in additional to reducing operating costs.

Oregon State University Energy Efficiency Center (Corvallis, OR)

The OSU EEC, is home to the school’s Industrial Assessment Center, which offers rural energy audits, customized assessments, as well as mentored energy efficiency training, related research, data accumulation, and analysis.

Power Smart (Vancouver, BC)

Under the umbrella of British Columbia’s third largest electric utility, BC Hydro, the Power Smart project challenges customers to commit to reducing their electricity use by 10 percent, offering exclusive offers and rewards to those who take part in the program.

Powerit Solutions (Seattle, WA)

This company develops hardware and software that plugs directly into the grid, and allows industrial facilities to visualize data and control energy consumption. In May 2009 the company received $6 million in financing, and quickly developed an expansion plan.

PowerMand (Portland, OR)

This company provides customers with a technological platform to monitor and control energy use for utilities, energy providers, and renewable energy companies. Its DreamWatts product enables customers to reduce peak demand electricity usage in homes and small businesses.

PowerTech Labs (Surrey, BC)

This subsidiary of BC Hydro offers clean energy consulting, testing, and power services for the electric, oil and gas, automotive, and electric equipment industries. [Updated: This company was added on 10/27/10].

Propel Biofuels (Sacramento, CA and Seattle, WA)

This company, originally based in Seattle and now headquartered in Sacramento, sells biodiesel and E85 fuel, and uses IT to help customers keep track of their carbon footprints and how much they are reducing them.

Pulse Energy (Vancouver, BC)

This company develops Web-based software that analyzes, and communicates real-time energy consumption data for building operators, enabling improved energy operating efficiency and savings of up to 25 percent. [Updated: This company was added on 10/27/10].

Rainforest Automation (Vancouver, BC)

This company makes hardware and software products that plug into the grid and allow utilities companies and homeowners to monitor energy consumption in real-time, and better manage residential energy use. [Updated: This company was added on 10/27/10].

Serveron (Hillsboro, OR)

This company, now part of BPL Global (and formerly called Micromonitors), makes smart-grid products and services that monitor changes in performance of generators, transmitters, and distribution equipment.

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (Pullman, WA)

This company designs and makes products and offers support services for monitoring and controlling electric power systems, including through automation and metering.

Smartcool (Vancouver, BC)

This cleantech company develops and sells hardware that, when installed into air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration compressors, reduces electricity consumption by 10 to 15 percent.

Tantalus (Burnaby, BC)

This company develops smart grid communications technology that enables utilities companies and energy service providers to automatically monitor, control, and manage operational energy efficiency intelligently and cost-effectively. [Updated: This company was added on 10/27/10].

UCONS (Kirkland, WA)

This company develops energy and water conservation plans for big utilities, energy service providers, and residential customers.

Verdiem (Seattle, WA)

This company develops software that monitors, measures, and manages IT energy use of PC networks for businesses, reducing energy consumption, while increasing profitability and sustainability. In August 2009 the company’s system had been deployed on over one million desktops.

Vu1 (Seattle, WA)

This company develops energy-efficient light bulbs that, unlike fluorescent bulbs, do not contain mercury, and thus won’t contaminate landfills when thrown out. In July 2010 the company was awarded its first U.S. patent for its unique Electron Stimulated Luminescence (ESL) technology.

Xantrex (Burnaby, BC)

This company, a subsidiary of Schneider Electric, develops electronics that convert raw electric power from central, distributed, renewable, or backup power sources into more efficiecy “high-quality power required by electronic equipment and the electricity grid.”

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2 responses to “The Northwest Cleantech Cluster: The A-to-Z List of Energy Efficiency Players”

  1. Thea ChardThea Chard says:

    Thanks to Jane Shaw, trade commissioner of the Consulate General of Canada’s Cleantech, Environment, Energy department, for the following BC additions: Tantalus, Powertech Labs, Pulse Energy, Rainforest Automation, Fuseforward, and Energy Aware.