34 Clean Energy Companies Offer Vision of New Green Jobs

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NREL Industry Growth Forum showcases clean energy companiesThe National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has invited 34 clean energy companies to present their business plans at the annual Industry Growth Forum next month, and the event promises a glimpse into the green jobs growth potential of sustainable technology. The Growth Forum has already established an impressive record for attracting investors. Growth Forum presenters have raised more than $3.4 billion since 2oo3, which is all the more impressive considering that includes a full five years under the Bush administration, which was no friend to the clean tech business community.

NREL and Clean Energy

NREL is part of the Department of Energy, and since President Obama took office and began pushing clean tech, NREL has been Johnny-on-the-Spot in forging clean energy partnerships with the private sectors as well academic institutions and other government agencies. Just a few examples in recent months include issuing a new report on offshore wind energy potential, teaming up with IKEA’s first geothermal energy project in the U.S., and developing new thin film solar energy technology with 3-M.

34 Clean Energy Companies with a Vision for the Future

The 34 companies presenting at the Growth Forum were selected competitively by NREL, and they illustrate a cross-section of clean energy solutions. There’s the Paper Battery Company of Troy, NY, which has developed a flexible non-toxic, paper-thin battery (video alert) based on cellulose; 7SolarTechnologies of Woburn, MA with solar-powered air conditioning technology; and ThermalCentric Corporation of Seattle, WA with a carbon-based solution for capturing and re-using waste heat.

NREL and the Future of Green Jobs

If federal support for the clean tech industry over the past 18 months or so is any indication, new investment in the 34 companies will translate into more green jobs in the U.S.  That’s thanks in part to Recovery Act funding for more green jobs, but a key question for investors is whether clean tech companies can continue to rely on a supportive legislative environment. State and federal greenhouse gas legislation is under attack and right now all eyes are on California, where five of the Future Growth companies are headquartered. The green jobs picture faces a rocky future there due to a push by the fossil fuel industry to get voters to approve a new referendum (Proposition 23) that would roll back the state’s greenhouse gas law. The clean tech industry is fighting back, so we’ll see what happens in November — renewed support for Future Growth companies and green jobs, or another link in the fossil fuel industry’s “future bust” chain.

Image: Blue lights by dan zen on flickr.com.

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Tina Casey

Tina specializes in advanced energy technology, military sustainability, emerging materials, biofuels, ESG and related policy and political matters. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on LinkedIn, Threads, or Bluesky.

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