Los Angeles's first ever CSO Matt Petersen

Los Angeles CleanTech Global Showcase | The Latest In Cleantech Innovation

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Los Angeles’s first ever CSO Matt Petersen.
Image Credit: Susanna Schick / CleanTechnica

Last week, we covered the inaugural CleantechLA Global Showcase. With an 87% success rate, it’s no wonder the LA Cleantech Incubator’s babies provided a day of very exciting presentations. The companies presented some very exciting technologies, from a new type of lithium battery that lasts longer than any currently on the market to a fascinating new turbine inspired by the Fibonacci principle. The full list of presenting companies is in the program, here. The keynote on day 1 was presented by Matt Petersen, Los Angeles’s first Chief Sustainability Officer. The gorgeous photo you see next to Matt Petersen is not some river in Colorado, but the Los Angeles River. Yes, it’s now open for kayaking; at least, in some parts. They finally stopped fighting nature and let the river reclaim its earthen bottom, which created a stunning wetlands unlike anything in the region. It is home to a staggering array of birds who pass through during migration, and need this type of wetlands to survive.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti presented a moving keynote speech on day 2, right before running off to the Los Angeles Aqueduct to celebrate its centennial. He made an excellent business case for sustainability, beginning with how much has changed since Mulholland turned on the tap 100 years ago. He then moved on to discuss how the city can benefit from cleantech and sustainable living. Garcetti spoke about how investing in cleantech has proven to be far more profitable than investing in other types of business. He stated that cleantech is projected to be the fastest growing sector over the next 15 years. It’s also creating more jobs than other sectors.

Mayor Garcetti also mentioned the moment when, as a city council member, he led his city council members in a vote to move away from coal. You can see from this article on Gas2 to see that it has definitely had an impact. (7% of the city’s energy compared to the national average of 44% comes from coal.) It’s an excellent speech from a politician who actually understands what it’s going to take to keep his city as awesome as it is, and become even more awesome. (Author is slightly biased, having moved to LA 3 times.) He explains how he’s hired the city’s first CSO, and why every department chief from the fire department to libraries had to re-apply for their jobs with a consideration for sustainability. Here’s the full speech:

We also heard from various countries eager to invite entrepreneurs to start cleantech businesses on their shores. What was most interesting about this was the extreme contrast between China and pretty much all the other countries. While most countries presented an enticing song and dance, doing their best to attract new businesses, China had to be a little different. The representative from China was great because his presentation was so straightforward and practical. He explained exactly what it takes for a foreign company to do business in China, and what sort of cleantech products and services are most needed in China.

People networking in the lounge.
Image Credit: Susanna Schick / CleanTechnica

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