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California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Colorado, New York Lead Clean Tech

We now have more insights into how the clean-tech economy is doing from this year’s sixth annual US Clean Tech Leadership Index. The index, prepared by Clean Edge, a research and indexing firm founded in 2000, tracks and ranks clean-tech activities in all 50 states and the largest 50 metro areas in the US. It provides a powerful tool for regional comparative research, aggregating industry data, and deep, data-driven analysis of the American clean-energy market.

CTLI state results (

“The United States has seen a significant shift in its energy landscape since Clean Edge began publishing its clean tech leadership index five years ago,” the report states.

“The transition to a clean tech and energy efficiency-based economy, based on the many indicators we track, is well underway. Solar and wind power, along with natural gas and energy efficiency, are now the mainstream choices for meeting the nation’s electricity needs; coal-fired and nuclear power, the dominant choices of the 20th century, have become the marginalized ‘alternatives.’”

CTLI state and metro index components (Clean Tech ( structures of state and city indexes are shown here. More than 100 indicators comprise the entire index, which contains approximately 17,000 data cells. For a free downloadable summary report, click here. (Complete datasets are only available to Index subscribers.)

Key report findings:

  • Last year, utility-scale wind power (27%) and solar power (20%) combined to make up nearly half (47%)  of new U.S. generation capacity.
  • Eleven states now generate more than 10% of their electricity from non-hydro renewable energy sources.  In three of these states—Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas—the proportion exceeds 20%.
  • Including hydropower and biomass use, four states—Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and South Dakota—now exceed 70% generation from renewables.
  • Last year, utility-scale solar began to take hold, with California deriving a full 5% of its electricity from utility solar plants.

Clean Tech Leadership Index top 50 metro areas map (

Clean Edge managing director Ron Pernick points out:

“As cities, states, and nations announce ambitious renewable energy goals, such as California’s 50% target by 2030, and Hawaii’s 100% target by 2045, tracking data and comparative performance is critical. We aim to provide transparency and insights as the market moves towards the goal of a low-carbon, and even zero-carbon, economy.”

Clean Edge, founded in 2000, is the world’s first research and advisory firm devoted to the clean-tech sector. Along with data mining from publicly available datasets and Clean Edge-derived indicators, the company leverages data from private data partners including Cleantech Group, EQ Research, Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C., and IHS Automotive. The company’s benchmarking services also include clean-energy stock indexes with NASDAQ. Wells Fargo, the Washington DC Department of the Environment, the Energy Foundation, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and Portland Development Commission partnered to produce this study.

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Written By

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."


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