The 2016 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index – a data-based comparison of all 50 states among 70 technology, capital, and policy indicators – finds that Maine improved its ranking from 22nd to 18th since 2015 and surged ahead 11 places since 2014. Data is included on clean-energy generation, green building deployment, energy efficiency expenditures, venture capital investments, and policy implementation.
The State jumped from 15th in 2015 to 9th in 2016 in Technology, and from 27th to 19th in Policy. According to the Index, “Maine, the national leader in biomass generation, joins the top 10 for the first time this year at #9 after three years at 15th; back in 2010, the state was a lowly 31st.” However, Nevada overtook Maine as the leader in smart meter market penetration, and the state fell one place in Capital from 24th to 25th since last year. The full report can be downloaded at http://cleanedge.com/reports/2016-US-Clean-Tech-Leadership-Index.
According to E2Tech Executive Director Jeff Marks, “the new cleantech leadership index follows other recent reports demonstrating that Maine’s wind, tidal, and biomass resources position the State for economic progress throughout its alternative energy sector. For example, the Maine Technology Institute 2014 report, Re-Examining Maine’s Economic Position, Innovation Ecosystem and Prospects for Growth in its Technology-Intensive Clusters, found that the alternative energy cluster is one of the fastest growing, with job gains of 11.9 % from 2007 to 2012. The clean energy sector has higher than average wages, is growing faster than other technology sectors, and is positioned to flourish under the right conditions. The growth of clean technology overall has outpaced the overall Maine economy and businesses are expanding and expect positive growth in the future.”
E2Tech Board Chair and Perkins Thompson Partner Jim Katsiaficas adds, “For those of us who work to promote Maine's Cleantech economy – E2Tech, Maine Technology Institute, among other organizations – and for the many new and growing Maine businesses in this sector, it is encouraging to see the results of this work recognized. At the same time, though, Massachusetts (2), Vermont (3), Connecticut (8), Rhode Island (12) and New Hampshire (16) all are doing better in this area, and so we in Maine have to do more to catch up with Cleantech business development in the other New England states.”
Marks credited leading Maine businesses and technologies, like Pika Energy’s clean power electronics, Ocean Renewable Power Company’s tidal energy systems, and Rapport’s sustainability software, for enabling the growth of the sector but cautioned that “Maine must retain its leading position through continued policy support for renewable energy, energy efficiency and environmental initiatives. Certainty in the policy framework is a critical component of future business and economic development planning and helps steer private investment to innovation in the sector. It is important to publicize Maine’s technology and policy accomplishments to regional, national, and global investors to demonstrate our commitment to the strength of our clean technology sector.”
Quickly following the release of the Leadership Index, the Cleantech Open Northeast (CTONE) announced that Delta Dewatering and F.E. Wood Natural Energy, two early-stage companies from Maine, were accepted to their Class of 2016, and Surge Hydro was newly accepted into both the 2016 CTONE and MassChallenge business competition. E2Tech is the Maine Director of CTONE and works with the Maine Technology Institute and U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund to connect companies with the accelerator program.
“It’s not surprising that more Maine companies are gaining regional and national traction for energy and environmental leadership,” shared E2Tech Executive Director Jeff Marks. “The 2016 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index showed that Maine burst into the Top 10 in Technology, surging from 15th in 2015 to 9th in 2016.”
The Cleantech Open is the world’s largest cleantech accelerator with a mission to find, fund, and foster entrepreneurs with big ideas that address today’s most urgent energy, environmental and economic challenges. Since 2005, more than 1,000 startups have participated in its annual accelerator and mentorship program in the United States alone, raising a total of more than $1.2 billion and creating thousands of jobs. The program provides extensive mentoring, training, business clinics, access to investors and capital, and numerous opportunities to showcase to the media and the public. MassChallenge is a similar global accelerator program for top-notch startup companies in all fields.
Ten Maine companies participated in the CTONE in the previous four years. Two of those companies, Pika Energy and Rapport, won northeast regional competition against entrepreneurs in New England, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania and went on to compete against companies across the United States. This year’s semi-finalists include the following:
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