As the nation seemingly and slowly pulls out from deep recession there is indication that cleantech sector employment is helping to lift some areas of the country and is starting to provide some jobs in what has been a painfully jobless “recovery” for far too many. This post, by John Addison focuses on some areas of his home state of California that are helping to drive the California economy and boosting jobs growth.
After a banner year in 2008 of investments directed to capital-intensive technologies like solar and wind, US venture capitalists backed away from that plan in 2009. So where are they putting their money now? Where the fastest payback is likely to be. New analysis shows a surge of investments in energy efficiency solutions—such as smart grid, and commercial and residential energy management.
Partly in response to the Department of Energy having placed interoperability high on its criteria for evaluating projects applying for some of the $3.9 billion in federal stimulus grants and also because the large utility and integrated energy companies prefer to work with fewer partners, there has been a fair bit of movement towards forming partnerships amongst some of the players in the Smart Grid space. Companies that have strengths in certain key sectors of the Smart Grid arena are linking up with players who are strong in different segments in order to be able to promote and market broader integrated solutions.
Michigan’s Tax Credits Lure 4 Advanced Battery Makers Bringing 6,700 Jobs. Mayor Diaz Unveils Energy Smart Miami Program. Walmart to Place Solar Panels on Their Commercial Rooftop Which will Create About 130 Green Jobs in California. Vision Energy’s $1 Billion Wind Bet in Illinois will Create 290 Jobs. Many Private-Sector Companies Not Hiring Green Jobs Yet in Madison.
The Smart Grid will require substantial information processing, storage and data mining resources. An entire new software sector is rising to meet the challenges and fill the many new needs opened up by its arrival. Spending on the smart grid is estimated to be $165 billion over the next 20 years (Source: EPRI) and a good portion of this will be on software and data services. Here is a list of seven of the up and coming software companies that are actively offering software for the Smart Grid, for Smart Meters, for Power Analytics, for systems focused on improving the energy efficiency of the grid, and for energy management systems for homes and businesses tied to Smart Grid networks and designed to operate with it.