September 12, 2016

Packed House and High Energy at the RTCC Annual Meeting

By Ed White, CEO & Board Chair, Field2Base;
Board Chair, Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster

You know you’ve got people’s rapt attention when a slide is so compelling that several audience members whipped out their cell phones and snapped a photo. That happened at today’s annual meeting when featured speaker Simon Hansen, Director of Regions with C40 Cities showed a slide that compared Atlanta and Barcelona.

There, for all to see, was a visual comparing the two cities of comparable size and populations by land area.  Barcelona had those people on less than a 10th of the land that sprawling Atlanta uses. The result is Barcelona emits less than 10 percent of the emissions that Atlanta does.

Simon called it being “compact, connected and coordinated.”

C40 Cities began more than decade ago with 40 cities and has grown to 86 cities worldwide dedicated to the “green growth pathway.” The member cities share best practices and set audacious but realistic goals for going green. And they do this publicly and openly. Most of the world’s people now live in cities, and cities account for 85 percent of the global GDP.

When we announced that Simon was to be our guest speaker at the RTCC annual meeting, we had no problem filling the room. About 170 people representing 100 organizations attended.                                                       

RTCC members rely on collaboration with each other, even with competitors, for the mutual benefit of all. So there were nods of agreement when Simon shared what various cities have done, and that those who are first to try something then bring other cities along more quickly.  For a closer look check out C40’s report Power Climate Change: Cities and Global Changemakers.    

But this isn’t without frustration. Simon noted that too often, the public sector recognizes a problem and determines what the solution should be before turning to the private sector to implement the solution.  How much better and quicker the outcome would be, he said, if government turned to the private sector as soon as a problem is recognized. Then, together, the best solution can be found.

Focus on the Win-Win 

An annual meeting is when we take stock of the organization, and as was reported today, at only 4 years of age, RTCC is going gangbusters.  In 2015, RTCC launched a metrics dashboard to track the impact of their work.  Since 2009, cleantech has made an impact on the region, representing 10,700 jobs and $1.3 billion in investment from announced projects. Some of the highlights reported today are:

  • Doubled the membership to 52 members – and we plan to double that within a year!
  • Restructured membership levels to appeal to a wider array of organizations 

We created a two-year strategic plan based on a four-part strategy of:

  • Business Growth and Marketing
  • Community & Industry Engagement
  • Talent Attraction & Development
  • Membership Development

We continue to build the Research Triangle brand as a global cleantech hub. This past year, we hosted five international delegations with Nigeria, Spain, Osaka, Milan, and China. We are uniquely positioned as only the second US member of the International Cleantech Network, a global consortium of regions, with strengths in cleantech, and through this network, we continue to provide members with access to global market opportunities. 

This year we will continue to work with partners to promote investment in the region and promote the state as a leader in energy and the region as a leader in cleantech. 

We will build upon our work with Wake County Economic Development to develop a Foreign Direct Investment strategy and marketing collateral. 

We will travel to Lyon, France, in March to meet with other cleantech regions from the International Cleantech Network and we invite you to join us.

If you’re a member, get involved. If you aren’t a member, what are you waiting for? We’re only getting better.

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April 27, 2016

What utilities expect from the Internet of Things

Originally featured in Intelligent Utility.

By Alyssa Farrell, Global Product Marketing Manager, SAS

The Internet of Things is the concept of everyday objects – from industrial machines to wearable devices – using built-in sensors to gather data and take action on that data across a network. Thierry Godart, General Manager of Energy Solutions at Intel, describes IoT as “taking the best of IT into the operational world.”

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February 22, 2016

How Electric are Cars Going to Get?

By Vikram Rao, Executive Director, Research Triangle Energy Consortium

With Electric vehicles are at in interesting inflection point. Car makers are finally getting serious about traversing the main hurdle: battery cost. When the Nissan Leaf first emerged, and for that matter also the Chevy Volt hybrid, lithium cells cost over $450 per kWh (kilowatt hour). As a rule of thumb, each mile driven uses 0.25 kWh. A hundred mile range will require 25 kWh in principle. But it is impractical to drain down to zero and a useful figure is likely 80 or 85%. In other words, 100 mile range likely needs a battery pack with about 30 kWh.

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February 22, 2016

What energy companies of the future are working on today

By Lynn Good, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Duke Energy

Everyone has seen the incredible disruption to businesses wrought by rapidly changing technology. In fact, history is like a beach littered with shipwrecked companies that either ignored or missed the winds of change.

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January 14, 2016

Streetlights May be the Next Bright Idea in Demand Response

Originally featured in Intelligent Utility.

By Charlie Nobles, Director of Product Marketing, Lighting Solutions, Sensus

It’s the middle of winter and the sun sets before most of your customers leave work at 5:30 p.m. It is dark and cold when your customers get home.

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December 14, 2015

Research Triangle Region is preparing students for STEM careers – and area energy and technology companies are hiring

The Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster issued a report in August that sheds light on the talent needs and job opportunities in the region’s cleantech sector.

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November 21, 2015

Smart Cities: Is North Carolina in Play?

From Boston to Beijing, municipalities are investing millions to emerge as “Smart Cities,” places that are penetrated with connected devices that feed data to smart systems that in turn generate civil and consumer benefits

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August 31, 2015

Capturing cleantech market share, driving third wave of economic growth

It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than three years since we created the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster. Five years ago, virtually no one knew cleantech existed in the region. Today, the Research Triangle Region of North Carolina is recognized as a global cleantech hot spot.

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January 06, 2015

ARPA-E: funding and support available for energy innovation

By Emmit Owens, program assistant, Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster

A little-known but highly effective federal agency is helping companies develop energy technologies not yet ready for venture investment.

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October 08, 2014

How a community can create a successful cleantech cluster

At SXSW Eco in Austin, a panel of experts discussed how to build and sustain a cleantech cluster of public and private partnerships to progress renewable energy. "Cleantech cluster" is not the most innovative term, and even the people who have made careers out of it don't particularly care for it. 

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