Research Triangle Region, N.C. – Leaders of the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster (RTCC), Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce head to Washington, D.C, Thursday (Oct. 3) to brief White House officials and members of Congress on the economic opportunities cleantech offers and how the federal government can help this growing sector.
They are among a select group of cleantech business leaders from across the country sharing their experiences, challenges and opportunities promoting business and economic growth in clean energy.
“The Research Triangle Region is a global leader in clean technology innovation,” said Harvey A. Schmitt, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. “We welcome this opportunity to brief the administration on our efforts and discuss how the federal government can continue supporting innovation in this important sector.”
Representing the region will be RTCC Chairman Ed White, chairman and CEO of Field2Base Inc.; RTCC Managing Director Lee Anne Nance, executive vice president of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, which created and manages the RTCC; and RTCC partners Michael Haley, project manager for Wake County Economic Development, a program of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and Aaron Nelson, president & CEO of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce. Nelson co-chairs Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, a national network of local chambers of commerce dedicated to helping companies successfully navigate and prosper in the clean energy space, which organized the D.C. visit.
Cleantech StudyCleantech refers to the range of products, services and processes that use renewable materials and energy sources, reduce the use of natural resources, and cut or eliminate emissions and waste. An August study conducted by RTI International identified 169 cleantech firms operating in the region in the areas of smart grid, smart transportation and Smart Grid Studysmart water. Of those, 16 are Fortune 500 companies and another 24 are start ups less than five years old, a telling sign of the pace of innovation occurring in the region. A 2011 Duke University study identified Raleigh as the No. 2 city in the country for smart grid headquarters and smart grid software development.
Regional delegates will brief officials on the region’s cleantech cluster, how the RTCC formed and how it has increased jobs, investment and innovation. Among their top policy priorities is continued federal funding for research and development at regional universities, such as the National Science Foundation-funded FREEDM Systems Center at N.C. State University, which is working to transform the nation’s electric power grid into a smart grid that can store and distribute energy produced from solar panels, wind farms, fuel cells and other energy sources.
University R&D is a primary driver of the region’s cleantech economy along with a high concentration of companies that have relocated to and formed in the region over 60 years. Company formation has accelerated in recent years as technology innovations from the region’s software industry have been deployed in regional energy, transportation and water-related companies. That is transforming the way those industries create, distribute and manage energy and natural resources and the way consumers use them, resulting in new companies, jobs and economic growth.
The Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster is an initiative of business, government, academic and nonprofit leaders working to accelerate the cleantech economy and is led by an 11-member board of directors. The Research Triangle Regional Partnership formed and manages the RTCC with funding from industry members ABB Inc., Cisco Systems, Duke Energy, Field2Base Inc., Power Analytics Corp., PowerSecure International, RTI International, SAS, Schneider Electric, Sensus and Siemens. RTRP is a public-private partnership that leads economic development strategy for the area within a 60-mile radius of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. For more information, visit www.researchtrianglecleantech.org.
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Contact: Lee Anne Nance, (919) 334-4075, [email protected]