Chambers of commerce are leading way on clean energy 

San Franciscans have another reason to celebrate. Our city was recently named the Cleantech Capital of North America. According to the Cleantech Group, which awarded the designation, San Francisco is now home to 208 clean-tech companies that have raised $12 billion in venture capital over the past five years. These factors make our city the largest and most concentrated clean-tech cluster in the nation — beating out other clean energy hubs such as Austin, Texas; New York; and Los Angeles.

As a longtime advocate for clean energy and the policies that spur its investment and innovation, the chamber is proud to have played a role in shaping our city’s clean-tech sector. In 2005, the chamber supported the Clean Technology Payroll Tax Incentive, providing a 10-year payroll tax exclusion to clean-tech companies in The City. The chamber was also one of the first business organizations to support California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), ushering in tens of thousands of jobs to our state.

Like in San Francisco, local chambers of commerce are paving the way for clean energy growth in cities across America. In South Carolina, the state’s first wind turbine was introduced with the help of its local chamber. In Bartlett, Tenn., businesses are reducing costs and improving their bottom lines by using energy efficiency tools provided by their chamber. In Flint, Mich., clean-tech entrepreneurs are connecting through an innovative clean energy network hosted by the local chamber. And the list goes on.

Leveraging the success of these and many other initiatives, the San Francisco chamber is now helping fellow chambers of commerce across the country to grow their own clean energy sectors. Last year, the chamber helped launch Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, a national network of more than 165 local chambers sharing information, resources and best practices to help businesses save money, foster innovation and accelerate the growth of the clean-energy economy across the nation.

San Francisco’s designation as the North American Cleantech Capital pays tribute to our city’s innovative spirit and world-class entrepreneurs. It is a testament to the aggressive economic development efforts we have deployed to attract and retain clean-tech companies within our city limits. And it will help solidify our city’s reputation as a leading center for clean technology research, innovation and success for years to come.

The chamber is incredibly proud to have helped pave the way for our city’s accomplishment and to join our chamber colleagues in growing the clean-energy economy nationwide.

Steve Falk is president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

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Steve Falk

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