Global environmental challenges
California takes top spot in clean energy leadership rankings
As the end of the year approaches, everyone seems to be making their lists. And, today, comes another one — U.S. states ranked for “clean energy leadership.”
Not surprisingly, California took the No. 1 spot, followed by Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington and Colorado. The bottom half of the Top 10 are New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Minnesota and New Jersey.
Clean Edge, a West Coast research and consulting firm, compiled the list based on 80 indicators, including a state’s renewable energy production, transportation systems, regulatory policies and incentives and financial and intellectual capital.
“We track more than 4,000 public and private data points across all 50 states,” said Ron Pernick, Clean Edge’s managing director.
The firm looked at such factors as patents for clean energy technology, electric car charging stations, green MBA programs and membership in regional climate initiatives.
Such rankings are of interest to investors and may take on a greater significance as Congress abandons efforts to enact national climate change legislation and as the focus on fighting global warming shifts back to the states.
“California is No. 1 in overall clean-energy leadership by a wide margin, leveraging its history of technology innovation, rich bounty of natural renewable energy resources and investment capital, and consistently supportive government policies,” the report states. “California leads in the technology and capital categories, but the No. 1 state for policy is Washington — just ahead of Massachusetts, which ranks first in regulations and mandates, and Illinois, the top state for incentives.”
Iowa, a state that didn’t make the Top 10, generates 14 percent of its electricity from a carbon-free source — wind — the most of any state.
And a rustbelt state beat out California in an important measure. “Michigan, with its recent focus on electric vehicle and automotive battery technologies, is the No. 1 state for clean-energy patents — a key indicator in the human and intellectual capital.”
But for those following the money, California remains the place to be. Golden State companies captured nearly 60 percent of all venture capital investments made in clean energy in 2009, according to the report.
(Photo: Todd Woody)