• Effective & Essential: US-China New Energy Vehicle (NEV) Cooperation

    Guest blog by Yair Crane
    December, 2017

    Last month, I had the pleasure of co-leading the first New Energy Vehicle (NEV) Trade Mission to China from the US, since China declared an imminent ban on diesel and gas vehicles. The mission took place in Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Guangdong, and allowed each US company CEOs and their representatives to meet over 40 leading companies, JV partners, investors, and teaming partners.

    PHOTO: Trade Mission delegates with Charles Bennett, Consul General, US Embassy in Guangzhou, China. (Guangzhou is seeking to become the Detroit of China).

    As the Cleantech Development Manager for the US-China Clean Tech Center, I manage our relationships with clean technology companies, investors, research and innovation centers, and project developers, while supporting our Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Feng An. For our NEV trade mission, I recruited 17 innovative companies engaged in NEV technologies for the passenger, commercial, bus, and heavy-duty truck markets; this included electric battery, hydrogen fuel cell, and hybrid technologies, as well as AI, wireless charging, and advanced lithium ion battery technology firms. Rather than summarize the trip, here are three realities confirmed by our activities.

    1) We could have brought 50 companies. Today, we have an unprecedented amount of NEV technology offerings in the US, coupled with an ever-growing demand for NZEV and ZEV in China. Subsidies play a role, as WSJ pointed out, but they are not the only factor and, in fact, as a percentage of EV price, Chinese subsidies are lower than that of some Scandinavian countries. Regardless of the policies in the US at the national or sub-national levels, in general, and regardless of the policies of specific auto manufacturers, China’s declaration has directly influenced the future of the worldwide automotive industry. Just the other day, Shell announced a major charging initiative for highways with Ford, BWM, Volkswagen, and Daimler.

    Beyond the environmental and sustainability motivations, any rational auto manufacturer and technology supplier will focus or double-down their investments in NZEV and ZEV to sell in the largest auto market in the world.  Read: It doesn’t make a difference if the US bans diesel and gas cars or if California enacts a ban or if Ford choses to stop manufacturing diesel and gas vehicles; companies (regardless of where their HQ is located) will increase, re-allocate, and shift resources toward NZEV and ZEV – or not survive.

    Some have equated this “China EV effect” to the “California MPG effect on steroids.” Global auto manufactures have long produced vehicles to sell in the US based on the standards of California – the largest car market in the US and with the strictest emissions and MPG regulations. This presents a golden opportunity for the resurgence of US auto manufacturing, by ramping up NZEV and ZEV production – a boon for employment, trade and the economy. When one includes the commercial, bus, and heavy-duty truck sectors, the benefits for US employment, trade, and the economy multiply exponentially.

    1. The Rise of Auto-Mobility. Investments in clean energy and clean transportation have and will continue to benefit the US economy (reports are widely available on jobs created and sustained, as well as the economic impacts, for example). However, this trade mission clearly demonstrated sea-changes in the auto industry which must be heeded by US companies, investors, and leaders in clean transportation.

    The rise of the connected-car, ride sharing, automatic driver assistance, autonomous driving/AI, and related innovations have spurred investments in the billions of USD within China. The US must recognize the long-term economic importance of funding and investing in research, commercialization, and scaling of similar technologies as the new auto-mobility paradigm becomes entrenched worldwide.

    My colleague Bill Russo, a globally recognized automotive and mobility expert with over 35 years of experience including 15+ years as an automotive executive, with more than 13 years in China, writes: “Connected mobility, which we define as ‘technology-enabled on-demand mobility services for moving people and goods from point A to B’, has become a disruptive, paradigm-changing development in the automotive industry. It requires a complete rethinking of the way to deliver value to the market.” To further escalate the positive economic impact of NZEV and ZEV, traditional US auto manufactures “must widen their focus from the product (the automobile) to the utility derived from the product (‘automobility’), and create a business model and digital ecosystem optimized to provide digitally enabled solutions for both car owners and mobility services users.”

    The economic potential in auto-mobility continues to grow, and estimates continue to be re-adjusted upwards, especially as Smart Cities, embedded with IoT, become a reality. The annual massive tech gather CES (Consumer Electronics Show), held every January in Las Vegas, recently launched Self-Driving and Connected Car initiatives, and some say it will need it’s own show soon, given the number of companies exhibiting. Public and private sector investment must be made now if the US wants to benefit from the ever-increasing jobs and economic benefits of this new, advanced automobile age.

    1. IP is now VIP. Thanks to our partnership with the US Department of Commerce (DOC), one of UCCTC’s main objectives – and most important – is to increase cleantech exports from the US to China and support manufacturing and export related jobs in the US. We have also been able to work with the DOC to introduce many of our clients and trade mission attendees to both DOC and private sector IP experts, to assist in navigating through the copyright, trademark and IP morass.

    Times have changed, and the Chinese IP market has transformed and matured to the point that Chinese firms understand the value of protecting the most innovative IP they have licensed and/or co-created. Further, the IP produced by Chinese firms continues to grow year over year. As Chris Wilson summarized in a recent blog post: “There’s a general trend for more and better enforcement of IP rights, largely because the Chinese market is evolving from being populated by copiers to being populated by innovators. It’s not surprising, really. Every country that starts to become an innovator starts to pay more attention to IP rights.”

    This has spurred a radical change in strategy for US firms, which now must seek partners in China with this appreciation of IP and the wherewithal to defend it. One of our key offerings is to introduce US companies to reliable, reputable, and financially sound Chinese partners who can help defend IP in their own market, fending off other Chinese copyright violators. Comprehensive due diligence of potential partners has always been crucial; however, we highly recommend a thorough analysis of a potential partner’s financial resources for IP matters, investigation of the potential partner’s IP portfolio, as well as their track record of defending their own IP in China.

    As Jason Zukus from The Diplomat eloquently wrote this past July: “As with many issues in China, the status of Chinese IP rights defies one-dimensional stereotypes. While IP infringement is no longer tolerated with impunity in China, the country also still has progress to make in updating IP laws and strengthening enforcement. Overall, through a mix of market incentives and political pressure, China appears to be emerging as a global IP leader. And with senior Chinese leadership continuing to support IP rights at conferences like ‘Summer Davos,’ the cultivation of entrepreneurship and intellectual property in China shows no signs of slowing.”

    Ultimately, this US-China NEV trade mission proved and solidified many of the NEV-related investment hypotheses I have been active in and pursued for the last decade; expanding and refining these investment hypotheses will continue as I collaborate with my colleagues involved in the dynamic and fundamental US-China NEV relationship.

    I look forward to your comments and feedback. Please feel free to reach out if you would like to learn more about our investment, consulting, and cross-border services, or would like to connect with the more than 3,500 cleantech companies, corporate venture funds, technology providers, and investors in our database, since launching in 2008.

    @cleantechglobal

  • California’s Job Creators Strongly Support Cap-and-Trade Program to Advance Economic Growth

    A coalition of leading business groups that collaborate with thousands of large and small businesses from various sectors that collectively employee hundreds of thousands of Californians, is strongly supportive of extending one of California’s most effective climate initiatives – the Cap-and-Trade Program.

    At a time of tremendous uncertainty for businesses, due to the significant federal policy changes being proposed by the Trump Administration, California needs to give a signal to the business community that it will stay the course on one of the most effective and efficient climate initiatives. The Cap-and-Trade Program is driving community investments and economic activity such as clean energy investment throughout our state. The positive economic impacts cut across the many sectors and geographies of the California economy thatare represented by this coalition.

    Our coalition supports the extension of the California Cap-and-Trade program because it:

    * Provides market certainty – and regulatory continuity – that is critical for businesses.
    * Reduces greenhouse gases (GHGs) at the least cost.
    * Results in certain, quantifiable GHG emission reductions.
    * Creates an opportunity to maximize investments in carbon reduction programs that create jobs and economic growth.
    * Complements California’s important direct emission reduction rules and laws.
    * Allows us to build on successes and link to markets in other jurisdictions.
    * Offers a flexible program that can be strengthened to generate greater emissions reductions over time if needed.
    * Provides revenues, when distributed appropriately, to bring clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.

    These investments are prudent as these communities are often disproportionally impacted by air pollution. Our partner businesses employ and serve customers in these very communities.

    California’s Cap-and-Trade program, including its emphasis on addressing issues surrounding disadvantaged communities, is an internationally recognized credible program that has served and will continue to serve as a model at the subnational, national and international levels.

    Our coalition acknowledges the importance of addressing the concerns of disadvantaged and low-income communities. We are supportive of optimizing California’s climate program to appropriately address those issues to ensure that the benefits of the program are realized by all Californians.

     

  • Here’s What California’s Climate Policies Have Done to the State’s Economy

    Guest Blog by Bob Keefe, Executive Director, E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs)
    August 12, 2016

    What have California’s climate policies done for the state’s economy? Injected about $48 billion into communities across the state in the past decade and helped create about 500,000 jobs. That’s the synopsis of a new analysis by my organization, the national, nonpartisan business group and Alliance Member E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), of available data on California’s Global Warming Solutions Act — also known as AB 32 — and related policies. Lawmakers in Sacramento are now debating legislation (under the aptly named SB 32) that would extend the emissions targets set by AB 32 for an additional 10 years past the current deadline of 2020.

    It’s clear that AB 32 and related policies are already paying off big time for California’s economy. Today, the state is by far the nation’s leader in clean energy jobs and investments. No other state comes close. The state’s existing emission reduction goals and related programs have funded solar, wind and energy efficiency projects in communities from Shasta to San Diego, helping homeowners, schools, farms and businesses save money while also reducing pollution.

    And importantly, California’s leadership on climate policies has given clean energy investors, companies and their employees badly needed clarity about where the state’s energy marketplace is headed, which is critical for business planning.

    E2’s analysis shows that each and every one of the state’s 80 Assembly districts have benefitted from AB 32 and related policies over the past 10 years. You can see all of the data here. Some examples:

    keefe-e2 blog

    • Assembly District 56, which includes Coachella and is represented by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D), has received $4.5 billion in investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and transportation projects tied to the Global Warming Solutions Act that has helped create nearly 3,000 new local jobs.

    • Assembly District 31, which is west of Fresno and represented by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D), has received $1.2 billion in renewable energy, energy efficiency and transportation projects. This has helped create more than 2,300 jobs and reduced emissions by the equivalent of taking more than 92,500 cars off the road for one year.

    • Assembly District 35, which includes San Luis Obispo and is represented by Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian (R), has received nearly $1.9 billion in renewable energy, energy efficiency and transportation projects. This has helped create more than 7,400 local jobs and reduced emissions by the equivalent of taking nearly 5,700 cars off the road for one year.

    In a nutshell, the Golden State’s climate policies have been golden for its economy, in every corner of the state.

    E2 is a member of the CA Business Alliance for a Clean Economy.

  • West Coast Clean Economy Report: California’s Policies are Paying Off

    by Susan Frank, Director, California Business Alliance for a Clean Economy
    December 2, 2015

    It’s validating to read a report that mirrors what we have been saying for years – that California’s clean energy policies are paying dividends for residents, businesses and workers. In “West Coast Clean Economy: 2010-2014 Jobs Update,”  it is clear that California is helping to foster a growing clean economy throughout the West Coast in conjunction with Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

    clean economy snapshotThe report, commissioned by the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) and completed by The Delphi Group, shows that between 2010 and 2014, California added 71,000 clean economy jobs for a total of 368,200. This represents a 24 percent jobs increase since 2010, while the state’s clean economy GDP grew by more than 32 percent.

    Other important findings in the report include:

    • west coast clean economyThe West Coast economy as a whole grew more than twice as fast as the region’s overall job growth.
    • As of 2014, the region includes 577,372 clean economy jobs – an increase of 91,656 (approximately 19 percent) since 2010. The job growth has been most significant in the green building, energy efficiency, and clean energy supply sectors.

    It is reports like these that provide justification for the work we do at the CA Business Alliance on behalf of our 1,300 member companies, business associations and chambers of commerce. Every day, we represent your interests by pushing for the effective implementation and defense of the state’s clean energy policies.

    The results of the PCC report are indisputable: – clean energy and climate policies are key drivers of economic and job growth.

    As world leaders, including our own impressive California delegation, convene at the Climate Summit in Paris this week, they should be emboldened by the data which supports taking action toward creating a global clean energy economy. They also should feel strong support coming from California businesses owners who are ahead of the climate change curve, and ready for more dividends from clean energy progress.

  • VP BIDEN CELEBRATES SOCAL CLEANTECH LEADERS FOR BUILDING THE INNOVATION ECONOMY OF THE FUTURE

    by Ruben Aronin, Deputy Director, California Business Alliance for a Clean Economy
    November 20, 2015

    biden picVice President Joe Biden recently celebrated Alliance member, LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI), and the opening of its new LaKretz Innovation Campus by participating in a panel of investors and entrepreneurs to discuss jobs and clean technology. California is leading the way in creating business and economic opportunities from our robust and growing clean energy economy.

    lakretz campusBiden praised the efforts of Mayor Eric Garcetti, LACI, and entrepreneurs at the roundtable. “This incubator brings together innovative minds with the courage to take a chance on a new idea…you have a mayor with a vision…a sense of optimism,” said Biden. There’s power in an incubator… using science and technology to take an idea from paper to product to the marketplace.”

    I had the chance to visit the La Kretz Innovation Campus while it was still under construction this summer. The impressive facility features offices, conference rooms, a wet lab, a prototype manufacturing workshop, and classrooms in a fully renovated 60,000 square foot building – plus a new Arts District Park and surface parking with a photovoltaic solar canopy.

    “This is where the magic happens…invention, innovation, incubation,” said LACI’s CEO Fred Walti. “This (La Kretz) is a unique place to build a company…a cleantech entrepreneur can take an idea, do research, go down the hall and prototype, then go across the hall to the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, and test and get an idea certified…then get a chance to get the idea to marketplace. There’s no other place like this… this is the model for the future.”

    Featured panelists in the vice presidential forum included several entrepreneurs from LACI’s portfolio of companies such as Alliance member Pick My Solar, which recently won Techweek LA’s Launch Competition. Other high-level participants included LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards, Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Kelli Bernard, LACI Board Members Jim McDermott, Richard Morganstern and David Nahai, and TCW Managing Director Tom Soto.

    Vice President Biden told Pick My Solar co-founder Chris Blevins that he was looking forward to his help finding the best deal for installing solar on his house and Blevins replied that he’d like to do that for the White House, too.

    The Vice President’s visit illustrates that LACI and its members are engaged in entrepreneurial leadership worthy of national recognition. Biden closed his comments by telling the assembled entrepreneurs, “You represent the future.”

    That future is bright, and powered by a clean energy economy.

  • Billions of Dollars from California Climate Investments to Provide Economic & Jobs Benefits

  • CALIFORNIA’S CLIMATE INVESTMENTS CREATE CLEAN ENERGY JOBS & JOB TRAINING

    by Ruben Aronin, Deputy Director, California Business Alliance for a Clean Economy
    May 26, 2015

    ca delivers - rubenLast week, I emceed a California Delivers press event to celebrate the jobs and economic benefits of clean energy.

    Community leaders gathered in the Willowbrook neighborhood near Compton in South Los Angeles at the home of Rose Pinkney, a grandmother who had a new solar power system installed on her roof thanks to California’s clean energy and climate law, AB 32. As a result of the new solar panels, Mrs. Pinkney is expected to save 80% on future electricity bills.

    The 4.3 megawatt solar system was installed by GRID Alternatives, an organization that trains and hires people to install rooftop solar. According to the Solar Foundation, California’s solar industry now employs more people than the state’s five largest utilities.

    GRID Alternatives already has provided 20,000 people with solar job training and two of their trainees spoke at the Willowbrook event about being underemployed over the past several years. They spoke of optimism that the solar industry will continue to provide a new dependable career while offering additional economic and health benefits to families like Rose Pinkney’s.

    The event helped mark the beginning of an explosion of new rooftop solar opportunities especially targeting low-income families. “We plan on funding solar systems for up to 1,600 homes throughout California this year and 200 of those are expected to be right here in the LA region,” said Jason Wimbley, Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Community Services and Development for the State of California.

    Reverend Reginald Hansome of the Ascension Lutheran Church said that “today is just the beginning” and spoke of the need to continue to use solar power to empower families and communities to embrace the win-win-win solution of reducing electricity expenses, improving our air quality and health and creating jobs that are desperately needed for our communities.

    Rose Pinkney’s solar installation was made possible through funds from AB 32, and
    specifically through the Low Income Weatherization Program, a Climate Investments program funded by cap and trade. Other projects receiving funding include energy efficiency upgrades for homeowners in communities that traditionally have been among the hardest hit by pollution and are home to some of the state’s most economically disadvantaged residents.

    The Willowbrook event was an excellent reminder about how AB 32 is continuing to deliver benefits to businesses, communities and entire regions – through energy cost savings, cleaner air and improved quality of life.

    Learn more about California Delivers. www.cadelivers.orgCA Delivers logo

  • California Sets the Tone and Reaps Rewards for Businesses, Workers & Citizens

    by Susan Frank, Director, Clean Business Alliance for a Clean Economy
    April 1, 2015

    It’s ironic how other states’ governors visit California wanting to steal our jobs while at the same time criticizing our state’s policies that contribute to creating the very business climate that has spawned our economic growth. In 2014, California created 498,000 new jobs – more than any other state in the country. California’s broad and diverse economy has helped make our state the 7th largest economy in the world. We lead the nation in the advanced energy industry and manufacturing.

    Bloomberg declared California the #1 state to do business in March 2015, with companies in the S&P 500 outperforming the rest of the nation, delivering returns 52% higher than the nearest competitor. Why does California do so well? Bloomberg concludes it’s because places that prepare for big 21st-century challenges, such as climate change, are likely to be the most successful.

    California is world-renowned for fostering creativity of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and women-owned companies, and is home to some of the most recognizable large employers on the planet. While other states pay the economic price of shunning diversity and denying the existence of climate change, California has led on policies that embrace clean energy and diversity – and our state and citizenry have benefitted.

    We have the most skilled and diverse workforce in the U.S. and that is due in large part to policies that make it an open and welcoming state for people from all backgrounds. This year, California will welcome over 60 million visitors and some of those visitors will eventually become residents, employees and business owners.

    So, we lead the nation in job creation. We are creating and implementing clean energy policies that other states and nations are following. We embrace a diverse workforce. We value all of our citizens.

    We must be on to something.

  • The Promise of Clean Fuels in the West, and Beyond

    by Susan Frank, Director, California Business Alliance for a Clean Economy
    January 23, 2015

    California is not alone in seeking to advance clean energy and climate policies – Washington, Oregon and British Columbia (which, along with California, comprise the Pacific Coast Collaborative, or PCC) all have agreed to take meaningful action to reduce their carbon emissions. One way to accomplish this is through low carbon fuel policies, like California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), which has been a focus of the CA Business Alliance for a Clean Economy for several years.

    Today, the International Council on Clean Transportation and E4tech released a report (available here) which examined what would happen if all four PCC jurisdictions adopted clean fuel standards. The report finds that doing so is feasible, from a fuel-supply perspective, and would likely result in substantial reductions in oil consumption and carbon emissions.

    One of the most illuminating findings in this report is how broad the potential landscape of low-carbon fuel solutions appears to be. There are many different combinations of fuels, including electricity, biofuels, natural gas, and hydrogen, which allow the Pacific Coast to reduce the amount of emissions coming from its transportation sector. It’s clear that different approaches to clean transportation can co-exist rather than compete.

    I have long advocated that in order for California to achieve its clean energy goals, businesses and consumers must have an array of energy options from which to choose. This new report illustrates how success does not hinge on the development of any single technology but rather a portfolio approach.

    It’s easy to visualize a clean energy future if you are willing to assume that advanced, zero-emission technology will rapidly achieve low-cost, large-scale deployment. The ICCT study indicates that there’s room for all types of fuels and technologies over the next decade, and mixing and matching the most promising options can get us a long way toward our goal.

    Having a diverse mix of resources contributing to transportation maximizes the opportunities for business in the near term. Low carbon fuel policies, like California’s LCFS, allow a wide range of technologies to find fertile ground and allow innovative companies unique opportunities to commercialize their products.

    No one is yet certain what clean transportation will look like 20 years from now – will it include decentralized solutions which closely reflect local conditions or large consolidated operations which take advantage of economies of scale? The ICCT report shows that from a policy perspective, we don’t have to make a choice – different approaches can keep us on the glide path toward long term clean energy progress.

  • California Means Business

    by Susan Frank, Director, California Business Alliance
    November 10, 2014

    When we created the California Business Alliance more than five years ago, we intended to build a large network of companies that supports the state’s approach to clean energy and climate policy. We have succeeded in that task thanks to our nearly 1,300 small and mainstream businesses and business trade associations from throughout the state; yet, there still are forces in the broader business community that are resistant to sharing the positive news about California’s continued economic success.

    cmb-headerSo, we recently launched California Means Business (CMB) as a place to read the good news about California businesses – how they are growing, expanding, investing, setting the tone, and illustrating why our state is the 8th largest economy in the world. We’ve teamed up with the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) to identify and highlight California businesses that are creating jobs, growing our economy and improving the lives of Californians.

    To set the stage for our initiative, it’s worth taking a look at the dynamic and vibrant marketplace that California fosters:

    • 77% of the billion-dollar startups are based in California, predominantly in the Silicon Valley area.
    • In 2013, California was the biggest importer in the U.S.*
    • In 2013, California was the second largest exporter in the U.S.*
    • In 2013, California commodities made up over 10% of the total U.S. exports.
    • Computers & Electronics is the largest category for exports in California, valuing over $42 billion.*
    • The Agriculture industry is also in the top 5 commodity categories in California and increased over 15% from 2012-2013 (by dollar value).*

    CMB will serve as a communications hub to push out good news, like the numbers above, that illustrate California’s mainstream business success. We are using the hashtag #CAMeansBusiness through social media, and hope you will help in sharing the news about our state’s vibrant business community.

    When your company or a business you know achieves a milestone, opens a new location, hires workers, or expands to new markets, we want to know about it and share the good news that California Mean Business.

    *The information identified with an asterisk was generated from the usatrade.census.gov website.

     

     

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