Announcing Xconomy’s Forum on March 26: The Rise of Cleantech in the Northwest

2/17/09Follow @gthuang

[Updated Feb. 18 with newly confirmed panelist Linden Rhoads of UW TechTransfer:]
Cleantech and renewable energy are rare examples of fast-growing areas of investment and entrepreneurial activity—but the Northwest is behind the curve in these emerging arenas compared to Silicon Valley, New England, and some other parts of the country. The Northwest, however, is developing nearly unrivaled expertise in key areas like the intersection of cleantech and information technology. Whether it’s energy efficiency, green buildings, or smart-grid infrastructure, the tools and technologies coming out of this sector will go a long way toward determining our region’s growth and competitiveness. Xconomy Seattle has recently reported on several efforts to build regional leadership in cleantech, such as a Washington state-appointed task force and a national R&D network.

So what are the most promising areas of commercialization in cleantech and computing, and how big are the opportunities? Are other areas of the energy economy (e.g., biofuels, solar) also poised for growth that the region can take advantage of? What kinds of companies are VCs and investors looking to fund? And what should business and policy leaders in the Northwest do to allocate resources, maximize competitive advantages, and accelerate economic growth?

We will pose these questions, and more, to some of the world’s leading authorities at an upcoming Xconomy Forum on The Rise of Cleantech in the Northwest. This evening panel discussion and networking event will take place from 6 to 8:30 pm on March 26, at the law firm K&L Gates in downtown Seattle. The event is sponsored by Climate Solutions, an environmental nonprofit, and will bring leaders in energy, technology, finance, and policy together with C-level executives, venture capitalists, angel investors, entrepreneurs, and other leaders in the innovation community.

Now, a bit about our distinguished panelists:

Michael Butler, chairman and CEO of Seattle-based Cascadia Capital, brings a wealth of experience in cleantech finance and investment banking. Most recently, he spoke with Xconomy about the need for the Northwest to get organized around its strengths in alternative energy and software, and the importance of public- and private-sector partnerships.

Jesse Berst, managing director of Redmond, WA-based Global Smart Energy, will speak about why the U.S. needs a smart energy grid, what it will take to achieve that goal, and how the Northwest—and the nation—will fare in the emerging “electricity economy.”

Jeremy Jaech, CEO of Seattle-based Verdiem, will talk about the convergence of energy innovation and information technology in the current economic climate. The co-founder of Aldus and Visio will discuss business opportunities in software-meets-cleantech, as well as the competitive strengths of the Northwest and how they can be maximized.

Mark Aggar, director of environmental technology strategy at Microsoft, will talk about sustainable computing and the role of big companies in advancing green IT, power management, and environmental policy.

Linden Rhoads, vice provost, UW TechTransfer, will discuss the role of research, startups, and venture capital in the cleantech revolution. She recently spoke with Xconomy about VCs and tech transfer.

The event will begin with registration at 6 pm, with the panel to follow 30 minutes later, and plenty of time left at the end for networking. You can find details about how to register here. We hope you will join us, and look forward to seeing you there.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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  • sherry

    There could be no better investment in America than to invest in America becoming energy independent! We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources. Create cheap clean energy, new badly needed green jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. The cost of fuel effects every facet of consumer goods from production to shipping costs. After a brief reprieve gas is inching back up. OPEC will continue to cut production until they achieve their desired 80-100. per barrel. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and SUV’s instead had plug-in electric drive trains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota. There is a really good new book out by Jeff Wilson called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now.