San Diego’s Cleantech Cluster Looks to Canada & Other International Partners for Collaboration

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focus in on something and to grow dramatically from the years when San Diego was focused primarily on military and defense to a very diverse economy,” Fransen says. “Biotechnology, IT, communications, aerospace, and cleantech are all going on here.”

Fransen highlighted a number of Canadian-San Diego initiatives, including:

—The Toronto Stock Exchange has been extremely active in the San Diego market, and is encouraging cleantech companies to go public on the Toronto exchange by emphasizing its expertise in cleantech financing and related issues. The TSX has held cleantech roadshows in San Diego for the last 3 years.

—Canadian cleantech and renewable energy companies such as Morgan Solar, H2O Innovation, and Capital Power have established subsidiaries in San Diego, at least partly to get access to employees in this area with specialized skills.

—San Diego-based cleantech startups like EnerSysNet and ENRQI have established Canadian subsidiaries, at least partly to gain access to the $1.1 billion the Canadian government has allocated to its Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), which provides supplementary funding to cleantech startups that have secured other sources of funding.

—Established the Canada California Strategic Innovation Partnership to connect research scientists on both sides of the border in areas such as information technology, communications, cleantech, and life sciences. “CCSIP is essentially a catalyst to research relationships in areas that we think have commercializable technology potential,” Fransen says.

—The San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, a consortium of academic and industrial scientists working to commercialize algal biofuels and industrial algal biotechnologies met with Canada’s National Research Council, Institute for Marine Biology to explore possibilities of working together on algae research.

—-Seven Canadian companies developing cleantech and renewable energy technologies participated in the International Cleantech Showcase Tuesday evening at USD’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.

“Cleantech for us is just one element in a much broader thrust,” Fransen says, noting that California alone accounts for some $30 billion worth of trade in everything from apples and automobiles to semiconductors and zero-emission control equipment. “But it’s a very significant priority for me.”

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • Karen Hutchens

    Excellent and very comprehensive article,

  • What a great program and example for other cities. San Diego just keeps getting better! If only housing were a little cheaper there, I’d move in a heart beat. Clean, beautiful city with perfect weather!