On the heels of the nation’s first Smart Cities Week in Washington, D.C., national experts and local leaders from both the public and private sectors came together to identify opportunities to advance the deployment of smart, clean technology in metropolitan Washington. The October 5, 2015 Clean Tech Leadership Forum held at the Council of Governments (COG) laid the groundwork for mobilizing the region’s clean tech economy by exploring ways to transform the market and advance smart public policy.
Cleantech, also referred to as clean technology or greentech, are emerging technologies relating to clean energy, environmental, or sustainable products and services. Local governments are increasingly exploring clean tech applications for their communities to help facilitate convenient, healthy, and safe urban services.
The Clean Tech Leadership Forum sparked a dialogue about developing advanced solutions to address community needs in the region. The partners on this event – D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility, Maryland Clean Energy Center, Northern Virginia Regional Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and COG - will continue to work together to identify opportunities to build capability, collaborate, and accelerate solutions.
Arriving on a Riide electric bike to the forum, Tommy Wells, Director of the Department of Energy and Environment, led by example.
“Government entities need to be entrepreneurial and adaptable with these pioneering technologies,” said Wells. “The degree to which these emerging efficiencies are pushing cities is monumental.”
According to Joshua Green of Clean Tech Open, the clean tech industry will need capital and customers to thrive. Local government can play a role in this by providing underutilized or extra property to serve as a test bed for emerging technologies. For instance, Montgomery County established the Thingstitute, a living laboratory that provides a test bed for start-ups, established companies, and research institutions to work together to build technology solutions that can be tested and delivered to vulnerable populations through the County’s Safe Community Alert Network project. The County provides co-working space for the Thingstitute in Rockville at the Red Brick Court House.
Scott Johnstone, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, described what will be needed in the region moving forward: “We know what to do - it’s a question of will. We must address climate change from a policy perspective, climate perspective and justice perspective and we need to use clean tech as an essential tool to meet those objectives.”
A special thanks to Green Brilliance and Siemens for sponsoring the Clean Tech Leadership Forum.