In 2010, Syracuse, New York’s Cleantech Center was listed as one of the top ten cleantech clusters around the world. The center of upstate New York, Syracuse has been looked at as a leader in clean technologies for the entire New York State. Syracuse fosters innovation, research, development, and implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and technologies.
1) Recipient of a Smarter Cities Challenge Grant. Syracuse was listed as one of 24 cities worldwide, one of only eight in the United States, to receive a Smarter Cities Challenge Grant. It was designed by IBM. This grant will provide Syracuse with access to top experts at IBM to analyze and provide recommendations as toe ways the city can become more sustainable. The experts will work with Syracuse’s Office of Sustainability to assist in the development of a software-based planning tool to aid with planning of land use and vacant property redevelopment. “We selected these cities because of their commitment to the use of data to make better decisions, and for their desire to explore and act on smarter solutions to their most pressing concerns,” said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and President of IBM’s Foundation. “The cities we picked are eager to implement programs that tangibly improve the quality of life in their areas, and to create roadmaps for other cities to follow. The stakes have never been greater but we’re excited at the prospect of helping cities tackle the most pressing challenges of our time.”
2) Clean Energy Business Incubator Program. The CleanTech Center has one of the leading clean energy business incubators in the country. It is the belief of Syracuse clean energy companies and investors that innovation starts with the development of a good plan. The incubator provides support to entrepreneurs and start-up companies involved in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Working alongside the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the CleanTech Center’s incubator program offers a range of services to aid the development of a business, early stage research and development, business growth, expansion, and manufacturing. Hands-on support is provided and connections are created to increase growth and get products to the market.
3) Large Number of Available Research Institutions. There is a large number of research institutions within Syracuse that assist in the research and development of clean technologies. This includes the SUNY ESF Center for Sustainable and Renewable Energy, CASE Center at Syracuse University, and the CNY Biotechnology Research Center.
4) Syracuse Center for Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems. The Syracuse Center for Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems looks to advance the production of energy and environment innovations to assist with creating a sustainable future, improving human health, productivity, and security. The center has numerous research and development laboratories, including the Willis H. Carrier Total Indoor Environmental Quality Lab, the Urban Ecosystem Observatory, the Biofuels R&D Laboratory, and The Living Roof. The center also has a number of commercialization, outreach, and green building projects as well.
5) CleanTech Center one of Best Funded Clean Technology Centers in the Country. The cleantech cluster in Syracuse is possibly one of the most well-funded cleantech initiatives in the United States. Through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, funding is optimally provided to assist innovative energy solutions that will not only improve the local economy, but the state, national, and international economy as well. through NYSERDA, a multitude of clean energy programs are funded, such as ones that bolster economic development, innovative research and development, and the Business Partners Program, which aids in providing improvements to energy efficiency services and visibility of energy efficient products.
6) Entrepreneurs Can Find Success in Syracuse. Many of today’s big name cleantech companies, including Earthsense and MicroGen Systems, two companies involved in the cleantech sector, have found success in Syracuse. Syracuse has had a long-standing tradition of creating connections between cleantech entrepreneurs and academic resources, investors, and all the necessary information necessary to become a successful business within the cleantech sector. Currently, over 150 entrepreneurs have been assisted by Syracuse.
7) Large Number of International Businesses Move to Syracuse’s Cleantech Industry. In early 2011, Toronto-based ProTerra LED and Germany’s SunEnergy Europe, all created their United States headquarters in Syracuse’s Tech Garden. This is not a new concept. Many international companies have set up shop in Syracuse for a number of reasons, including the large skilled workforce available, its cleantech cluster, large number of research and development institutions, clean energy technology development leadership, and large available supply chain.
8 ) Numerous Companies Building the “Green Innovation Economy.” Syracuse has been very instrumental in offering the tools necessary to produce a sustainable energy future, not just for New York or the United States, but for the world as well. Syracuse’s “Green Innovation Economy” includes a large number of diverse businesses all within the clean technology sector. A large number of companies all bring something to the table in terms of renewable energy and energy efficiency, including Greenview Energy Management Systems, which locates opportunities in energy conservation, and Antek, a manufacturing company of high efficiency solar cells.
9) Winner of 2010 Green Plus North American Sustainable Enterprise Award. Syracuse’s CleanTech Center’s business incubator program, in 2010, was recognized for its number of accomplishments by the Institute of Sustainable Development. It was awarded the Green Plus North American Sustainable Enterprise Award for its assistance with over 100 Greentech companies and providing them with economic benefits and good sustainable business practices. It is the second award the center won for its continuing work toward growing the economy of Central New York.
10) Home of One of the World’s Greenest Data Centers. In 2010, Syracuse University and IBM created the Green Data Center, which demonstrated innovations in advanced energy efficient information technology as well as building systems. It was created to use approximately 50 percent less energy than most data centers currently in operation, giving it the title of one of the greenest computer centers around the globe. It uses on-site power generation systems, for heating, cooling, and electricity, and it includes IBM’s latest technologies in energy efficient servers, system management software, and computer-cooling technology. It was built in accordance to LEED “Green Building” Principles.
Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. . He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org