Despite the NIMBYs and other clean energy Luddites, Massachusetts is ranked second in the nation behind only California for its commitment to clean energy technology, according to an annual index released Tuesday.
The report, published by Clean Edge Inc, with The Energy Foundation and Wells Fargo, said Massachusetts is one of only a few states to consistently compete with California, showing strong leadership in early-stage technology development and an ability to attract capital.
Massachusetts eclipsed Oregon for the first time since Clean Edge started tracking state activity four years ago.
Gov. Patrick, Jim Gordon statements
“Massachusetts has become a premier destination for clean energy innovation and investment because we are shaping that future rather than just waiting for it to happen,” Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement. “There is more to do, and now is no time to let up. In order to be winners in the 21st century, we must increase the pace of innovation and deepen our commitment to being good stewards of both our environment and our economy.”
Jim Gordon, President of Cape Wind, said, "This ranking validates that Massachusetts is on the right track to create jobs and compete successfully on the world stage by tapping innovation to develop clean energy industries and to build clean energy projects here. Cape Wind looks forward to helping Massachusetts eventually overtake California in getting ranked first in this clean energy index by launching the U.S. offshore wind industry here with our 468 megawatt project offshore Massachusetts."
Massachusetts received a score of 77.8 topping third place Oregon by five points, but still trailing California, which registered 91.7 points. The scale ranked states based on a variety of factors relating to technology, public policy and financial and human capital.
The index also placed Boston as the 10th best city for clean technology innovation and expansion.
Venture capital investments in Massachusetts in 2012 per capita topped those in California, and interest in the clean technology industry from the state’s renowned universities gave the surveyors confidence that Massachusetts would remain “an integral clean-tech innovation hub for years to come.”
New York and Colorado rounded out the top five states in the survey.
Massachusetts topped the nation in the policy category, buoyed by strong regulations and mandates on carbon emissions and incentives for installing and developing clean and efficient energy sources and buildings.
State is strongest in venture capital performance
The state also had the strongest venture capital performance in 2012 of any other state, attracting $504.7 million through 40 deals for per capita investment of $75.94. California ranked second with $58.51 per capita in venture capital investments in 2012.
“2012 was a rough year for clean-energy venture capital, with funding down 26 percent nationwide from the prior year, but Massachusetts weathered the storm better than most states to notch the first-place score of 100 in the Financial Capital subcategory,” the report stated.
Massachusetts ranked eighth overall for clean energy patents with 46 total patents awarded in 2012, or 6.9 patents per 1 million people. And the state finished 14th for technology, including ninth place for installed solar capacity, seventh place for registered electric hybrid vehicles, and sixth for LEED building deployment.
“Under Governor Patrick’s leadership, the Commonwealth has become a national leader in clean energy and energy efficiency,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan said in a statement. “We are cutting greenhouse gas emissions, reducing energy costs for businesses and homeowners, and creating thousands of jobs.”
5,000 clean energy companies do business here, employ nearly 72,000 workers
According to the administration, 5,000 clean energy companies do business in Massachusetts employing nearly 72,000 workers. Clean energy jobs in Massachusetts rose by 11.2 percent from 2011 to 2012.
Boston was the only state in the Northeast to crack the top 10 metro areas for clean technology, dropping one position from last year’s survey to tenth place on a list topped by San Francisco.
The report called Boston a “hub” for investment, innovation and a strong workforce, trailing only San Jose and San Francisco in those scoring categories.
“Thanks to its world-class research bona fides from MIT and many other universities, and a strong VC-fueled technology culture, Boston remains the East Coast capital of clean-tech entrepreneurship,” the report said.