T3 is All Over CleanTech

May 2011
T3 Advisors

T3 attended two Cleantech industry events in Boston on April 29th. MassEcon’s meeting was held at DLA Piper’s office in Boston, and the Mass High Tech’s Clean Energy Forum held at the Boston Seaport Hotel.

MassEcon

The MassEcon panel provided an overview of the Renewable Energy Sector in Massachusetts. Panel members included:

We all enjoyed a lively discussion around the future of the cleantech industry in Massachusetts. Key points made by panelists included the following:

  • A123 was pleased with support from Michigan to locate two large battery manufacturing plants there.  But A123 remains committed to Massachusetts and recently completed its new headquarters in Waltham, MA.
  • Qteros continues to expand in the state.  Hager spoke eloquently about the US dependence on foreign oil and the opportunities to convert agricultural waste into alternative energy.  She also noted that Qteros will try and go public in next two years
  • Pat Cloney answered questions about Massachusetts well publicized investment in Evergreen Solar only to have the company move out of the state.  Cloney said the untold story was the actual positive returns on the states original investments ie “don’t believe everything that you read in the papers”.
  • Gregg Dixon of Enernoc spoke passionately about EnerNOCs future.   Dixon spoke how most US companies “fly blind about their own energy use”.

Mass High Tech

The Mass High Tech Clean Energy Forum focused on how behavior dictates energy efficiency.

Chuck McDermott, General Partner at Rockport Capital kicked off the event by giving an overview of cleantech investments in history, and gave an optimistic perspective citing an increase in Cleantech IPO activity over the next year.  An astonishing point he brought to light was of the 6.8 Billion people on the planet, only HALF are on the grid (!) so what does that mean as the middle-class and international economies grow? How do we meet another 3.4 Billion people’s energy needs? Hopefully with more CleanTech!!!

The event continued with a panel discussion amongst:

Susan Hunt provided a consumer perspective and discussed how adoption of energy efficiency has a lot to do with people’s access to hearing and seeing what energy efficiency technology is being adopted by friends and neighbors.  Her philosophy made me think we could start seeing Groupons for solar panels or have a “Biggest Loser” competition for who can cut the most energy.

Briana Kane made some excellent points about how most consumers don’t even realize the energy savings and services that are available to them. I for one have not had an energy audit and this panel made me realize I can not only have the audit done for free but also obtain insulation and heating benefits and services for free!

At the end of the day the panelists agreed that in order for Cleantech to truly move forward, it’s the behavior of the people who use it that will dictate Cleantech’s success.