Mapping California’s Worldbeating Cleantech Boom

The Golden State shines in a new global listing from the UK’s Guardian newspaper

Detail of an interactive map of the world's innovative "cleantech" companies (Image: Guardian UK)

Of all the companies around the world that the UK’s Guardian called out for its second annual Global Cleantech 100, roughly a third are based in California. The list spans technologies including energy generation, storage and efficiency; water and waste water; transportation and others.

The special report includes an interactive map of where the firms are located. It makes an interesting study by itself, showing a dense cluster of 31 firms over California, with a smattering of others around the US. About a dozen are concentrated in a few northeastern states. Four are located in China, two in India.

The California contingent is diverse, with firms such as Oakland-based BrightSource Energy, a builder of large-scale solar power plants — but also companies working on LED lighting, desalination, plastics recycling, algae-based biofuels and other technologies. Also making the list is Potter Drilling, a little start-up with fewer than 20 employees, that has created a buzz in energy circles. Google is among the funders backing Potter, which is developing a specific new technology that uses water to drill for geothermal energy.

Politicians, including former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, often like to point out that California soaks up an enormous share of the total venture capital flowing to “clean technology.” The Guardian list provides a useful glimpse of where and how some of that cash is being deployed.

Mapping California’s Worldbeating Cleantech Boom 5 January,2011Craig Miller

2 thoughts on “Mapping California’s Worldbeating Cleantech Boom”

  1. The REAL question is: Does the DOE really want to get off of foreign oil or do they want to continue giving research grants to researchers to keep them employed at universities for ANOTHER 50 YEARS?

  2. Not surprising that a third of the world’s top 100 clean tech companies are in California. Our state is known for its entrepreneurial and innovative businesses, along with leading environmental policies such as the landmark climate and clean energy law, AB 32, which voters again showed their support for by resoundly–by 21 points–defeating Prop. 23 in November .

    Environmental Defense Fund has been studying and highlighting California’s growing green economy. We recently updated our interactive map of more than 3,500 businesses and workplaces offering a range of products and services and using sustainable business practices. To see the map and to add your business–or patronize ones already on the list–visit

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Craig Miller

Craig is a former KQED Science editor, specializing in weather, climate, water & energy issues, with a little seismology thrown in just to shake things up. Prior to that, he launched and led the station's award-winning multimedia project, Climate Watch. Craig is also an accomplished writer/producer of television documentaries, with a focus on natural resource issues.

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