OK, my headline might be stretching the point. But it might not.
Look what is coalescing in Berkeley:
- Energy Biosciences Institute
- Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory
- University of California Energy Institute (ugliest website ever for a serious project)
- The Energy Institute at Haas (new this week)
- A bewildering array of energy research at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (there’s work on solar and energy efficiency, and climate change and environmental science)
- Joint BioEnergy Institute (next door in Emeryville, but I think it should count)
I suspect there are other initiatives I’ve left out.
Then there’s the policy leadership shown by the City of Berkeley with its Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST). Vice-president Joe Biden recently launched a report that urges wholesale adoption of a Berkeley-style financing program for solar. Add to that the fact that Bay Area venture capitalists are the source for the bulk of start-up cleantech investments globally.
I can’t think of a more natural home for such pioneering work. It offers the prospect of a very exciting future for Berkeley, particularly if the city can find ways to welcome the entrepreneurs that are certain to emerge from the research over time.
Photo by Kevin T Houle from Flickr