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First National Cleantech Open Conference a Huge Success

Posted by at 10:05 AM, 07/24/2010

The first annual National Cleantech Open Conference saw 46 speakers, three keynote addresses, six panel sessions and more than 600 attendees.

Thursday, July 22, 2010, saw the arrival of Under Secretary of Energy, Dr. Kristina Johnson, at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose.  Following some opening remarks by Cleantech Open Executive Director, Rex Northen, Dr. Johnson addressed the crowd of entrepreneurs, media, business professionals and cleantech investors.  She spoke of the importance of innovation within the cleantech industry, and announced a Department of Energy grant of $122 million over five years to scientists working to mimic plant photosynthesis.  The captivated crowd applauded this important announcement.  Read more here.

Two morning panels were led by Marc Gottschalk of Proterra, who led a discussion on the future of the transportation industry, and Susan Preston of CalCEF Clean Energy Fund, who facilitated a discussion on the importance of building a more cohesive grid, and what it will take to achieve the goal.

conference panel

The luncheon keynote, Jonathan Ortmans, represented the Kauffman Foundation and Global Entrepreneurship Week.  The Cleantech Open and the Kauffman Foundation officially launched the second annual Global Cleantech Open Ideas Competition, with entries due by October 15.  Find more details and enter here:

The afternoon sessions saw a policy discussion regarding solar and the growth of other renewable energy sources, while in the other panel Allan DeLorme of Environ led a lively discussion of the current state of water, who deserve the right to it, and how much water should cost.  Two other lively panels dealt with how to build out urban areas in a green fashion, and what’s stopping energy efficiency from ramping up.

The afternoon culminated in a keynote from Ron Gonen, founder of RecycleBank, who told his story of entrepreneurship and challenges he faced.

panel attendees

Throughout the day, Conference attendees visited almost 100 exhibitor booths to see the growth of the Cleantech Open Alumni companies, and check out the 2010 semifinalist companies’ technologies.  Sponsor companies, Chevron, Kauffman Foundation, Autodesk, Faegre & Benson, Reed Smith, Citi and more also answered questions about their partnerships with the Cleantech Open.

The extraordinary day ended with a lively reception of wine and hors d’oeuvres.  Many thanks to those who made the entire event possible, including our sponsors, all the incredible volunteers, and Helen Lambert, our Operations Manager.  And of course, thanks to all the attendees for making the event such a huge success.

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