Clean tech hopes Obama will bring jobs

November 6, 2008 11:56:14 PM PST
The Bay Area's clean-tech industry is banking on Obama. The hope is that his administration will do everything possible to help green businesses grow. Some of the rising stars gathered in San Francisco to show off their latest innovations and they have high hopes despite the economy.

There is a kitchen countertop is made mostly of recycled glass. It costs about the same as mid-range granite, but it uses only 30 percent of the C02 to make it. Los Altos-based Bottlestone got an award for its innovative product.

"It's actually a processor in San Leandro that we get our glass from, but that processor gets their glass from all the recycling centers in the Bay Area," said Michael Looney, the Bottlestone president and CEO.

In all, 40 clean tech companies gathered in San Francisco for the Clean Tech Open -- displaying what they consider to be the next big thing in clean energy. Daly City-based S3 showed off its water efficient shower system. With a flip of a switch, water is diverted from the showerhead to eight individual sprays -- sprays that keep you warm by using a lot less water.

"These sprays give you a warm, hydrating mist while you're shampooing, lathering whatever," said Michelle Miller, the S3 founder.

The big question though is if these products make it in these tough economic times? San Jose city leaders are doing everything they can to help. Their plan is to create 25,000 clean-tech jobs over the next 15 years. Thursday night, Mayor Chuck Reed announced San Jose is giving a year's free rent to a dozen clean-tech companies.

"We want them to stay here and grow here. And the city of San Jose is going to do its part to help make it possible, so that they succeed right here in Silicon Valley," said Mayor Reed.

Clean tech companies are also optimistic because of the incoming administration. President-elect Obama has said clean energy will be a priority.

"The federal government will probably need to play a major role in helping to drive parts of the economy where it feels is a lot of room for growth and where long term is going to put the U.S. in the best economic standing and clearly clean tech is one of those areas," said Michael Santullo, co-founder of the California Clean Tech Open.

It's an outlook that is certainly driving these innovators to keep plugging away, hopeful their product will rise above the struggling economy.


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