Four Oregon companies among cleantech up-and-comers
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
Christina Williams is the editor of Sustainable Business Oregon.
The AlwaysOn GoingGreen 200 roster came out this week. It's an annual who's-who list of cleantech industry darlings as deemed by an organization created by Tony Perkins, who presided over the Web tech boom in such roles as editor-in-chief of Red Herring magazine and CEO of Upside Media.
AlwaysOn, whose tagline is "networking the global Silicon Valley," is mainly a list and events producer. The GoingGreen list is a prelude to a VC confab, being held this year in late September at San Francisco's City Hall.
Four Oregon companies will be invited to join the party: waste-to-fuel technology company Agilyx, solar power optimizer Azuray Technologies, electric motorcycle company Brammo and troubled nuclear startup NuScale Power Inc.
Two other venture-backed companies with Oregon ties also made the list. They include Solexant, whose Oregon state loan guarantee expired this summer calling into question its plans to build a $200 million manufacturing plant in Gresham and ZeaChem Inc. of Lakewood, Colo., which is finishing construction of its 250,000 gallon-per-year demonstration plant in Boardman.
The AlwaysOn list — no surprise — is dominated by Silicon Valley companies. I wondered why California's much-hyped Bloom Energy was on the list while fellow fuel cell startup Hillsboro-based ClearEdge Power was not. And why Solexant, but not SoloPower Inc., which is moving forward with its plans to build a thin-film solar manufacturing plant in Portland, made the list? Actually, I have a theory on that one. SoloPower, like the now-fallen Solyndra, is counting on a federal loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. Solyndra has become an anathema, so maybe the powers that be at AlwaysOn thought it prudent to leave SoloPower off the list.
But I also wonder how much value the GoingGreen 200 actually offers? Does it matter that Oregon's not better represented on the list? Are there other cleantech startups in Oregon that should have been there? I would love to hear your thoughts.
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