Market News

 July 02, 2009
London looks to U.S. cleantech firms

 In may be years away, but London is already moving full-steam ahead preparing for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. And in its efforts make the event the most sustainable Olympic event to date, the city is reaching out to foreign businesses.

One firm setting out to connect with U.S. companies is Think London, a foreign direct investment agency. It recently set out on a tour of the United States, including a stop in San Francisco to investigate cleantech opportunities.

There are more than 75,000 contracts directly associated with the games, which are generating $15 billion to $20 billion in business opportunities, says Paul Bromelow, Think London's global sales director. There are opportunities in waste reduction and recycling, renewable power sources and lighting, among others.

But the city, which is home to more than 7.5 million people, is also looking to the games to fuel its long-term vision of becoming a center for sustainable business. "The Olympic Games are acting as an incredible catalyst for business interest...an opportunity to engage" Bromelow says. But the city's efforts go much deeper.

As part of its mission, London has set a goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2025. To do so, its in the process of establishing a London Green Fund, a pool of public and private money to fund an expected $32.6 billion in emission-reduction projects concentrated in four main areas: energy-efficiency retrofits for public and private buildings; transportation; waste reduction; and decentralized energy production, including deriving a quarter of the city's power from combined heat and power sources by 2025, says Padmesh Shukla head of finance for the London mayor's office.

There will likely be a place in London's plan for West Coast cleantech companies, as the city seeks out top innovators. "We want to use the best talent and technology," Shukla says.