New Jersey economic development officials have a busy schedule ahead of them, as they focus on how they can most effectively bolster the state’s clean tech innovation ecosystem, according to Jonathan Ratner, clean energy/green finance officer at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA).
“Where do we stand right now in clean tech innovation in the state? We do a good job, but we can make the ecosystem even stronger and do a great job,” he said.
Ratner made those remarks at a recent Cleantech & Climate Change Mitigation Meetup in Kearny, at the Kearny Point facilities of the Hugo Neu Corporation (New York), which hopes to make Kearny Point a clean tech innovation hub in the state.
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities allocated $4.25 million to the strengthening of clean tech innovation in the state, and requested the NJEDA’s assistance in programming the funds, he said.
Within the next several weeks, the NJEDA, in cooperation with the state public utilities board, will be issuing a “Request for Ideas” to the public regarding the development of a clean tech innovation ecosystem, Ratner said.
The NJEDA will also be considering measures to enhance the ecosystem, from trying to encourage better collaboration among all of the existing players and resources in the industry to strategically using government funds to support the creation of new facilities for clean tech innovators, such as incubators and prototyping facilities, he added.
“New Jersey is already a clean energy leader when it comes to implementing existing clean technologies like solar. The goal is to also be a key leader in developing the new clean tech ideas and innovations that New Jersey and the world will need to deploy in the future,” he said.
“Great work in this arena is being done at the state’s research universities and in small startup companies innovating in areas like battery chemistry, power systems management, thermal solar and wind turbine design. Now we need to take it to the next level.”
He noted that strengthening New Jersey’s role in the development of these and other new clean technologies could be a great boon for the state’s economy, helping to build our supply chain in clean technologies and to create thousands of good, well-paying jobs.
Kearny Point is participating in the NJEDA’s “NJ Ignite” program, in which startup companies in technology and the life sciences can obtain grants to cover their rent for a number of months at coworking facilities around the state that the NJEDA has approved for participation in the program.
NJEDA staff will also host a series of meetings with different participants in the state’s clean tech innovation arena, including startup companies, angel investors and venture capitalists, university researchers, real estate developers, and some of the global companies that conduct research and development in the state.
One of thesemeetings, for the global companies, will be held on December 5 at the NJEDA’s Newark office. In addition to a networking session, this meeting will feature a roundtable discussion among representatives of the global companies that have made New Jersey a center for their clean tech research and development, like Siemens (Princeton) and Evonik (Parsippany and Piscataway).
At the recent meetup gathering, Michael Meyer, Hugo Neu’s director of development at Kearny Point, noted that more meetups are needed “to connect, share ideas and discuss effective next steps to best position New Jersey as a regional leader in combating the climate crisis.”
He added, “We are excited by the partnerships we at Kearny Point have forged with organizations such as Rutgers University’s EcoComplex and EcoIgnite. Together, alongside key players such as the state’s Economic Development Authority, we will be able to continue these important conversations about how we further develop and enhance the resiliency and sustainability practices throughout New Jersey.”