LA’s Cleantech Incubator Launches

The City of Los Angeles has embarked on an ambitious redevelopment effort between downtown and the concrete embankment of the Los Angeles River that city planners have dubbed the Cleantech Corridor.  The area is bounded by 4th Street, Washington Blvd on the south, the river on the east and Alameda on the west.  This area overlaps in part the Arts District – an area of warehouses and light manufacturing facilities that are being slowly renovated into residential space, restaurants, retail and other urban amenities.  Two cleantech facilities are planned – the 30,000 sq. ft. La Kretz Innovation Campus (LACI) to open in 2013 and in the near future a cleantech manufacturing facility to be built on a  20 acre brownfield site at the south end of the corridor.  A rendering of the La Kretz Innovation Campus is shown below.

The launch last night was a festive event in which about 200 entrepreneurs, planners, greentech executives, city officials, USC, UCLA, Caltech, sponsors, cleantech company exhibitors and local residents at the temporary facilities just north of the new campus which is under construction. 

The Executive Director of LACI, Fred Walti, opened the event by giving his goal of making the incubator the global leader of cleantech innovation and especially how these solutions are applied in major urban areas.   Mayor Villaraigosa lauded the efforts of the city to aggressively pursue green/clean technologies, innovations and efficiency measures.  He indicated that LA was a global leader in LED street lighting, runs the cleanest large urban port in the world and is now generating 20+% of the city’s energy from renewable sources.  He thanked the La Kretz for their generous $3.5M gift to make the LACI a reality.  LADWP  General Manager Ronald O. Nichols talk about their efforts to supply the city with renewable energy and their multifaceted programs to reduce greenhouse gases.  LADWP and LA Community Redevelopment Agency are also a major funders of the LA Kretz campus.

The first companies to use the facilities were also introduced – Green LAVA’s own Neal Roche, CEO of Gridtest Systems presented some thoughts about the new facility and why he decided to be among the first tenants.  This has been a busy month for Gridtest and Neal’s team as they were also recent winners at the Cleantech Open Semifinal Competition.  Gridtest has developed testing and measurement instruments for manufacturers, installers and operators of EV chargers. 

It was a very good evening for the soon to be LACI,  the city of Los Angeles and the future of urban oriented clean tech solutions.  The city and the Mayor should be recognized for their contribution to these aggressive efforts at making the city a leader in the promotion and adoption of clean technologies.