Clean Edge’s recently released 2014 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index finds the U.S. clean-tech market making impressive strides in many areas. According to this year’s Index, eleven states generated more than 10 percent of their electricity from clean-energy sources (not including hydro) in 2013, with two, Iowa and South Dakota, exceeding 25 percent. At least eight states now have more than 50 percent smart-meter market penetration, with California topping 70 percent. Registrations for all-electric vehicles, led by the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt , more than doubled between the 2013 and 2014 indexes, to nearly 220,000 cumulative registrations nationwide. And 14 states — among them Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania — are each now home to more than 500 LEED-certified commercial green building projects.
On the policy front, leading states and metro areas continue to make climate action and clean-energy expansion a priority. Nearly 30 states offer some form of property assessed clean energy (PACE) legislation, 19 have specific greenhouse gas reduction targets, and 10 operate or are members of active cap-and-trade carbon markets. Net-zero or near-zero energy mandates for buildings, green banks and other effective financing mechanisms, and the nation’s first energy-storage mandate in California are just a few policies implemented in the last 12 months that will drive the future clean-tech growth tracked by the Leadership Index.
California continues to dominate clean-tech leadership in both the State and Metro Index. The Golden State leads our state rankings for the fifth consecutive year, and also claims the top three metro areas (San Francisco, San Jose, and San Diego), with Sacramento and Los Angeles giving it five of the top seven metros. Massachusetts and Oregon repeated their respective #2 and #3 State Index rankings from the previous year, each placing their largest cities, #6 Boston and #4 Portland, in the Metro Index top 10. Fourth-place Colorado is the best-performing non-coastal state — continuing to show that a region with substantial fossil-fuel resources can also lead in clean tech — with Denver also ranking #10 in the Metro Index. Two New England states, Vermont and Connecticut, jumped into the State Index top 10 this year, while Hawaii and Minnesota dropped out.