In the past few years I saw a lot of PR agencies launching a Clean Tech Practice. In the interest of full disclosure, I was very tempted to do the same. I am passionate about tech and a big fan of everything green (and I am not even Irish!)
It was during a conversation with a major clean tech company that I understood that Clean Tech is just a label, not where “clean” tech companies should play nor should position themselves. It’s about Energy, or better yet about Renewable Energies and how new technologies can find new solutions to old problems (urgently).
At that point a light bulb went on (and it was a fluorescent bulb!) — As Ogilvy PR, we have a lot of expertise in green IT (from data centers to semiconductors), and we do have a lot of expertise in traditional energy and renewable energies — so the easy part was to combine our existing strengths in both public affairs and technology PR. Et voila! Suddenly we had something the market was craving for. An agency with deep knowledge of who influences and decides public policy and how to reach them with politically effective communications, while offering a broader perspective into technology and business-to-business PR that looks beyond product public relations.
It’s not a new practice, it’s not a new group, it’s just the combination of expertise we already have within our firm. Now available to our clients. Don’t just call it Clean Tech.
As one who considers himself fairly well read on the subject of green, I was amazed as to how much more I learned from talking to people in the industry.
The event drew 60 professionals, all from different segments of the local renewable energy market in the Denver Metro area. And from the robust attendance and buzz in the room, it would appear that Denver is a hotbed for this industry and that there’s a lot of excitement about the emerging clean-tech boom.
I chatted with folks of some of the usual suspects in clean tech – wind power and solar PV manufacturers and installers like Clipper Wind and Namaste Solar but also learned about a new emerging part of the industry much lower down on the hype curve – algae biofuels.
While I certainly left the event much more informed about important industry legislation like the proposed Lieberman Warner Climate Security Act, I also couldn’t help but feel some déjà vu, like perhaps this could be the dot com boom all over again.
Much like during the dot com boom, there are countless small local players offering similar services. Will they all survive, consolidate or is there enough of a market to sustain all of them? And while my train of thought started to move down the path of – have I not seen this before, really, how many pet e-commerce sites do you need, it was suddenly brought back to positivity by a conversation I had with an exec from Vibrant Solar.
While some in the media are already saying that clean-tech is a boom ready to bust, the industry guys say this boom is just getting started – and it will go on indefinitely.
The chief reason – it’s all about the money. The fact is, a very small percentage of Americans will go green because it feels right. We live in a capitalist society where money talks above all else. And every day it makes more and more fiscal sense to purchase solar panels by tapping into the growing list of government rebates, to get rid of your SUV and bike to work and for the utilities to build or lease wind farms.
So although I left the event perhaps with some of the clean-tech kool-aid aftertaste, once it wore off, I still felt myself still thinking that this is just the beginning…
So I’d like to hear what you think, is clean-tech just a boom and a fad or do you think it’s hear to stay?