Sunday, November 08, 2009

New Bedford emerging as cleantech leader

November 08, 2009 12:00 AM

NEW BEDFORD — Efforts by city officials to position the city as a "cleantech" hub have started to pay off, and many industry experts say the city could see a burst of economic activity over the next several years.

"Is there going to be a 1,500-person, thin-film manufacturing facility in New Bedford tomorrow? No," said John DeVillars, a partner at Blue Wave Strategies, an advisory company to renewable energy projects.

"Can New Bedford, over the course of several years, develop a cleantech economy that employs several thousand of its citizens?" he asked. "I believe it can."

The city first zeroed in on the economic potential of the cleantech industry several years ago, said Matthew Morrissey, executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council.

Cleantech is a broad term that covers a range of emerging industries and technologies related to alternative or renewable energy and energy efficiency.

"We know that our traditional manufacturing base will continue to decline," Morrissey said. "We are acting right now to stem those losses we know are coming."

Cleantech was one of several industries city officials identified that matched up well with New Bedford's assets, including its geographic location and its existing work force, and that had considerable support from private investors and the government, according to Morrissey. More here.

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