Let’s give a hearty welcome to 2013 – a new year of promise for the cleantech community.  And, as executive director of CCIA, I want to give a hearty “thank you” to CCIA’s members and sponsors for their continued encouragement and engagement during the past year.  Through the dearth of early stage investment capital, economic uncertainty, and challenging (to say the least) political environment in 2012, through wise use, CCIA was able to continue its mission and impact because of our community’s generous and sustained support.

Even with pretty strong headwinds this past year, CCIA met its objectives to further establish Colorado as a world leader in clean technology by providing representation and advocacy, a unified voice, relevant programming and capacity development. Here are a few highlights:

Policy

CCIA’s policy impact increased exponentially with the hiring of Christopher Votoupal to serve as our deputy director and in-house lobbyist.  With direction from CCIA’s policy committee and help from contract lobbyist Matt Cheroutes, we were able to pass HB 1258 – the only cleantech bill that passed during the legislative session.   HB 1258 clarifies that if a business places an electric vehicle charging station or natural gas fueling station on their property and offers this to their customers, they are not regulated by the PUC.  This places natural gas and electricity for alternative fuel vehicles on par with gasoline and diesel in the marketplace.  In addition, the bill clarifies that if a business has renewable energy on their property and also an electric vehicle charging station they will not be regulated by the PUC.  HB 1258 is considered model legislation that will be used across the country and on May 3, 2012 Governor Hickenlooper signed it into law.

Capacity Development

In  2012, CCIA met one of the objectives identified in the 2010 Colorado Cleantech Action Plan – to increase the number of cleantech executives prepared to found and grow cleantech companies.  CCIA raised funding for the program, hired staff and stood-up the Cleantech Fellows Institute, a first in the nation cleantech-focused program educating experienced executives from other industry backgrounds.  The program promotes new ventures, creates jobs and grows the cleantech industry.  On January 9, 2013, the Cleantech Fellows Institute graduated five fellows who are founding companies focused on energy storage, energy and water efficient greenhouses, vehicle-based weather data transmission, atmospheric water collection and algae production.  Plans are under way for the 2013 program at this time, so please spread the word.  www.CleantechFellows.com

Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) Grant

In  the first year of the AEE partnership, CCIA participated in several national policy events including a cleantech fly-in to Washington DC during the lame duck session and a work session during the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Chicago.  This grant also helped provide seed funding for the inaugural year of the Cleantech Fellows Institute.

CCIA Foundation

In order to expand CCIA’s fundraising capacity and impact our public purpose, CCIA created a Foundation (CCIAF) that received 501c3 tax exempt status in 2012.  This will allow CCIAF to accept donations that are fully tax deductible in order to fulfill the mission of CCIA.  If your company has a foundation, we would like to explore potential funding strategies with you.

We look forward to supporting the success of Colorado’s cleantech community in 2013.  We’re working on some exciting legislative activities, planning for the 2013 Fellows Institute is underway and we’ll bring cleantech programs and events to the community throughout the year.  It’s going to be a great year for Colorado cleantech!