April 1st, 2011

GLD Set to Explore European Cleantech Clusters


For the next few months, I will be working remotely and living in Europe. I’ll be starting my journey in Germany and will go from there. My goal is to visit family but also to explore and understand the current drivers, players, and state of the cleantech industry across Europe. For those interested, I’ll be keeping a (professional) log of my journey on Green Light Distrikt.

I know the Boston and industry in the U.S. very well but I want to understand the successes and challenges facing the European cleantech industry. Secondly, I’m looking to identifying opportunities for collaboration (insert business opportunities) between U.S and European cleantech firms that have not yet been addressed my large multinational corporations. I will accomplish this goal by meeting with local experts and doing short interviews that I will publish in various media outlets. Lastly, I hope to connect with some young professionals that can help set up GLD clusters in their cities. For specific details on the tour and my trip read more below.

As always I’m interested to know what you, the readers, want to know about the European industry or if you know of any organizations or companies I should reach out to.

What is GLD and the Tour?

Green Light Distrikt (GLD) is a community of young thought leaders working in cleantech. GLD is working on increasing collaborating within and between cleantech clusters across the globe by fostering real relationships and online collaboration of the young, future leaders of the cleantech industry.

I started Green Light Distrikt in 2009 in Boston and it has grown to include 14 contributors in 4 cities. My current goal is to explore the European clusters by interviewing local experts and to establish GLD clusters in European cities by meeting with young professionals.

The goal is to understand the current state, drivers, and players in the cleantech industry across the Eurozone.

Why go to Europe?

With strong public policy, the European zone has long been a leader in cleantech innovation and will continue to do so.

GLD believe that by increasing the sharing of information between the U.S. and European regions we can accelerate learning and increase collaboration between the two industrial regions that will lead to identifying business opportunities. International collaboration between large multinational corporations is already happening, specifically in manufacturing, but there is still a large opportunity for smaller and middle size companies that have a shippable product.

How will I accomplish the research?

The research will be completed by compiling short interviews with local professionals that will address a focus on understanding the local cleantech industry. I plan on using the “cluster approach” to understand and analyze the region.

The interviews will then be published in several medium outlets including: Renewable Energy World, The Energy Collective, Green Light Distrikt, Cleantechies.

Who am I looking to interview?

Every innovation cluster, whether cleantech or not, needs to have five strong sectors: unviersities, venture capital, public policy, entrepreneurs and a skilled workforce. It is my goal to use this framework as a lense to research and understand European clusters of cleantech innovation.

Thus, I’m looking to connect with and interview any professional who has a good understanding of the cleantech industry from specific region, technology, business role, or experience with international trade.

To trully understand the cluster my goal is to connect with professionals working in five areas; universities, venture capital, public policy, entrepreneurs, and professionals working in the industry.

Where is the tour?

Countries that I will currently be traveling to include: Germany, U.K. Belgium, Denmark, Spain and Norway.

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Chris Williams

About Chris Williams

Chris Williams is the editor of Green Light Distrikt and Chief Marketing Officer at HeatSpring . He has experience in business development, prototyping and new venture research with a focus on geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies. Chris is an IGSHPA accredited geothermal installer and NABCEP certified solar installer. Chris is focused on solving customer facing issues in the creation and adoption of clean energy technologies and products. Chris has installed over 300kW of solar and tens of geothermal systems. He's invented the PV Pal , developed many trainings at HeatSpring, publishes the NABCEP Study Guide , the Hitchhikers Guide to Cleantech and has done due diligence research for Urgent VC . Feel free to connect with him @topherwiliams , on Linkedin , or through email about new ventures, collaborating, writing, research or whatever is on your mind.

  • http://www.chaolysti.com Pamela Cargill

    Chris, one thing I am really interested in is how project financing and development is structured in the EU. From what I understand, cleantech investors in the EU are willing to accept ROI in the mid to lower teens. However, at the recent SolarTech summit, I queried a panel of Silicon Valley-based American investors about their willingness to accept these ROI rates. Before I was even able to finish my question, one of them blurted out bluntly, “NO.” Clearly, there is a market opportunity for overseas investors to capitalize on cleantech project development in the US while the investment community is busy trying to find the next Groupon on Facebook. See if you can find something out about that.

  • http://www.thegreenlightdistrikt.com Chris Williams


    Love it, I’ll ask this for sure. It’ll be interesting to see if it differs between countries, UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, etc


  • Monica Moso

    Great, Chris! If you want to visit us, you are very welcome to come to Bilbao. I am working in Basque Environment Industry Cluster (ACLIMA) where we are working strongly from a cleantech approach. Good luck! Monica

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