Cleanweb: I’m in a New York State of Mind

on June 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Largest Bike Share Program In US Underway In New York City

As a native New Yorker, I’m really thrilled to be a part of New York Energy Week (NYEW) as a Board of Director. This weeklong energy series will touch on some of the most intriguing and pressing ideas in the entire sector. Better yet, it’s really the first time the emphasis is not just on talking about what’s lacking in a modern energy world. Rather, it’s about sharing insights with emerging and established energy leaders in order to collectively work on ways to actually embrace the shifting energy landscape in our city and state.

California has dominated the cleantech space in recent decades by focusing on hardware and infrastructure needed to advance alternative energy sources such as solar and wind. Yet infrastructure alone won’t solve our energy problem if supplies are not better understood and maintained. With that said, it’s my belief New York has a great opportunity post Frankenstorm Sandy, to become the leader in cleanweb, the software solutions needed to make energy use more efficient.

Efficiency is the new battle cry for today’s energy markets. In fact, newly confirmed U.S. Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz even chose an energy efficiency conference to make his first official address in Washington. Therefore leveraging information technology (IT) in order to do more with fewer resources could present plenty of opportunity for technology startups focused on energy.

Why do I think New York can be a leader in this cleanweb space? For starters, the evolution of the internet has presented new opportunities for New York area entrepreneurs to consider building new startups more close to their roots (i.e. Yahoo! which has offices in New York recently acquired Tumblr, a NYC startup founded by David Karp, a native New Yorker). The acquisition of Tumblr may further shed light on the New York City tech scene and its richer financial supporters. Also, post the 2008 financial crisis, New York government officials realized the city of New York as well as the collective state that surrounds the five boroughs could not continue to rely on the financial sector to drive revenues. Therefore, in a move to lower dependence on Wall Street, New York pushed to make technology a bigger piece of our economic landscape. To that end, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who have supported NYEW publicly, have done a great job attracting young startups to the New York area by offering better rates on office space as well as supporting more incubator/accelerator programs at Universities such as NYUColumbiaCornell and Stonybrook. Also, creating a Made in New York City campaign aimed at highlighting new career opportunities in the tech space has been very well received and the proof is in the pudding. In recent years New York has even overtaken Boston as the number two destination for IT investment by venture capital firms behind only Silicon Valley. Not bad.

Considering New York has an amazing opportunity to look back and see what did and did not work post Sandy, the ability to further integrate IT in an advanced energy economy seems stronger than ever. I’m expecting this idea to really gain traction during NYEW. Thus, using software can be a positive jolt to the New York cleantech scene by lowering the demand side of the energy cycle and in the process helping make renewable energy more energy efficient, less capital intensive, more social and even speed time to market.

One thing is for sure, the topic of cleanweb and the role New York is playing in this space is growing rapidly. Hopefully you will join me and a growing number of participants/guests for New York Energy Week to learn more about what New York is doing to become a cleanweb leader, a cybersecurity watchdog and a renewable energy epicenter.

 Breaking Media is a founding member of NY Energy Week.