Mark Muro

and Devashree Saha One reason the U.S. clean economy is struggling to get big fast, as we note in our upcoming report “Sizing the Clean Economy,” is the absence of sufficient, affordable capital with the right tolerance for risk to help scale up new technologies. One response to such problems is the creation of “green banks”—emerging technology deployment finance entities aimed at lowering the cost of capital for innovative projects.

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with Devashree Saha One reason the U.S. clean economy is struggling to get big fast, as we note in our upcoming report “Sizing the Clean Economy,” is the absence of sufficient, affordable capital with the right tolerance for risk to help scale up new technologies. One response to such problems is the creation of “green banks”—emerging technology deployment finance entities aimed at lowering the cost of capital for innovative projects.

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States don’t often get the state-metro relationship right on economic development, as Kenan Fikri and I observed recently in a paper on the potential of state industry cluster strategies. Sometimes states ignore or stiff their regions, thanks to the dynamics of rurally oriented legislatures.

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Matt Stepp of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has a good post up now over at CommentVisions on speeding up the largely under-scaled, poorly structured world energy innovation system--a hobby-horse of ours here at the Metro Program. Matt raises all the right themes: the need to pile onto STEM education; the need to build new physical infrastructure, from grid upgrades to EV charging stations; the imperative of increasing global RD&D investment by 200 to 500 percent from present levels, something we’ve been talking about for years. But what I like best (predictably!) is

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Our big event Monday debuting the concept of metropolitan business plans--a new variety of action-oriented strategy-making in which regions assert “bottom-up” what they need from federal, state, or private-sector “investors”—contained a number of great moments. Brad Whitehead’s obvious pride in presenting Northeast Ohio’s new initiative to help small manufacturing companies get more innovative was infectious. The jovial mutual affection of mayors R.T. Rybak and Chris Coleman of Minneapolis and St.

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Whether or not the federal government shuts down this weekend, I have an announcement: U.S. metropolitan areas are open for business and striving innovatively to create jobs and transform the economy. How do I know it?

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with Devashree Saha In 2008 gas prices topped $4 per gallon and then slumped during the world recession.

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Yesterday, we noted the extreme concentration in just a few metropolitan areas of the leading-edge U.S. cleantech firms honored in the Global Cleantech 100 list of the most promising start-ups. We noted that a whopping 39 of the 58 U.S. firms included in the list are hyper-clustered in just four metropolitan areas—San Francisco, San Jose, Boston, and Los Angeles, in that order.

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We’ve been working on a database of “clean economy” companies and jobs, meaning those involved in producing goods and services that improve the environment. (Look for that in a few months). As always, though, we are preoccupied with the spatial distribution of these firms and their workforce: where and how they cluster.

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The Obama administration’s FY 2012 budget is all about arguing--perhaps somewhat rhetorically given political realities--the role of investments in growth despite the imperative for austerity. Such tradeoffs are everywhere in the budget. And yet, in no domain are those twin stances more sharply visible than in the Energy Department (DOE) outline, which proposes a classic “cut-to-invest” strategy to maintain progress on key imperatives when retrenchment appears likely. Overall, the new budget request proposes growing the DOE budget (see a detailed press release and Sec.

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