The Next Industrial Revolution in New Hampshire
With the fourth-lowest unemployment rate in the nation and the second-highest ranking in recent job growth, New Hampshire's economy is favorable relative to other states. The problem is that the state's unemployment rate is still significantly higher than it was before the recession, and with the current rate of job growth it would take the state over three years to recover the jobs lost in the Great Recession.After the recessions of the early 1980s and early 1990s, the state benefited from significant growth in growing technology industries. New Hampshire was one of the leading states in the fast-growing, technology-based industries of those times. Coming out of this recession, New Hampshire has an opportunity to lead in a new technology-based industry, the clean-tech industry.The term "clean tech" describes a group of emerging technologies that provide energy with minimum climate and environmental impact and use resources efficiently. Examples include wind power and solar energy and other new technologies in renewable energy generation and energy, materials and resource conservation.In New Hampshire, the clean-tech economy is evident and ready for expansion. GT Solar, based in Merrimack, went public in 2008 with a $500 million initial public offering. The company is a leading global supplier of manufacturing equipment for the solar industry, and its largest market is China. Another clean-tech innovation leader, Powerspan of Portsmouth, was started by a UNH graduate. Powerspan has developed and commercialized multi-pollutant control and carbon dioxide capture technologies for the electric power industry.To help further stimulate activity in clean-tech industries, in February 2010 UNH President Mark W. Huddleston and Gov. John Lynch announced the start-up of the Green Launching Pad. Ventures funded under this program commercialize clean technology that will lead to energy savings and emissions reductions as well as business and employment growth. Faculty and students from UNH and Dartmouth and professionals from New Hampshire's leading businesses, including law firms, major utilities, manufacturing and investment firms, have been involved with the project.Since its inauguration in February, the Green Launching Pad has funded five New Hampshire ventures selected from 71 proposals. Green Clean Heat in Newton Junction designs and builds fully integrated efficient wood-fired heating systems for commercial and municipal facilities. EnerTrac in Hudson has developed smart metering technology and a corresponding monitoring service that can reduce CO2 emissions by 30 percent or more. Revolution Energy in Dover develops renewable energy projects using third-party financing and creative incentive leveraging. Innovacene in Durham manufactures high-performing organic semiconductors for flexible organic solar cells and organic light-emitting diodes for lighting and displays. Air Power Analytics in Bedford improves energy efficiency of industrial compressed air systems, reducing electric consumption, and saving money while reducing upstream greenhouse gas emissions.The five Green Launching Pad companies have increased employment and developed business and marketing plans. Four of the five companies have begun to sell new products or services. All the companies are well positioned for future growth and will be adding employees this year.Recently, the Green Launching Pad announced a second round of funding - $500,000 - available to New Hampshire entrepreneurs. This is an exciting opportunity for clean-tech entrepreneurs and businesses. The time is now to act on the state's economic future. Be part of the next industrial revolution in New Hampshire.For more information, visit Green LaunchingPad.org.Jesse Devitte is managing director of Borealis Ventures in Portsmouth and Hanover. Ross Gittell and Venky Venkatachalam are professors at the University of New Hampshire's Whittemore School of Business and Economics. All three are founding members of The Green Launching Pad.