A commitment to energy efficiency, success in attracting private investment, and state policies that support alternative energy sources have helped Massachusetts develop one of the nation’s leading clean technology industries, according to a study released Tuesday.
Massachusetts finished second , behind California, in the annual survey by the industry research firm Clean Edge Inc. The state edged out Oregon for the first time in the four-year history of the rankings and beat New York and Colorado, as well.
The rankings are based on several factors, including state policies and incentives to promote clean technologies; the use of alternative-fuel vehicles; the siting of alternative energy generating sources, such as wind turbines; and per-capita investment in the industry.
Massachusetts is “one of the few states to consistently compete with California for the US clean tech crown,” the index noted, and “the state should remain an integral clean tech innovation hub for years to come.”
Massachusetts has long been recognized as a leader in the emerging alternative energy sector because of its research universities, entrepreneurial culture, and active venture capital industry.
In addition, the state has passed laws, adopted regulations, and made recommendations that are designed to promote the industry.
The Green Communities Act, for example, sets goals and provides incentives for improving energy efficiency and installing wind and solar facilities.
“Massachusetts has become a premier destination for clean energy innovation and investment because we are shaping that future rather than just waiting for it to happen,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “In order to be winners in the 21st century, we must increase the pace of innovation and deepen our commitment to being good stewards of both our environment and our economy.”
The poorest showing for the state — and for many of its neighbors in the Northeast — was in the deployment of alternative energy generating sources.
Among the reasons: The state lacks the natural resources of other parts of the county, such as the stronger winds of the Great Plains and intense sun of Western states.
Massachusetts ranked 33d in installed wind capacity and 9th in installed solar capacity. It however, ranked first in both policy and capital. The state attracts nearly $76 per capita in venture capital for clean tech investments, compared with California, which attracts roughly $58.50 per capita.