Cleantech Industry in London

The cleantech sector (which includes companies operating in industries like renewable energy, recycling, and green transportation) has been experiencing impressive growth levels since the early 2000s. As public and private organisations from all over the world strive to tackle climate change and to implement environmentally friendly policies, companies in the cleantech sector are finding great opportunities to grow and expand into new markets. In 2012, a report estimated that the global cleantech industry was worth €2 trillion per year. The report showed that in just 5 years, this industry grew by more than 12 per cent, and it also suggested that by 2020, the global cleantech sector will be worth an astonishing €4 trillion per year.

In view of the above, and considering London's position as one of the world's most innovative and tech-savvy cities, it is hardly surprising that the British capital has become a global hub for companies in the cleantech sector.

An overview of the cleantech industry in London

It is no secret that the area comprised between Old Street and City Road (also known as the Silicon Roundabout) is London's high-tech hub. Although initially it was mostly software, digital marketing, and IT companies that chose to base themselves in this area, firms in the cleantech sector quickly followed suit. According to a Breaking Energy article, cleantech firms based in London's Tech City have been successful at securing investment both at national and international level. At the time of writing, more than 80 UK cleantech companies operate at the London Stock Exchange.

The enormous potential of this industry also prompted the development of the London Cleantech Cluster. This platform was launched at around the same time as the London Olympics, and it currently has three main objectives: to provide practical support to local cleantech businesses in the form of incubators, accelerators, and access to investment programmes; to help London cleantech companies enter the global marketplace; and to promote London as one of the top business locations for existing and future companies operating in this sector. In addition, this initiative has developed a mentoring scheme for entrepreneurs who are considering setting up a cleantech startup in London. When we look at the range and the calibre of the organisations that support this initiative, it becomes clear that cleantech is one of the most promising industries for the London economy. The London Cleantech Cluster has the support of the Mayor of London Office, University College London, The City of London, Change London, Clean Capital, Leapfrog, London & Partners, and the UK Sustainable Investment & Finance Association.

London cleantech companies go global

The United States is among the world's top three largest markets for the cleantech industry, but UK cleantech firms are not lagging far behind. In 2012, sixteen outstanding British cleanteach startups were selected to attend a week-long event in Silicon Valley, California, where they had the opportunity to network with key global players in this industry and to lay the foundations for future partnerships. This event also served to identify the UK cleantech firms that are set to dominate this market within the next few years.

The British cleantech delegation consisted firms like London-based Seawater Greenhouse, which focusses on designing low-cost solutions that fight the effects of a dwindling freshwater supply. Kingston-based VerdErg (which operates in the renewable energy sector) was also selected to attend the Silicon Valley event. This company has also been awarded the Rushlight Natural Energy Prize, which recognises the company's outstanding achievement in devising new and cost-effective techniques to address climate change. Another cleantech company to watch for is Moixa Technology, which is headquartered near London's Chalk Farm, and which also represented the UK cleantech industry in California. This company is a pioneer in the production of affordable electricity generation systems for homes and businesses. Moixa has also created a range of cleantech devices like smart battery and lighting systems, solar panels, and low-power computer monitors, printers, and TV screens.

Of course, there are more than just 16 companies to the London cleantech industry. A 2013 report carried out and published by Ernst & Young showed how far this sector has come over the past few years. According to this report, the United Kingdom is now an established player in the global cleantech industry, as it ranks 6th in the list of top 10 cleantech markets. Up to 90 per cent of all UK cleantech companies are based in London, and it is expected that many more will spring up in the near future thanks to the fantastic potential of this city for forward-thinking companies, to initiatives like the London Cleantech Cluster, and to the support offered by UK government to firms that want to make a real difference in the world of clean technologies.