This project, commissioned by CleanTX and supported by the Austin Technology Incubator, part of the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, and Civic Analytics, represents the first attempt at describing and quantifying the clean technology (cleantech) sector in Central Texas.
In order to develop a comprehensive definition for Austin’s cleantech community, CleanTX engaged an advisory group comprised of academics, business leaders, economic developers, utility executives, government officials, and non-profits. The resulting framework illustrates the diversity of solutions that are considered “cleantech” across a wide variety of industries:
The cleantech sector is a set of technologies and services developed across a number of industries in response to concerns about climate change, energy security, and resource depletion. Generally speaking, cleantech products or services are designed to achieve one or more of the following objectives:
- Provide fuel or electricity with minimal environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the entire lifecycle of that resource;
- Increase the natural resource efficiency of existing technologies or significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions;
- Drive behavioral changes that reduce the carbon and environmental footprint of an individual, organization, community, or industry.
With the above definition in mind, a data-driven, replicable methodology was designed to calculate the economic impact of this sector in the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos Metropolitan Statistical Area (Austin MSA). Economic impact is characterized here as direct employment in the cleantech sector (jobs) and Gross Regional Product (GRP) contribution. Similar to GDP, GRP is defined as the market value of all final goods and services produced within a metropolitan area in a given period of time. The study found that the cleantech sector in the Austin region directly employs nearly 20,000 individuals and contributes approximately $2.5 billion to the region’s GDP. In addition to establishing a 2014 baseline for the size and scope of this sector in the region, CleanTX intends to update this study on an ongoing basis in order to track the evolution and growth of the cleantech economy in Central Texas.