UK targets Oregon, West Coast for cleantech development

The United Kingdom wants to play a role in the cleantech industries in Oregon and along the West Coast.

The United Kingdom wants to play a role in the cleantech industries in Oregon and along the West Coast.

Through a program launched last year called "UK Low-Carbon Know-How," the UK Trade & Investment group is targeting Oregon and the West Coast for partnerships in the cleantech sector.

The United Kingdom's interest in Oregon's cleantech companies is longstanding, with companies including Green Lite Motors and Agilyx Corp. both exploring business opportunities through the trade group and Oregon small wind company Xzeres establishing a UK operation last year.

Through the Know-How program, the UK Trade & Investment group is looking to export some of the country's cleantech expertise to Oregon and the rest of the West Coast.

The group identified the West Coast of North America as one of four regions in the world — along with India, China and Brazil — with policies in place to support cleantech innovation.

"I think what you'll see is more companies from the UK looking at the market," said Mike Rosenfeld, vice counsel and lead officer for clean technology with UK Trade & Investment.

For example, Rosenfeld said the trade group plans to bring a delegation of wave and tidal energy companies to Portland to attend the Wave Energy Trust's annual conference.

"Wave and tidal energy is fairly early stage in Oregon, but the UK has been working the space for some time," Rosenfeld said.

Under the Know-How program, the trade group plays matchmaker but leaves it up to individual companies to develop partnerships or establish a presence in specific markets.

Rosenfeld cited examples including UK-based energy consulting firm GL Garrad Hassan, which has an office in Portland and is working on projects in wind and wave energy, and renewable developer RES, which also has a Portland office. Rosenfeld said another UK environmental consulting firm, AquaTerra is also active in the market.

Scottish wave energy company Aquamarine Power had an office in Newport, but pulled out last year citing regulatory uncertainty for wave power in Oregon.

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