Random Thoughts from the Chairman

Steve Gerritson, Vice President of the Economic Development Council of Seattle & King County
Steve Gerritson, Vice President of the Economic Development Council of Seattle & King County

By Steve Gerritson, WCTA Chairman & Executive Vice President of the Economic Development Council of Seattle-King County

Several different topics to discuss this week…

On the global warming front, the Obama administration’s rule regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants has been upheld by the Supreme Court in large part. The requirement for cuts, coupled with the flexibility in the rule, may be the driver for either cap and trade programs or carbon taxes. In another interesting development, the State of California signed a nonbinding agreement with Mexico to cooperate on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While some see this as an attempt to spur action on the national level, others are more cynical, and criticize Governor Jerry Brown for allowing “fracking” and being too close to the fossil fuel industry.

Elsewhere, the world-wide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was set back by Australia’s decision to rescind the carbon tax. Based on current trends, Australia’s GHG emissions will have increased by nearly 20% in the two decades ending in 2020.

Locally, one of the complaints heard most from clean-tech startups is about the lack of investment capital in the region. One of our members, Chris Ajemian of Chris Ajemian Consulting, is floating a proposal to address the problem. Envisioned as a private-public partnership (with an emphasis on the private), a non-profit entity seeded with loan funds from various sources would make below-market-rate loans to clean tech companies, then bundle and sell the loans, enabling faster circulation. It’s an interesting concept that we’ll be looking at more closely in the coming months.

We want to urge everyone to make the trip to Mukilteo on August 7, where UniEnergy Technologies is hosting the WCTA’s annual Summer Schmoozefest. It’s a great opportunity to network with your colleagues, meet some new friends, and enjoy some good food and drink. Rumor has it that a new brand of local beer will be unveiled, so make sure you come early to get a sample.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the fine work of the WCTA staff. With our membership at just about 300 companies, our meetings at capacity and widely acclaimed, and our operations running smoothly, they deserve a huge “thank you.” Tom, Sharon and Kelsey – well done!