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Clean Tech and Ag Tech Businesses Talk Innovation in Sacramento


There were 90 information booths inside the McClellan Business Park's Conference Center, but out in front, some clean tech fans were hanging out just for fun.  Jorge Santana was showing off his new, $98,000 electric car.

"I'm telling people they really have to think electricity as a car as a means," said Santana.  "With Tesla, for example getting the range of traveling without having to recharge, that is, I think, a ground-breaker."

Santana's passion -and expenditure of money- is part of a growing trend according to Gary Simon, the Chairman of the Clean Start event hosted by the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance or SARTA. 

"Not so much new on venture investment," Simon said.  "But, there's a lot more customers and there's a lot more interest in people buying things, which is actually better for building companies."

Simon says there could be $60 billion in grants, loans and investments for clean tech businesses in California between now and the end of the decade.  He says Sacramento entities should be in line for about $6 billion of that.

This is the seventh year for the CleanStart expo for Sacramento-area clean tech companies and the first year AgStart has been a part of the program.

Meg Arnold with SARTA says an "AgStart" event was added this year because of the agriculture industry's evolving use of green technology. 

"Ag growers and producers are always looking for ways to improve their operations," Arnold said.  "Energy efficiency, reducing waste, coverting waste to productive resulting end products such as fuel or fertilizer is in everybody's interests." 

The agriculture discussions focused on water conservation and alternative energy production.  

Other topics of discussion included smart grid energy storage and business opportunities as a result of climate change.

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