Blue Tech Valley Innovation Cluster – Part 1

Blue Tech Valley Funded by California Energy Commission

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

The Blue Tech Valley Central Valley regional innovation cluster represents an expansion and interconnection of multiple incubators in entrepreneurship programs, with services located at each of the seven designated Blue Tech Valley cluster hubs, collectively serving 39 counties and covering two-thirds of California’s geographic area. Funding for the new cluster is provided by a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission.

The designated hubs for the Blue Tech Valley innovation cluster features Fresno State as the central portion. Other hubs include: CSU Bakersfield, Chico State, Humboldt State University, Cal State University, Monterrey Bay, Sacramento State, and a Sierra small business development center.

California Ag Today recently spoke with Erik Stokes of the California Energy Commission Research and Development Division. Blue Tech Valley was part of a major $60 million initiative the Energy Commission launched about a year ago to really try to create a state-wide ecosystem to support clean energy entrepreneurship across the state.

“As part of this initiative, we created four regional innovation clusters to manage a network of incubator-type services that can encourage clean tech entrepreneurs in the region and really try to help make what can be a very tough road towards commercialization a little bit easier,” Stokes said.

“Blue Tech Valley and their partners were selected to be the Central Valley cluster. A big reason for that was their strength and expertise in the food and agricultural sector,” he explained.

One of the focus areas of the incubator is to find areas in farming to save costs and minimize greenhouse gases.

“We really want to focus on those technologies that can help both reduce water use, as well as energy use,” Stokes said.