CleanTX Issues First Economic Impact Report for the Cleantech Sector in Central Texas

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Cleantech Contributes $2.5 Billion to Region’s GDP; Employs Nearly 20,000; Will Grow Over 10% by 2020

Earlier today at a press conference at City Hall, CleanTX, the development organization for clean technology in Central Texas, along with the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), unveiled findings from the first—ever economic impact report for the industry. The Economic Impact Report for the Cleantech Sector in Central Texas calculated that the cleantech sector contributes approximately $2.5 billion to the region’s GDP and employs nearly 20,000 individuals in the Austin MSA.

The report also indicates the area’s cleantech employment is projected to grow 11.24% by 2020, as compared to 9.3% Texas-statewide and 6.37% nationally. The report goes on to share insights into opportunities for growth within the cleantech sector, in areas including renewables, smart grid, smart cities, vehicles, water, recycling and manufacturing. Supported by City Hall and Austin Mayor Steve Adler with research conducted in collaboration with Civic Analytics, the full report is available now for download at

“We have long known central Texas has a solid and fast growing clean technology ecosystem,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “It is wonderful validation to have concrete data backing up these beliefs, and research providing us guidance as to where to put our energies for continued expansion.”

The Economic Impact Report for the Cleantech Sector in Central Texas, commissioned by CleanTX and supported by ATI, part of the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, and Civic Analytics, represents the first attempt at describing and quantifying the cleantech sector in Central Texas. These baseline findings define the sector, measure job creation and quantify the economic contribution of the sector to the region.

“Cleantech encompasses a thriving, collaborative community of innovative professionals and businesses,” said Larry Weis, general manager, Austin Energy. “Supporting this community is an important part of our local economy and having clear metrics to quantify and track progress is a great step forward.”

Cleantech Job Creation:
This cleantech sector employs nearly 20,000 individuals in the Austin MSA (which also includes cities like Georgetown, Round Rock, San Marcos and Westlake). Cleantech employment is projected to grow in the region at 11.24% by 2020, almost twice the national growth rate.

As a comparative, previous research from a 2011 Brookings Institution report rated Austin’s clean economy 36th out of 100 metros nationwide, with 14,554 jobs attributed to Austin’s clean economy growing at a rate of 5.3% per year.

“It was so interesting to take this 2011 data and update and nuance it,” said Kathleen Baireuther, executive director, CleanTX. “CleanTX, along with our partners, is committed to updating this baseline study on an ongoing basis to track the evolution and growth of the cleantech economy in Central Texas.”

Economic Contribution by Industry Leaders:
The report data indicates the cleantech sector contributes approximately $2.5 Billion to the region’s GDP. Of the 104 industries included in the study, ten industries--including semiconductor manufacturing, architectural and engineering services, and computer systems design--contribute $1.56 Billion, or two thirds of the total contribution. This finding underscores the fact that Austin area is fertile proving ground for novel energy solutions enabled by new technologies in part because of the unique combination of a tech community nearby to Houston, a global energy hub.

Bringing together both technology and energy economies was a deliberate mission of the public and private sectors over the past 15 years. A web of interconnected organizations support and encourage cleantech innovation, including: Austin Energy, the City of Austin, the University of Texas at Austin, the State Energy Conservation Office, and the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Distinctive assets and events, such as Pecan Street, Inc. and the Pike Powers Commercialization Lab, SXSW Eco, and the Defense Energy Summit illustrate ongoing collaboration among these organizations.

In addition to established cleantech brands such as SunPower, Active Power, Honeywell, and Schneider Electric, the cleantech entrepreneurship community, anchored by the Clean Energy Incubator at ATI, is also vibrant. Notable graduates of the Clean Energy Incubator include Ideal Power Converters, Omni Water Solutions, Yan Engines, and Ridescout.

CleanTech Opportunities:
A goal of the report was to identify future opportunities for growth and development of the cleantech sector in the region. Specific cleantech areas of opportunity detailed further in the report include:

  •     Renewables
  •     Energy Storage & “Smart Grid” Technologies
  •     Smart Cities & Resilient Infrastructure
  •     Autonomous Vehicles & Connected Mobility
  •     Water Management
  •     Recycling & Waste Management
  •     Advanced Manufacturing

"Clearly, cleantech is now a key part of Austin’s economic development story,” said Brian Kelsey, founder, Civic Analytics. “There’s a lot of the story left to tell, and this study is a great starting point for defining Austin’s competitive advantage in the cleantech market.”

CleanTX, ATI and Civic Analytics engaged an advisory group comprised of academics, business leaders, economic developers, utility executives, government officials, and non-profits to develop a comprehensive definition for Austin’s cleantech community, which also illustrates the diversity of solutions and wide variety of industries that are considered “cleantech.”

“The amazing network of organizations and businesses collaboratively working together is helping raise our profile as a nationally-distinctive cleantech hub,” said Mitch Jacobson, co-director, ATI Clean Energy Incubator and chair, CleanTX. “Each player is a critical component of what makes the Austin region a vibrant home for the cleantech industry.”

About CleanTX:
CleanTX is the cluster development organization for clean technology in Central Texas. Headquartered in the capital city of Austin, CleanTX is uniquely positioned at the nexus of government, industry, academia, utility and community interests. Through its advancement of public-private partnerships, leadership on community education, and networking among key industry stakeholders, CleanTX supports the area’s rapidly growing cleantech economy. CleanTX was founded in partnership with Austin Energy, The Austin Chamber of Commerce, and The Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), where it was spun out of ATI’s Clean Energy Incubator in 2006. CleanTX is the voice of one of the most successful cleantech hubs in the U.S. More at:

About the Austin Technology Incubator:
The Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) is the startup incubator of the IC2 Institute of The University of Texas at Austin. ATI works with seed and pre-seed-stage companies, helping prepare these businesses for commercial success, with a particular focus on helping startups compete in the capital markets. The Incubator has operated since 1989 with a dual mission: create jobs and wealth in Central Texas through technology entrepreneurship, and provide distinctive teaching and research opportunities to the UT-Austin community. Over the past 10 years, ATI companies have created more than 6,500 jobs, nearly $1 billion in economic impact, and over $20 million in tax revenues in Central Texas.

About Civic Analytics LLC:
Civic Analytics provides economic research, planning and consulting services to public and private sector groups at the federal, state and local levels in communities across the U.S. With services that span comprehensive economic development strategy work, city and regional planning, geodesign, data visualization and more, Civic Analytics brings to every project a strong emphasis on making data-driven decisions that will benefit communities and economies for years to come. Civic Analytics is based in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit

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Laura Beck
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Kathleen Baireuther
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