M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 213

Transforming Southern California into a Clean-Tech Hub

Mina Hanin
JJ Henkin
Shadman Rahman

2023 Policy Analysis Exercise Prepared for California 100 Initiative


In this report, we seek to accomplish several goals. The first, is to determine the feasibility of establishing a thriving cleantech cluster economy within the Southern California region. The second, is to determine what opportunities and challenges exist in pursuit of this effort. And the third, is to generate a set of policy recommendations to aid this goal. We determine that this endeavor is feasible; that California has many favorable factors to achieve this goal; but significant hurdles need to be addressed first. We also identify the specific policy actions that relevant stakeholders can take to assist in this effort.

In this report, we begin by providing a high-level overview of clean-tech cluster formation and define our context and definition of success. Next, we explore several case studies of advanced tech hubs, to understand what led to their success or failure. Then we analyze the current state of the clean-tech industry in Southern California, determine what resources it has available, and examine what challenges it still faces. Finally, through a process of literature review, case study, analysis, and expert interviews, we formulate a list of policy recommendations and guidelines for the public and private sector to collaboratively explore, in order to transform the Southern California region into a prosperous clean-tech hub.

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