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New England clean energy lobbying groups join

Is it a clean tech cluster yet? New England, like other regions, hopes so.

Investors are betting clean technologies are good for their pocket books. The economic potential of the clean industries is not lost on policymakers either.

On Monday, two Boston-based lobbying organizations--Clean Energy Council and the New England Energy Innovation Collaborative--announced that have merged, creating the New England Clean Energy Council.

The goal of the group is to provide a more unified and louder voice to policymakers as they look to encourage development of clean energy companies, organizers say.

New England is one of several areas vying to create a vibrant clean tech "cluster" of companies. Silicon Valley is already in that category. Austin, Texas, which has a progressive utility in Austin Energy, also is.

The new England Clean Energy Council wants to focus on getting policies that support job creation. Several people with experience in IT have jumped into the green technology area, but it can be a tough transition because the skills and industries are different, said Nick D'Arbelloff, the co-executive director.

"The good news is that, unlike some tech sectors, the jobs in renewable energy and efficiency are applicable to workers at ever level of skill, from people with Phds to installers," said co-executive director Annie Johnson.