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Regional Industry Clusters of Opportunity (RICO) II: EVs and Waste-to-Energy (2014)

By Evan Schmidt

The six-county Sacramento Region (El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba Counties) is the area covered by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments and houses an economy with over 70,000 businesses and 2.5 million residents. The region has collaborated effectively on a number of economic development activities, including the Next Economy strategy that was adopted by more than two-dozen jurisdictions and every major economic development organization.

Through AB 118, regions across the state were tasked with developing cluster strategies to develop and deploy innovative technologies that transform the state’s fuel and vehicle types to help attain the California’s climate goals. The California Energy Commission (The Commission) funded projects to develop the Alternative Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) cluster. Sacramento’s Regional Cluster of Opportunity (RICO) II grant project was a partnership among public agencies, nonprofit organizations and businesses. Business leaders and local economic, workforce, and community partners worked together to identify priorities in workforce and economic strategies to grow industries around plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and renewable natural gas (RNG) produced through anaerobic digestion of organic sources of waste in the region (also known as Waste to Energy technology).

The RICO II team analyzed existing data and engaged employers and stakeholders in a collaborative priority setting process to establish an Investment Strategy. This strategy identified needs and opportunities within the cluster. From this, the team developed implementation strategies to develop the cluster.

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