It is a great honor that Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) recently chose to partner with the University of Texas at Austin by investing $13 million on a disruptive clean tech project. After an intense competition with other U.S. cities, central Texas was selected due to the availability of elements essential to the success of this micro grid venture. This Texas-Japan project is one instance of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s commitment to fostering a stronger US-Japan alliance.
Our community’s existing business relationship with Japan added to our competitive advantage for this project. For example, the 2011 World Smart Cities Forum held in Austin highlighted exchanges within the area of energy efficiency. The NIKKEI Business Publications’ Smart City Institute coordinated the Forum with several local clean tech organizations. The Forum promoted central Texas efforts to collaborate with Japanese organizations, and highlighted efforts to standardize smart grid technologies. The Forum’s goal was to establish a platform providing local companies with access to the global smart city market, a market projected to exceed $1.56 trillion by 2020.
As demonstrated during our recent Japan-USA Business Opportunities dinner and briefing, local corporate executives have a strong desire to find long term business links with Japanese tomodachi (friend). The Texas-Japan micro grid project will enable local clean tech companies to benefit from existing connections, and strengthen trade links between our nations. WAC Austin welcomes NEDO and their corporate partner, NTT Facilities, as they join other local employers from Japan pursuing sustainable energy initiatives in central Texas.