The centre groups in one place three organisations funded by the cantonal government that are geared to attracting green firms to Geneva.
The organizations are already studying 18 cleantech projects with a goal of establishing a centre of excellence in environmental technologies, according to a report from the ATS news service.
“By investing in renewable energy, we are creating jobs in Switzerland, we are strengthening the Swiss industrial sector and we are reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Leuthard, minister of environment, transport, energy and communication.
The market is promising because internationally it is expected to become a 3.3-trillion-franc industry by 2020, representing six percent of global GDP, as opposed to 3.2 percent currently, she said.
With oil at $113 a barrel, reducing energy expenditures is an economic and environmental imperative, Leuthard told a group of 300 business leaders, politicians and civil servants.
Pierre-Francois Unger, Geneva’s regional affairs minister, said the canton is intent on becoming a centre of excellence for cleantech by 2020.
“We have seven years to succeed,” Unger said.
The canton’s three organizations include the foundation for business aid (FAE), the Genevan foundation for technological innovation (FONGIT) and the office for the promotion of industry and technology (OPI).
These groups are located in a building dubbed the “Bluebox” in an industrial zone of the suburb of Plan-les-Ouates.
Various research institutes, including the University of Geneva and the Haute école du paysage, de l’ingenierie et de l’architecture (Hepia), are also working with the groups.
The centre offers a “one-stop shop” where businesses can find a range of services that were previously scattered in several locations, Unger said.
The Geneva centre is one of several planned around Switzerland as part of a federal master plan to coordinate resource efficiency and renewable energies.
The national plan envisages a partnership of the federal government, the cantons, the private sector and academic players.