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For better or worse (probably worse), Los Angeles is a car city, so it’s perhaps not surprising that most of the innovation in cleantech from the region comes out of the electric vehicle space. But there’s more going on in L.A. beyond EVs. Companies are innovating in everything from construction, to upcycling, to the consumer energy grid to cut carbon and make the future more sustainable. Here’s a quick list of some of the companies we thought made the biggest moves in 2021.
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Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator's (LACI's) second annual Power Day was planned long before heavy smoke blanketed the West Coast for weeks, forcing tens of millions of residents to shelter indoors. But the noxious air provided organizers of Thursday's pitch competition for startups a visceral reminder of climate change's danger and the need to act on the sort of innovations that will be on display.

"We've gone from the cleanest air L.A. has seen in decades in April to the dirtiest air in five months," said Matt Peterson, who was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti as L.A.'s first Chief Sustainability Officer and is now CEO of the nonprofit LACI. "We know we want to have that cleaner air and safer neighborhoods that we enjoyed during the lockdown."

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