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Cleantech Industry Pioneer Martin Turock Retires

  |   Press Releases

Cleantech San Diego’s first and longest-serving employee made a transformative impact on the region’s clean energy transition


SAN DIEGO, CA, December 6, 2023Martin (Marty) Turock, founder and executive director of Cleantech San Diego‘s Southern California Energy Innovation Network (SCEIN) has retired from the organization after spending 16 years spearheading energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives that catalyzed hundreds of new jobs and injected hundreds of millions of dollars into the region’s cleantech economy while creating financially-viable avenues for cities and schools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance climate action goals.


Turock was the first and longest-serving employee of regional industry association Cleantech San Diego. During his tenure with Cleantech San Diego, he led a series of strategic field initiatives designed to accelerate adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies across local public agencies and academic institutions. These included the Greening San Diego Program, the DOE Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant Program, the IRS Clean Renewable Energy Bonds Program, the San Diego Regional Street Lighting Working Group, and the San Diego Regional K-12 Schools Sustainability Collaborative, among others. 


In 2016, Cleantech San Diego was awarded a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission to launch the Southern California Energy Innovation Network (SCEIN), one of the state’s four innovation clusters. Turock assumed the role of Executive Director to design and develop SCEIN as an accelerator program for clean energy startups based in San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial counties that are developing technologies to help California meet its clean energy goals. The program, which offers free business services through a consortium of regional partner organizations to help energy entrepreneurs successfully bring their innovations to market, has since become the flagship initiative of Cleantech San Diego for the past seven years.


“Marty was the obvious choice to launch and lead this program,” said Cleantech San Diego President and CEO Jason Anderson. “Marty’s vision and insight in setting up SCEIN with multi-year engagements and customized service plans has led to outstanding results for SCEIN member companies and the global reputation that it has garnered as one of the top energy innovation clusters in the country. Thanks to Marty, SCEIN is making tangible strides in driving an equitable clean energy transition for the benefit of all California ratepayers.”


Under Turock’s leadership of SCEIN, startup companies in the program attracted over $500 million in follow-on funding, representing a tripling of the capital that these companies came into the program with, and an 80-fold return on investment on the program expenditures provided by the California Energy Commission’s grant. All while driving market transformation with new energy technologies that will enable the state of California to achieve its 2045 zero net carbon goal.


During Turock’s tenure, 73 companies were served by SCEIN, 36 of which are active in the program in 2023. Together, these startups employ 812 people, and have had 469 patents approved since being accepted into the program. Additionally, 86 percent of SCEIN companies have female, minority, or veteran representation on their C-Suite leadership teams. 


“Marty was the first member of the SCEIN and Cleantech San Diego team that UCAP Power met. From the initial visit, we knew that it was the right decision to join. The level of professionalism, sincere belief in helping others get ahead, and sharing of knowledge has been unmatched in other incubators we have been a member of,” said UCAP Power President and CEO Gordon Schenk. “As a small startup, UCAP Power joined SCEIN in July of 2020. A tough time to do business with the pandemic just starting, but with Marty’s and SCEIN support, UCAP Power has been very successful since that early beginning. After joining SCEIN we have gone from a team of three to nearly 120. Revenue has grown over 6000% and our products have never been more needed in the market.”


In 2013, Turock launched, and for nine years led, Cleantech San Diego’s K-12 Schools Sustainability Collaborative, which was established in partnership with SDG&E to help San Diego County school districts to fund energy efficiency retrofits, clean energy installations, and the development of energy management capabilities through Proposition 39 funds. The initiative made the San Diego region a top winner of these funds by expediting the process and fostering the sharing of energy efficiency and clean energy best practices across the 45 school districts in SDG&E’s service territory. Under Marty’s leadership, the collaborative process enabled local K-12 schools to secure $121 million in Proposition 39 grant funding that was used to implement energy efficiency and clean energy projects at 528 sites across every school district in the county and delivering energy savings of 48 million kilowatt-hours per year resulting in cost savings of more than $11 million annually – all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating a healthier learning environment. 


From 2009-2012, Turock chaired a Regional Street Lighting Working Group to create a best practice sharing forum for the 18 cities and other public agencies in the SDG&E service territory to share key learnings that would accelerate the retrofit of the region’s high- and low-pressure sodium streetlights to induction and LED fixtures as an environmentally friendly way to reduce the high cost of streetlighting for municipalities. At the conclusion of the project, 15 cities and San Diego County had made commitments to retrofit more than 75,000 streetlights for a savings of $4 million in annual taxpayer savings in addition to energy savings of 30 million kilowatt-hours per year and a reduction of regional greenhouse gas emissions by 18,720,000 pounds.


For the IRS Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) Program started in 2009, Turock recruited City of Chula Vista, City of Lemon Grove, City of Santee, Santee School District, San Dieguito Union High School District, San Diego State University, and Fallbrook Public Utility District to build the critical mass to make pursuing CREBs bond incentives Cleantech San Diego’s first true regional government/public agency clean energy strategic initiative. As part of the program, Marty leveraged relationships with local contractors to provide pro bono engineering signoffs required for each of the CREBs applications. The endeavor resulted in 192 solar PV projects approved for $155 million in CREBs bonds for the San Diego region, representing 19 percent of the national allocation and jump-starting solar PV deployment for nine San Diego government agencies.


“Marty has led, inspired, and mentored the City of Santee for the past 15 years and has been instrumental in supporting the entire region through many successes,” said Kathy Valverde, Assistant to the City Manager, City of Santee. “Marty raised our city’s awareness and interest in the critical importance of sustainability projects for economic, environmental, and social benefits. We will continue to be inspired by and benefit from Marty’s work and our partnership with him.”


In 2007, Turock launched Cleantech San Diego’s first strategic field program targeting the initial deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with the City of Santee and the City of Lemon Grove to validate the economic, social, and environmental benefits of those projects and set an example for other public agencies across the San Diego region. The resulting energy efficiency retrofits and solar photovoltaic (PV) projects were the first deployments in San Diego County’s government agency sector, and those early successes validated the triple bottom line benefits of clean energy projects, which motivated many of the other public agencies across the county to develop climate action plans and launch energy savings and decarbonization initiatives.


“Looking back, it was probably unrealistic on our part to expect any one person to be able organize and lead an ever-changing group of individuals and companies through a series of very different, and mostly untested, projects, pilots, and implementations,” said Cleantech San Diego Co-Founder Jim Waring. “Yet Marty successfully pulled it off, time and again, year after year. It is truly amazing from the vantage point of 2023 to reflect upon everything he has accomplished.”


“Cleantech San Diego wishes Marty the very best in his retirement and extends our deepest thanks for his years of top-notch collegiality and unwavering passion in support of our organization, our members, and the entire cleantech industry,” said Anderson. “There’s no doubt our community will continue to feel the monumental impacts of his life’s work for a very long time to come.”


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About Cleantech San Diego

Cleantech San Diego is a member-based business association that positions the greater San Diego region as a global leader in the cleantech economy and smart cities movement. As a nonprofit organization, Cleantech San Diego is uniquely suited to support the industry by fostering collaborations across the private-public-academic landscape, leading advocacy efforts to promote cleantech priorities, and encouraging more equitable investment across the San Diego region. Stakeholders include more than 130 businesses, universities, governments, and nonprofits committed to advancing sustainable solutions for the benefit of the economy, the environment, and all members of the community. Learn more at cleantechsandiego.org.


About the Southern California Energy Innovation Network

The Southern California Energy Innovation Network (SCEIN) is a free incubator program for clean energy startups based in San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial counties that are developing technologies to help California meet its climate goals. The program provides access to the resources and facilities of regional partner organizations and connections with industry in order to accelerate the commercialization of emerging energy technologies. Managed by Cleantech San Diego, the program is the result of multiple grants from the California Energy Commission to help advance California’s energy innovation industry. SCEIN applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Anyone interested in applying as an entrepreneur, becoming a mentor, joining the Technical Advisory Committee, or hosting a pilot demonstration project, can learn more at cleantechsandiego.org/scein.


Media Contact:
Shannon Bresnahan, Cleantech San Diego, 858-568-7777, shannonb@cleantechsandiego.org



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