Sunderland is targeting the offshore wind farm industry, low-carbon cars and the software industry as part of a 15-year masterplan to secure its future.
The plan highlights chances to develop the low-carbon, creative, software and healthcare sectors.
The city council said it wanted Sunderland to be "at the heart of a low-carbon regional economy".
Vince Taylor, from the council, said he hoped low-carbon industries would become a "major driver" for the city.
He said: "We are ahead of the game on a number of these things. Nissan has already made its decision to produce electric vehicles here."
Councillor Paul Watson said: "It is absolutely vital, in these rather tough times, that we establish a clear vision for Sunderland; one that is grounded in an understanding of the strengths of the city as well as the broader economic landscape, and the priority industries that have been outlined by the government for the future."
The masterplan was developed by Sunderland City Council, with funding from One North East, and in partnership with a consortium of consultants.