PRIVATE INVESTMENTS IN "CLEAN TECH" SURGING
Venture Capital support reached $1.6 billion in 2005
WASHINGTON (May 10, 2006) -- Venture capital investments in clean technologies last year reached an all-time high of $1.6 billion in North America, a 43 percent increase over the previous year, according to a report released today by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a group of business professionals who support sound environmental policy based on economic merits.
The report underscores the fast-growing recognition among business leaders that it is not only possible but sensible to protect the environment and expand the economy.
As soaring energy prices and growing concerns about global warming exert pressure on public officials to find ways to curb America's oil dependence, the report highlights a sharp acceleration in the business community's support for clean, renewable alternative fuels.
The unprecedented private investments in clean energy technologies-which range from 'bio-based' materials and renewable energy sources to recycling technologies and hybrid vehicles-is documented in a report released today by Environmental Entrepreneurs and the Cleantech Venture Network, a for-profit membership group that connects investors, entrepreneurs and service providers that promote clean technology. Among the recent investors are some of the world's largest companies, including General Electric, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, BP and Shell Oil, as well as giant pension funds such as the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).
"Clean technology is emerging as the enabling technology of post-modern industrial society-the next and necessary wave of innovation," said Bob Epstein, co-founder of E2 who also co-founded four information technology companies. He is a trustee of NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).
"'Clean tech' is an industry still in its infancy," said Nicole Lederer, an E2 co-founder and an NRDC trustee. "We have only begun to tap clean tech's potential to create quality jobs, generate new wealth, and improve our environment."
The report found that every $100 million in venture capital invested in clean tech leads to the creation of 2,700 jobs directly at venture-backed firms, plus many more indirectly. Over the course of two decades, every dollar invested in clean tech will increase annual revenues five-fold, the report said.
Leaders of E2 released "Creating CleanTech Clusters: How Innovation and Investment Can Promote Job Growth and a Healthy Environment" today, during the group's three-day Washington visit to meet with public officials. (The report is available at www.e2.org and www.cleantech.com)
The report also noted that while California continued to lead the country in venture-backed clean tech startups, states in the Northeast and the Midwest are jumping on the bandwagon: In 2005, investors in the heartlands more than doubled their support for clean technologies.