According to Ernst & Young’s analysis of activity in the United States, Europe, China and Israel; venture capital investment in cleantech companies reached AUD$6.74 billion in the first three quarters of 2008; an increase of 82% compared with the same period in 2007. The figure also represents 13% of all venture capital investment in the countries studied.
In the USA, energy/electricity generation attracted the most investment,; with solar companies being the largest component, boasting an increase of 152% in capital and 17% in financing over the same period last year. The extension of tax credits for solar power, wind energy, geothermal, biomass and other renewable energy projects played an important role in investment growth.
Energy and electricity also attracted the largest share of cleantech investment in Europe, with wind power being the leading sector. The European solar industry also greatly benefited from AUD$284.7 million of investment. The European cleantech industry was bolstered by events such as the UK passing legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and the EU reaffirming their commitment to obtaining at least 20% of energy from renewable sources.
It was a similar story in China and Israel where again the energy/electricity generation category attracted the most cash, with solar power being the largest component in both nations.
Germany to lead the world into 2009
While the USA experienced massive growth in renewable energy related investment during the first three quarters of 2008, the economic crisis is now hitting hard. According to Ernst & Young’s latest Renewable energy country attractiveness indices, the US has now lost the number 1 slot as being the most attractive country for renewables investment, having been overtaken by Germany.
As well as the continuation of a generous gross feed in tariff program, Germany’s government has also announced plans to build 33 offshore wind farms as part of its efforts to achieve 25 gigawatts from wind by 2030; although Ernst & Young warn that the new developments may be delayed as the ongoing financial crisis stems the flow of capital and funding