LOS ANGELES Investments in environmentally
friendly "clean-tech" companies rose 44 percent to more than $5
billion last year as soaring oil prices, climate change
concerns and government incentives boosted interest in
renewable energy, an industry group said.
The Cleantech Group LLC, whose members include venture
capital firms, investment banks, and other investors, on
Thursday said 2007 venture investment in the alternative energy
market in North America and Europe was $5.18 billion, compared
with $3.6 billion the previous year.
The 2006 rise was also 44 percent.
The number of financing deals in the industry increased 15
percent last year to 268, and the average deal size rose 20
percent to $14.7 million, Cleantech said.
Energy generation companies were the biggest recipients,
racking up financing of $2.75 billion, the group said. Solar,
wind and biofuels were among the alternative generation
industries to receive venture funding, according to John
Balbach, a managing partner at the Cleantech Group.
"This market is beginning to pick up speed as the numbers
of technologies and solutions are increasing," Balbach said.
Second on the list were energy storage companies with $471
million in funding, followed by transportation firms with $445
"More new car companies were financed in the last 12 months
than probably in the last 50 or 60 years," Balbach said,
calling the growth of investments in electric and other "green"
vehicles "a significant trend."
Energy efficiency companies were fourth on the list with
total financing of $356 million, and recycling & waste
companies were number five with $291 million, Cleantech said.
Investment in the industry is expected to grow at a 20
percent to 30 percent clip annually, Balbach said, adding that
increasing amounts of funding would be directed into companies
in China and India.
Water companies and those focused on "green" buildings are
also major growth opportunities, Balbach added.
(Reporting by Nichola Groom, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)