Report: Clean Technology Venture Investment Totaled $5.6 Billion In 2009

Clean technology venture investments for 2009 in North America, Europe, China and India totaled $5.6 billion in 557 deals, according to preliminary results released by The Cleantech Group and Deloitte.

The preliminary total is expected to increase by 5% to 10% once investors fully announce their activity (as in previous years), which would make 2009 a record year for the number of cleantech venture capital (VC) deals, and approximately equal to 2007's numbers for total amount invested, according to the Cleantech Group.

‘Record levels of activity from investors, governments and corporations in 2009 demonstrated that the market for clean technologies continues to strengthen, regardless of any non-binding global climate change agreement,’ says Nicholas Parker, executive chairman of The Cleantech Group. ‘In parallel to trying to reach carbon agreements, governments spent the year earmarking hundreds of billions of dollars for clean technology in pursuit of economic growth.’

Venture investment in 2009 was down 33% from $8.5 billion in 2008, paralleling the global economic decline of the same period. However, investment in cleantech declined less than investment in other sectors.

While overall venture capital has retreated back to 2003 levels, according to the U.S. National Venture Capital Association, cleantech venture capital has been reset only to 2007 levels. Preliminary results for the fourth quarter (4Q) 2009 indicate venture investment commitments worldwide of $1.3 billion across 147 disclosed investments, down 27% from the third quarter of 2009 and consistent with a seasonal 4Q decline of previous years.

Cleantech venture investment was buoyed by increasing corporate and utility investment, amid the financial crunch and economic crisis. Wind energy, which was the sector most heavily invested in by U.S. utilities in 2008, continued to be a significant investment sector for utilities in 2009, trailed by investments in solar thermal and PV.

North America's share of clean technology venture capital was down from 72% in 2008 to 62% – a four-year low. North America continued to attract the largest percentage of clean technology venture capital in 2009, with Europe and Israel in second place, followed by China (6%) and India (3%).

The leading state for investment was California ($2.1 billion invested in 116 deals – a decrease of 38% from 2008), followed by Massachusetts ($356 million invested in 27 deals – an increase of 21% from 2008) and Texas ($170 million invested in 19 deals – an increase of 93% from 2008).

SOURCE: The Cleantech Group LLC

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