Clean Energy Has Investors Seeing Green

Fuel cells, photovoltaics and wind turbines are drawing increased attention from venture capitalists, according to joint research gathered by two San Francisco organizations. While overall venture capital investing declined between 2002 and 2003, the portion targeting renewable-energy technology has increased, drawing 2.

06/01/2004


Fuel cells, photovoltaics and wind turbines are drawing increased attention from venture capitalists, according to joint research gathered by two San Francisco organizations. While overall venture capital investing declined between 2002 and 2003, the portion targeting renewable-energy technology has increased, drawing 2.4% of U.S. private-equity investments in 2003, as compared to 2.1% in 2002.

In dollar figures, 2003 renewable-energy venture-capital investments totaled $526 million, with $428 million of that occurring in the United States, according to Clean Edge, an energy consulting company, and Nth Power Technologies, an energy-investment firm.

Nth Power says it has approximately $250 million invested in 22 companies. Though not all of these companies are involved in renewable technologies, several are developing hydrogen fuel cells. According to a recent Miami Herald article, Nth Technology's investments return an average of 15% annually, matching standard venture capital results.

Examples of recent investment efforts include a major commitment from the California Public Employees Retirement System, the nation's largest pension fund, which announced in March that it will be investing $200 million in clean technology over the next several years. Smaller programs include $2 million invested by Denver-based Altira Group in a home-scale wind turbine being developed by Southwest Windpower in Flagstaff, Ariz.





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