Investment in U.S. Cleantech Up 73% This Quarter: $1.1 Billion Went to Clean Energy Projects

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Venture capitalists have invested $1.1 billion in the cleantech sector this quarter. That's up a remarkable 73% compared to the same quarter last year. In other words, no matter how many shoddy 'scandal-making' news segments the media tries to spin out, they can't bury the facts: The clean energy sector is one of most promising, fastest-growing industries in the nation, and investors remained undeterred to finance it.

Here's Ernst & Young's report:

US venture capital (VC) investment in cleantech companies increased by 73% to $1.1 billion in Q3 2011 compared to Q3 2010, while deals also increased by 36% to 76, according to an Ernst & Young LLP analysis based on data from Dow Jones VentureSource. On a consecutive quarter basis, dollars invested in Q3 2011 is 4% above the amount in Q2 2011.

“Confidence in cleantech investing continues despite the challenging investment market. We saw significant commitments in energy storage, which reflects a growing corporate focus on proactively managing their energy mix,” said Jay Spencer, Ernst & Young LLP’s Americas Cleantech Director.

Much of the investment was in energy storage technology, which is exciting news in and of itself. Energy storage projects are on the rise, and the U.S. is already slated to get two huge batteries for storing wind power. These batteries, once scaled-up, will rob clean energy naysayers with their favorite attacks: Well, what do you do when the sun's not shining? When the wind's not blowing?

Easy. You turn to the clean power stored in a giant lithium ion battery. Or in molten salt, if we're talking concentrated solar. Or in any number of storage projects that are promising enough to inspire VCs to whip out their checkbooks. Those VCs also invested heavily in renewable energy generation and energy efficiency projects, indicating that the standard sector is still hot, too.

Moral of the story: Don't pay too much credence to the breathless 'scandal' coverage lead by Fox News, Politico, and even some mainstream media outlets that seeks to paint the cleantech sector as a substance-free boondoggle. The researchers, cleantech companies, and investors who are actually in the trenches have a much simpler, far less dubious conclusion: Renewable energy is the future.

Tags: Renewable Energy

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