Friday, 8 June 2007

US entrepreneurs call for more support

Another new report on cleantech investment, from US business network Environmental Entrepreneurs and the Cleantech Group. This one concentrates on how public policy has accelerated growth of the sector, with a useful overview of public support in three main strands: building demand, directly or indirectly; providing financial support, directly or indirectly, to cleantech companies; and providing business development and other indirect assistance.

It also makes various recommendations for what the federal government could be doing to improve the environment and the fortunes of cleantech companies (cynics might question the ordering of those two priorities, of course...). The first is for a mandatory national carbon cap - a call that George Bush evidently hasn't been listening to, judging by this week's G8 shenanigans. There's also calls for a national renewable energy standard, and more public investment for cleantech R&D.

The importance of state support and direct investment for the growing cleantech sector is something I touch on in a new post over on the Cleanergy blog, looking at the recent Carbon Trust report on European investment:
The UK has seen the largest growth in Europe, although still less than the US. That may be thanks to the role of venture funds backed by public money, notably the Carbon Trust itself - over 45% of UK cleantech deals have been backed by public sector investors, according to an earlier study by venture specialists Library House. The European average is just 14.7%, leading to calls for more government support for young cleantech companies.

Does UK cleantech need more public money, or is there a risk of crowding out the commercial VCs? If you've any thoughts, add them below.

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