November 9, 2010

Green Job Trends – the “Most Likely to Succeed”

Green Industry / Job Trends

This month, we call your attention to the 2010 Global Cleantech 100 Report –  published 10/12/2010 by the Cleantech Group.

The “Most Likely to Succeed” Cleantech Companies

The Cleantech Group puts out a list annually of the top 100 cleantech companies. Ranked by the cleantech community and industry insiders, the goal is to showcase the “most likely to succeed” private companies. The Lust List represents the crème de la crème; 2010 features Silver Spring Networks, Zipcar, Opower, Bridgelux, and BrightSource Energy.  This report highlights several interesting trends such as geographical and sectorial movement, venture capital investment and return, and effects of the government investment in the industry.

Dynamic Industries

57 of 100 companies are North American (55 are from the U.S., with California leading with 33 companies, followed by Massachusetts with 8 ) which is a slight increase. Asia too gained representation on the list. Tellingly there are now 3 Chinese companies named which underscores the phenomenon of offshore manufacturing’s potential to breed a community of innovation. The Cleantech report identifies this shift as a move from ’Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’.

Energy Efficiency (15) companies overtook Solar as the hottest cleantech sub-sector, with Biofuels catching up to Solar (14). Representation on the Global 100 report as then followed by Energy Storage (11), Energy Infrastructure/Smart Grid (10) and Water & Wastewater (80.  Renewable Energy companies held 33 of the 100 positions, down from 37, which is attributed to a diversification of attention to broader cleantech and resource efficiency companies.

Private Investment Landscape

Reportedly $14.24 billion venture and growth capital has been raised by 1,047 cleantech companies from mid-2008 to mid-2010, with a significant rise in number of deals and dollars invested in the first two quarters of 2010. Venture capital returns are quite different from those in IT, with much smaller multipliers at exit. Mergers and Acquisitions, as well as partnerships, corporate investments and licensing agreements are occurring as part of the growth paths. Participation by corporations such as Google, GE, IBM, PG&E, Siemens and others are helping to bring innovative ideas to scale.

Government Investment and Support

The report also comments on some of the Department of Energy investment and Stimulus Act beneficiaries, in the form of both direct funding and project budgets to clients. Silver Spring Networks whose smart grid projects around the US have been the indirect beneficiaries of said funding. BrightSource Energy’s solar thermal project in Southern California received direct support in the form of a $1.37 billion loan guarantee; 140,000 California homes will be powered, 1,000 union jobs created, and $400 million in state and local tax revenue generated. The DOE has funded 19 biomass projects to the tune of $564 m to build plants around the US. Electric vehicles, solar thin-film PV technology, energy storage projects, and sustainable materials companies in the US have also received grants and loan guarantees, as part of the US Government’s active investment in the cleantech industry.

Read the entire 2010 Global Cleantech 100 Report on the Cleantech Group LLC website.

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