Three Conferences and an Outlook
Take a look at ACORE -- -- and you'll get an idea of the thriving health of the clean tech sector. Five years ago, ACORE did not exist. Now, the umbrella trade group's three annual conferences are booming affairs: a trade show in Las Vegas for the clean tech companies to sell their wares, an investor conference in New York City flooded with business suits from Wall Street, and an SRO policy conference in Washington, held in a Senate office building. The following emerge out of the policy conference in 2006:
600 gigawatts of new electric generating capacity AND 40% of the nation's transportation fuels
Okay, ACORE is a trade organization, and those are awfully bullish numbers supplied by its members, without hard core economic analysis. But it's the kind of message that has gotten the US State Department -- otherwise deaf to global warming -- to take action. Watch in March 2008 as Condoleeza hosts the , billed as the largest renewable energy expo ever in the US.
The last ingredient contributing to the success of clean tech? Venture capital. It's more than doubled its investment in clean tech over the last two years, reaching $2.9 billion in 2007. After biotech and computing, clean tech is where most smart money -- like Vinod Khosla's, of Silicon Valley fame -- is flowing. Here's what John Doerr, whose VC firm got rich from investments in Google and Amazon thinks about clean energy: "it's the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century."
The big banks are also starting to recognize the immense opportunity at hand. investment opportunity; the clean energy will create a market worth $1 trillion by 2030.
Time to Change the Rules
For decades after the oil embargo, the US Department of Energy sunk billions in clean tech R&D. US entrepreneurs didn't much care. But the Europeans and the Japanese knew a good thing when they saw it. They snatched up the research, commercialized the innovations and today stand at the top of the clean tech heap. From a competitive standpoint, America is in catch-up mode.
All that's needed now is the national legislation to provide tax breaks and research subsidies for clean tech -- the very things now still enjoyed by oil and gas companies. Change the rules and there's a good chance ACORE's bullish outlook will come true.