Peter Neigh, founder of Lightspeed, covers cleantech trends we’ll likely see this year.
Venture investment in the relatively new space being called clean technology (cleantech) reached a record $8.4 billion in North America alone in 2008. What will 2009 look like for cleantech? Venture capital firm, Lightspeed, has shared their take on what's to come this year in the green investment sector. With cleantech capital in areas like solar, biofuels, energy storage, and LED lighting, Lightspeed has a vested interest in seeing clean forms of energy generation and technology succeed.
They predict the recession will inevitably affect cleantech funding's pace as hedge funds, private equity funds, project financiers and debt providers take a more modest approach with their lending. This could force many green startups to get creative with their growth strategies such as turning to more established energy enterprises as development partners, funding sources, distribution partners or acquirers. The downturn may also compel cleantech startups to lower their prices in order to compete with traditional energy sources, and to maintain sales with the now penny pinching public.
But it's not all fire and brimstone for eco-minded entrepreneurs who want to make the world a better place. Energy storage, especially for automotive and grid-scale applications, is expected to capture investor interest and grow significantly in 2009. Also expected to grow are the seeds currently being sown in the form of important U.S. energy policies, laying the ground work for the next decade of sustainable change. Thanks in part to policymakers around the country beginning to increase their support as they come to terms with the severity of the climate change crisis and the measures which must be taken to address it. "We expect that the federal government will move to formalize a venture capital-like arm to invest in promising cleantech startups, with particular emphasis on commercialization as opposed to research & development" said Peter Neigh, founder of Lightspeed. Read more cleantech predictions for 2009 here.
Successful products provide consumers and businesses with solutions to problems large and small, personal and universal. Those solutions evoke competition and lead to further innovation and efficiencies. The cleantech sector is a fundamental cornerstone in addressing the largest issue currently facing humanity, climate change. I feel honored to be a part of providing clean choices which give people the opportunity to make a real difference.
Holly Stewart is Creative Director for Renewable Choice Energy.