photo: Todd Woody
In The New York Times on Friday, I write about a report showing venture capital investment in green technology companies nose-dived in the third quarter of 2010, with California taking a big hit:
Has the green tech recovery stalled?
Global venture capital investment in green technology companies fell 30 percent, to $1.53 billion, in the third quarter of 2010, according to a preliminary report issued Friday by the Cleantech Group, a San Francisco-based research and consulting firm.
The amount invested in North America, Europe, China, India and Israel in the third quarter is also 11 percent below the year-ago quarter, when investment tanked amid the recession.
The numbers are striking, given that investment in green-tech startups soared in the first half of this year, surpassing records set in 2008 at the height of the clean technology boom.
“Much like we see globally, I think businesses and investors are grappling a little bit with a recovery that hasn’t yet taken off, and I think people are trying to figure out how quickly will the growth occur,” Sheeraz Haji, president of the Cleantech Group, said during a conference call Friday. “I think we’re seeing a little bit of the same in clean tech.”
California, an epicenter of green technology innovation, suffered a precipitous decline, with investment falling 61 percent.
Mr. Haji questioned whether uncertainty over the fate of California’s global warming law, known as A.B. 32, played a role in the falloff in investment. A measure on the November ballot, Proposition 23, would suspend A.B. 32 until the state unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.
“We can’t help but wonder that uncertainty around Prop 23 has impacted that,” he said, cautioning that it is difficult to draw hard conclusions based on one quarter’s data. “
The global warming law requires California to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Mr. Haji noted that venture investment soared after the law’s enactment in 2006 as investors poured money into solar startups and companies developing energy efficiency services and electric cars.
Even so, investors put $452 million into California companies in the third quarter, versus $126 million for second-place Texas.
While the rest of North America experienced a rise in investment in the third quarter, California’s poor performance led to a 42 percent decline for the region as a whole.
Not so with Asia. For instance, investment in China jumped to $153 million in the third quarter from $30 million in the second quarter of 2010.
You can read the rest of the story here.