In October, Third Way raised alarms that a decline in early stage venture capital investment in clean energy technologies threatened America’s ability to compete in the $2.3 trillion global clean energy market. Some in the clean energy community dismissed this warning, citing the massive growth of wind and solar capacity in the United States over the past 10 years. Others challenged the importance of early stage investments. They interpreted the decline in funding for new start-ups as a sign that investors were simply shifting their capital into cleantech companies that were nearing their initial public offerings.
As long-time advocates of moving the United States to clean energy, we would be thrilled if either thesis was correct. Unfortunately, new analyses on the state of renewables in 2011 and venture investment show how far the United States has left to go.
The National Renewable Energy Labs just released its look at renewable energy deployment from 2000-2010. There’s a lot of good news. Solar and wind generation have spread more quickly than the Honey Badger video. The cost — particularly of solar photovoltaic — is dropping so fast that... Read more