Increasing demands for energy, threats to global security and concerns about the environment are the driving forces behind the rise of various clean technologies. The global market for cleantech in 2010 was estimated to be about $1 trillion and is projected to grow to as much as $3 trillion in sales by 2020. It is anticipated through a number of sector economic development and forecasting reports, that by 2020 the cleantech sector will be the third largest industry, internationally. This would place it behind energy (oil and gas) and arms (guns, tanks and military weapons).
The wealth of talent in the region has helped give rise to the Worlds cleantech sector, whose breakout technologies are providing competitive and environmentally responsible solutions in the areas of:
- renewable energy generation, energy infrastructure and energy efficiency
- water treatment, waste diversion, conversion and management, and
- remediation, green buildings and resource efficiency in built environments.
WWF assessed 38 countries using 15 indicators related to developing of green solutions companies, such as public policies and regulations, financial incentives for private, academic incentives, private investment in the sector, and number of environment patents registered, among others. The survey “Global Cleantech Innovation Index” shows that the renewable energy sector is the main catalyst of green investments: 77% of the total invested in cleantech in 2010, for example, was for the generation of renewable energy. In the ranking, Brazil was in 25th place, as a country “very strong corporate business culture, but low investment in innovation and research and development.”
Interestingly, the first places in the ranking of green innovation are dominated by small countries, but with potential to make major changes towards a more sustainable future. The leadership of Denmark is explained by the ability to support new companies developing clean technologies aware, until this becomes profitable and benefit both, the economy and the environment. In Denmark, Sweden and Israel the wind energy sector is one of the most advanced and, according to the government’s ambitious plan to reduce its emissions by 40% by 2020; the winds are expected to contribute more than half of energy consumption over the next decade. On the issue of pioneering, it is noteworthy that the Copenhagen was the first in the world to promote the public lending of bicycles, a model that was later copied by major cities such as Barcelona, Berlin, Paris and Rio de Janeiro.
The fifth place ranking in green was the United States, which last year recorded a significant increase in investments in the sector, an increase of 31%. Among the American states, what stands out most is, of course, California, the most bustling hub of clean technologies. Last year, the state received a total of U$ 3.7 billion in investment, more than half (54%) of the total invested in the sector across the U.S.
Although announced his departure from the group of signatories of the Kyoto Protocol during the last UN climate meeting in Durban, South Africa, Canada has been striving to develop cutting-edge green technology in recent years. The country has a series of incentives and investments in clean technology as a practice for capturing and storing carbon. Regarding renewable energy, Canada is the ninth largest country with installed wind power capacity, about 5200 MW, representing 2.2% of the world total.
In tenth place on the ranking of clean technologies, the United Kingdom promises to inspire Brazil and the world with environmental solutions that England implemented to build the Olympic Park. In the list enter Projects of the decontamination of soil, arenas fully recyclable and a modern system of electric transportation in the area of the main London airport. Moreover, the country has an enthusiastic entrepreneur with new technologies. A survey by consultancy Carbon Trust showed that 99% of British business leaders see growth opportunities in the development and use of green technologies. In the race for renewable energy, the country is the sixth most attractive investment, ranking second at Ernst & Young.
When deciding where to invest your money, you weigh the potential return against the risk. Money market accounts offer minimal risk but modest returns, while corporate stocks typically produce much higher returns at the cost of greater risk. Corporations considering major capital outlays essentially weigh the same factors, except for one caveat: low expected returns are rarely tolerated, because they act as a drag on the company’s earnings and growth.
In this context, do renewable-energy projects make the cut as a smart capital investment? The short answer is: they never have in the past. For many years, utilities, retailers, manufacturers, and other companies with high energy demands avoided solar, wind, and biomass precisely because those technologies were too expensive, a money-losing proposition both in the short and the long term. When it comes to renewables, any return on investment is measured by money saved compared with what would have been spent on traditional forms of energy over a period of years. No savings, no return.
Cleantech is focused in a handful of industries today, but is likely to grow as consumers, governments and businesses demand products and services that are more efficient, environmentally cleaner and cheaper.
Investing in cleantech does not mean investors have to sacrifice returns. Instead, the potential for cleantech is broad and likely to expand because it can add to both a company’s bottom line and bring greenbacks to an investor’s portfolio.
First Solar has the largest project pipeline in North America; SunPower possesses industry-leading technology; and MEMC has made a strong financial comeback since near-bankruptcy a decade ago.
Maker of filtration products and communication systems, is an established business generating cash, Hardy said. Its filtration products include depth filters, membrane-based microfiltration products and precision-screen filters. It markets internationally to the healthcare and transportation industries, among others.
Most green subsectors are high-growth and new, which means far more losers than winners, as was the case with carmakers in business during the 1920s, said Coven. His job is to find the winners.
Big companies such as Wal-Mart Stores are putting millions of dollars into solar panels to help control the price of their energy, Wesoff summed up. “Companies make these investments because they find it is good business.
The private sector is a key player in the CTF, with 30% of all investment plan allocations going to private sector projects and programs specified in these plans. In 2014, the CIF embarked on new financing paths that put greater emphasis on reducing barriers to private sector participation. The Dedicated Private Sector Programs (DPSP) under the CTF were created to finance operations that can deliver scale and speed while maintaining country priorities. The DPSP are currently in their second phase and have allocated a total of $ 508.5 million to eight programs reaching countries as diverse as Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Haiti , Honduras, Ghana, and Mali.
One area where the U.S. continues to lead is in clean energy patents; the country holds about half of the approximately 8,800 patents. The U.S. also still commands about 80 percent of venture capital investment, with energy smart and energy efficiency technologies leading the pack in 2013-2014.
Clean energy investment in the European region, which is comprised of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, slid sharply for the second year in a row. It fell 42 percent, to $55 billion, less than half the region’s 2011 record of $115 billion. Investment levels declined sharply in once-vibrant markets, with levels in Germany down 55 percent and Italy 75 percent. In contrast, the Asia and Oceania region continued to grow steadily in 2013, with levels increasing 10 percent, to $102 billion. China continued to be the leading regional and global market, attracting $54.2 billion in 2013. Japan experienced the fastest investment growth in the world, increasing 80 percent, to almost $29 billion.