• Robert O'Brien

Increased Investment in ‘CleanTech’ Good for Innovators in ScaleUp mode


CleanTech has generated additional financial commitment from venture capital for innovative products recently. These results were detailed in a Boston Globe article Sunday and in recent Bloomberg Businessweek publications. This is particularly impressive in light of falling and low oil prices which cut into product paybacks and value equations. While impressive, what remains missing in the energy world is a clear and comprehensive energy plan in the US; and then further coordinated with individual states’ plans. Let’s start with the US and create an example for the world to follow versus a complex debate about whether temperatures are rising and who is to blame. Unfortunately, the energy world remains dominated by utilities and very large energy companies – both in need of government oversight and coordination – part of the plan.

Resolute Marine Energy (www.resolutemarine.com) is one of those companies developing an ocean wave energy product as a viable and renewable source. The energy generated is utilized at project site to create potable water from sea water. Energy is not a new concept and has repeatedly required government subsidies to become viable. These subsidies have existed for so long they are now considered ‘normal’ and expected by utilities and energy companies. New subsidies remain inconsistent and less than reliable for these new innovative technologies to depend on. In fact, utilities have represented obstacles to the development and scale up of renewable energy technologies, because their best interests are put ahead of American’s best interests, in spite of years of subsidies coming from Americans to utilities.

The US government needs to stop the debate about the existence of ‘global climate disruption’ being caused by human activities and address this potential catastrophe – inside the US and then globally. Further, this PLAN must be coordinated and in cooperation with every single US state – need and energy profile. States individually only scratch the surfaces and address their own unique resources circumstances. Renewable energy sources and related technologies cannot solve centuries of environmental abuse. But, by coupling both prevention of further disregard for environmental damage existing today with new clean sources of fuels will result in positive momentum and results.

The momentum generated by a clear energy plan’s execution will result in greater demand for these products and a reliable and consistent approach for businesses – large and small – to embrace and execute. This will go much further than venture capital investment. This could create an economy not needing as many subsidies and an opportunity to end existing subsidies to dirty fuel companies. There was a time eight years ago when a presidential candidate claimed to be authoring such a plan, nothing has resulted in eight years, and the clean tech economy stumbles along like the overall economy…….and the earth’s temperature keeps going up.

I look forward to the candidate who commits to such a plan and then will hold him/herself accountable for delivering it. Continued debate about environmental impact dominated by special interests is a waste of time. Next would be a push for states to align their activities with the national plan. Finally, the US example could be rolled out globally. This would provide the real oxygen needed for the cleantech industry.

#cleantech #venturecapital #energy

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