Regrettably, Canada defied 2008 cleantech investment trends
2008 was a record year for global cleantech venture investment. According to Cleantech Group, LLC, venture investment in clean technology in North America, Europe, China and India totalled $8.4 billion, up 38% from $6.1 billion in 2007. Nicholas Parker, Executive Chairman of Cleantech Group, described 2008 as "a quantum leap in talent, resources and institutional appetite for clean technologies", and concluded that "now, more than ever, clean technologies represent the biggest opportunities for job and wealth creation.”
However, Canada appears to have defied the trend in 2008. Despite the global growth, cleantech investment in Canada plummeted by 58% from 2007 to a mere $159 million in 14 disclosed rounds. This retreat by venture investors occurred despite ongoing support from the government, for example through Sustainable Development Technology Canada whose latest round of funding pumped $57 million into 19 cleantech projects.
Many commentators are offering their predictions for the coming year: for example, see Cleantech Group and Toronto Star columnist Tyler Hamilton. Both share a cautious optimism about the level of venture investment in 2009, but concede that even the cleantech sector, which has boomed for years, may contract slightly in the wake of the financial crisis.