Doing Well by Doing Good
These days, there's growing interest in the financial world investment in renewables as reported in this article,
Time to clean up?
, Financial Times (6/22/2005). As the article reports:
Things are now looking very different. This month Novera listed on London's Alternative Investment Market, while the same day saw the flotation on the same market of Renova Energy, an American company that makes fuel from plants.
The two companies join a tiny but growing band of listed small and start-up entrepreneurial companies specialising in technologies that lower emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. So far, the sums raised by the two newly listed companies have been modest - Pounds 5.3m for Novera, Pounds 7m for Renova - but the growing interest of investors in the field they represent is bringing billions to renewable energy companies the world over. "The level of interest and awareness has gone up enormously," says Mr Scaysbrook.
The worldwide markets for three clean energy types - solar energy using photovoltaic systems which turn light into electricity; wind power; and fuel cells, which turn hydrogen or alcohol into electricity - were worth Dollars 9.5bn in 2002 and just over Dollars 16bn in 2004, according to research from Clean Edge, a research company. Equity investment in clean technologies - which include renewable energy such as wind and solar power and technologies such as techniques to capture and burn the gas generated by landfill waste - was worth Dollars 1.2bn in 2004 and accounted for around 6 per cent of total venture capital investment, according to the CleanTech Venture Network, which monitors investment in this area.
It is not just small companies that are investing in clean technology products. Last month General Electric surprised investors with the announcement of Ecoimagination, a project that will see GE double its investment in energy efficient and environmental technology to Dollars 1.5bn by 2010. Launching the project, Jeff Immelt, chief executive, said: "Our customers want a more prosperous, cleaner future . . . We are taking a new approach to solving some of our customers' toughest environmental problems."
It's not clear whether these companies are committed to a cleaner future or just see lucrative potential. But the article brings home the point that these days, the renewable industry is robust enough to allow investors to do well by doing good.