With some analysts estimating the global cleantech market to hit $2 trillion by 2030, one has to wonder which countries are the big players. Shawn Lesser of Sustainable World Capital explains who they are and why--and some might come as a surprise.
In an article for Cleantech.com, he outlines his criteria for ranking each country: government initiatives and programs, large investment mandates, entrepreneurial innovation and cultural and social drivers.
No surprise that the countries at the top of the list are those who have been addressing these very things for a long time. The top three: Denmark, Sweden, and Germany.
1. Denmark has a national goal of becoming 100 percent fossil fuel free; the Danes are Europe's largest exporters of energy technology and the birthplace of wind technology. The Danish wind industry accounts for approximately one-third of the world market.
2. Germany is the solar capital of the world with over half of all global solar energy produced there. Led by powerful government initiatives such as the feed-in tariff program, In 2008, 10 percent of the energy consumed in Germany was produced from renewable resources. Germany also toppped European countries for cleantech investment in 2008, with $383 million in capital.
3. Sweden boasts 43.3 percent of its total energy consumption coming from renewable sources. The city of Malmo is a true example of cleantech living (pdf)--with 39.9 percent of its energy consumption covered by renewable energy. Sweden has two internationally renowned sustainable city projects: City of Tomorrow in Malmo and the award-winning Hammarby Waterfront in Stockholm.
4. The United Kingdom aims to achieve a 60 percent reduction in UK carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, and carbon neutrality by 2012 for the government's office estate. The UK is also in the running for the financial hub of cleantech with well respected firms such as Generation Investment Management (co-founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore) and Virgin Green Fund (founded by entrepreneur billionaire Sir Richard Branson).
5. Israel, the 'Silicon Valley' of water technology, is fast becoming the cleantech incubator to the world. Israel recycles 75 percent of its waste-water, invented drip irrigation, and is home to the world's largest reverse osmosis desalination plant. Electric Vehicle company, Better Place, is also making Israel the first test-market for a nationwide electric vehicle recharge network.
6. Switzerland led the way the with a specialized fund more than 10 years ago, and is now home to a huge pool of cleantech money. Intertwined with a historic culture for sustainability and 56 percent of all electricity coming from hydro power, Switzerland has positioned itself to take advantage of the cleantech revolution.
7. The United States, with American-based Venture Capital groups pouring about $5.9 billion of new investments into the sector in 2008, leads the world with 70 percent of total global investment. Some of the big investors: Nth Power, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, RockPort Capital Partners, and Khosla Ventures.
8. United Arab Emirates are not the greenest nation in the world today, but they are taking bold steps to position themselves as a renewable energy hub of tomorrow. Led by CEO Sultan Al Jaber in 2006, Abu Dhabi established Masdar City, a $15 billion development that is expected to become the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste city and be home to more than 1,500 renewable energy-related companies.
9. China's six biggest solar companies have a combined value of more than $15 billion. An abundant resource in hydro power, wind, solar, biofuel, geothermal and tidal energies, China aims to raise its renewable share to 10 percent in 2010 and 15 percent in 2020. China's hydro potential ranks first in the world and it has the largest wind resources in the world--three-quarters of them offshore.
10. Canada is the world's second largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world. Some provinces such as Quebec, Manitoba, Newfoundland & Labrador, and the Yukon produce more than 90 percent of their electricity from hydro. The Canadian government has implemented a unique program called the $1 billion Sustainable Development Technology Canada fund--a not-for-profit foundation that finances and supports the development of clean technologies.
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