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Cleantech gets its place under the sun. PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 June 2007 10:39

The article I wrote below appeared in the May 2007 issue of Ethical Investor.

But after attending the 3rd Cleantech shindig. Mitra Ardron thinks the best deals are getting away.

Most pitch-fest presentations were strong and interesting; particularly MicroFlow, Anzode’s Zinc and Biopower.

Last month’s 3rd AustralAsian Cleantech Forum brought about 230 fund managers, investors and investees, regulators and consultants together in Melbourne to review the sector, its growth and prospects. But did they get what they were looking for?

The opening session set a theme for the conference as a whole. Gerry Morvell from the Australian Greenhouse Office attempted to convince the audience of the Federal Government’s commitment to the issue, and of the relevance of its Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. But as other speakers showed, drastic emission reductions are not only possible, but profitable.

Theo Theophaneous, the Victorian minister for Industry, was better received based on recent Victorian proposals for clear, if inadequate, targets of 60% cuts in emissions, by 2050. Theophaneous also made the important statement that environmental challenges bring both costs and opportunities, which the Victorian government is keen to take advantage of. Of course, politics is politics. Theophaneous concluded that renewables could not meet all of Australia’s needs, and that so-called “Clean Coal” (in particular gasification of brown coal) will need to pick up the difference, and save at least 30% of the emissions.

This point was challenged by Terry Tamminen – advisor to California’s Governor Schwarzenegger, who questioned what would happen to the 70% remaining emissions. Tamminen as the architect of the Governator’s environment policy was clearly keen that California would take advantage of the mobility of industries seeking a regional Government that is more favourable to renewables.

Then Clint Wilder from Clean Edge, pointed out that 10% of US venture capital investment now goes to cleantech (up from 1% in 1997) and that in 2004 the US had 115,000 jobs in clean energy compared with 80,000 in coal. And he hypothesised that with the automation of most mines combined with even a modest move to renewables, a similar change in the green vs brown jobs balance would emerge in Australia. to read onget the PDF.