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Latest Cleantech Funding Woes Spark Fears Of Industry Slide

Publication Date: 
May 11, 2013
San Jose Mercury News
Peter Delevett

Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, spoke with the San Jose Mercury News's Peter Delevett about the decline of venture capitalist investments in clean energy companies and how this threatens the future of "cleantech" start-ups and clean energy technologies.

With fossil fuels growing scarce and global warming concerns on the rise, you might think investing in wind power, solar and biofuels would be a no-brainer for Silicon Valley.

But venture capitalists here and around the country are bailing out of cleantech in droves, spooked by low returns and an uncertain political landscape.

"It's quite worrisome," said Dan Reicher, head of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy at Stanford and a former assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Energy. "There are serious economic, environmental and security needs in the clean energy area, and the venture community has been vital in recent years in getting these technologies started."


Since venture capitalists often make the earliest bets on new technologies, Reicher and others worry that if the trend continues, many emerging companies that are tackling a host of environmental problems could die on the vine. Other startups might never be funded at all.