A generation ago the economies in Latin America, Africa, India and China were stagnant and left billions in poverty and provided few opportunities for the vast majority of their citizens to build a better life. Fast forward to this decade, and the global financial landscape has drastically changed.
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While there have been 100s of solar powered mobile device chargers put out on the market, Charger’s new system has done what’s needed to happen all along: Allow your device to be charged at your convenience, rather then when you happen to be out in the sun. Add competitive and social aspects, along with tangible real world rewards, and this has potential for huge impact.
Put your CFL into a big slot in the vending machine, a video camera fitted inside identifies the bulb so it can be sorted, and then you receive a voucher for a free cup of coffee.
Oversupply, a precipitous price drop and high-profile bankruptcies notwithstanding, venture capital (VC) investments in the US solar sector set a record in 2011, with 182 different VC firms participating in 111 transactions. Conditions might well get worse before they get better, however, according to a Mercom Capital Group report.
While Harvard’s most well-known innovative (droped-off) student was at the center of media frenzy last week, the university is already thinking on the new Zuckerbergs. Harvard is hoping to nurture the culture of innovation in campus through a new innovation lab (i-lab), aiming to foster team-based and entrepreneurial activities and deepen interactions among Harvard students, faculty and entrepreneurs.
Consumers in emerging markets increasingly demand – as they should – products designed to meet their specific needs rather than ones patched together or retro-fitted from existing ones.
Venture capital investments in US cleantech fell 4.5% in 2011, though transaction numbers held steady, according to Ernst & Young, a relative victory given the difficult economic, market and industry conditions.
Renewable energy merger and acquisitions surged 40% in 2011, with solar energy and energy efficiency leading the way, according to a PwC report. Larger, billion-dollar, deals dominated, a sign of the sector’s increasing maturity, but persistent EU debt problems and overcapacity will continue to plague the sector and M&A in 2012, PwC believes.
Today we’re faced with a double crisis – environmental and economic, and all across the world there’s a tug of war between the need for sustained economic growth and the imperative for environmental protection.
Here in Abu Dhabi, through the investment arm of Masdar, Masdar Capital, we continue to see interesting opportunities for cleantech investing, and a number of worthy renewable energy projects both within the region and around the world.
At the VerdeXchange Marketmakers Conference that took place in downtown Los Angeles this week, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gave a keynote speech to an audience of about 500 industry leaders working to build and shape the green economy of Los Angeles and the nation. In his presentation, Mayor Villaraigosa explained how his focus on developing Los Angeles’s clean technology market is helping him address some of the biggest challenges facing the city.
How can we successfully rise to these challenges? In theory, development that is sustainable and not damaging to the planet is doable. In reality, there are challenges at every step, and so far our record on moving towards sustainability in a collective manner, with a common framework, appears to have been quite feeble.
Renewable energy still has a long way to go to be our de facto utility energy source, especially in a state like California. What bottlenecks are keeping us from a renewable energy future?