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California takes lead in clean technology investments

The clean technology sector in the state of California drew $3.5 billion in venture capital investments in 2011, making up more than half of the total clean technology VC investments in the United States.

The United States accounted for over 71 percent of all "cleantech" investment in the world with $6.3 billion in total with 57 percent of that coming from California.

California also accounted for 25 percent of clean technology patents registered with the U.S. Commerce Department with 910 registered between 2009 and 2010.

"VC investment and patent filings are two economic indicators that signal positive future growth in terms of jobs and businesses," said F. Noel Perry, businessman and founder of Next 10.

Next 10 is an independent, nonpartisan organization that educates, engages and empowers Californians to improve the state's future. Along with research and consulting organization Collaborative Economics, Next 10 complies and releases the California Green Innovation Index.

The index, of which this is the 4th since 2008, tracks the economic impact of policies that reduce state carbon emissions.

Mr. Perry noted that, from the findings of the 2012 index, California's commitment to a cleaner economy is also giving it a stronger economy.

The index also found that the growth of California's renewable energy portfolio and energy productivity outpaces the rest of the nation and that the state's dependency on carbon is shrinking.

California's Renewables Portfolio Standard, which requires energy providers to increase the amount of renewables in their energy mix to 33 percent by 2020, has been a major driver in the growth of renewable energy projects in the state.

In 2010, renewable energy accounted for 13.8 percent of the state's energy portfolio. Of this 13.8 percent, wind power made up the majority, followed by geothermal energy and solar.

The report also noted that solar power and solar power technology play a huge part in California's economy, earning $1.2 billion in VC investment in 2011 or 62 percent of total global solar investments ($1.9 billion in 2011).

In 2011, California had around 1,000 megawatts of installed solar capacity - the largest of any state - representing 29 percent of the nation's total for that period.

California has been growing its energy productivity while decreasing its carbon intensity. Energy productivity, measured as the ratio of energy consumed to gross domestic product, was 64 percent higher in California than anywhere else.

Because of this higher rate of efficiency, California produces $2.35 of GDP for every 10,000 British Thermal Units of energy consumed. The rest of the U.S. produces $1.43 of GDP for every 10,000 BTU.

"California was a first adopter of energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction measures, and our state continues to be a clean tech innovator. By setting the market rather than chasing it, today California's leadership is paying off in the form of investment, innovation, and growth," said Doug Henton, chairman and chief executive officer of Collaborative Economics.

Due to energy efficiency efforts, per capita electricity consumption in California remains close to 1990 levels while, for every dollar of GDP generated in 2009, California emits 28 percent less carbon than in 1990. – EcoSeed Staff

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