Investments in Indian cleantech companies increased a dramatic 58 percent in 2007, growing to $210 million from $133 million in 2006. The numbers are part of the Cleantech Group’s new report, “Cleantech India Venture Capital and Private Equity Investment,” and were announced today at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, where about 900 attendees heard pitches from companies looking for cash.
We’ve been following some news out of the conference this week like the launch of Wal-Mart’s green-innovations web site, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s aggressive cleantech rhetoric over local carbon legislation. The meeting’s organizers, the Cleantech Group, claim that $1.1 billion worth of deals have stemmed directly from previous iterations of the event.
India got special billing at the conference because Vinod Khosla, perhaps the world’s best-known alternative energy investor, will be chairing the Cleantech Group’s first Indian forum, slated for October 2008.
As we’ve noted in the past, Indian power generation isn’t particularly green at the moment. Not only is the economy coal-heavy, but Indian coal is known as some of the dirtiest stuff around. Right now, it’s clear that just getting power to citizens of the country is a higher priority than generating that power cleanly, big nuclear power plant plans notwithstanding.
China, the world’s other massive developing economy is beginning to receive enormous amounts of attention from cleantech investors. They see the opportunity to build greenfield clean power for a country that needs it desperately, and to sell solar water heaters, home PV, and other distributed generation technologies to new huge urban populations.
Given the similarity of the situation in India, it was only a matter of time before green capital sought out the subcontinent. The new Khosla announcement could be a sign that 2008 will be for Indian cleantech what 2006 was for ethanol.