WASHINGTON - Venture capital investment in clean technologies last year reached an all-time high of $1.6 billion in North America, a 43 percent increase over the previous year, according to a report released by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a group of business professionals focused on environmental policies based on economic merit.

As soaring energy prices and concerns about global warming exert pressure on public officials to find ways to curb America's oil dependence, says E2, the report highlights a sharp acceleration in the business community's support for clean, renewable alternative fuels.

The private investment in clean energy technologies - which range from "bio-based" materials and renewable energy sources to recycling technologies and hybrid vehicles - is documented in the report by Environmental Entrepreneurs and the Cleantech Venture Network, a for-profit membership group that connects investors, entrepreneurs, and service providers that promote clean technology.

Among the recent investors are some of the world's largest companies, including General Electric, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, BP, and Shell Oil, as well as giant pension funds such as the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).

The report found that every $100 million in venture capital invested in clean tech leads to the creation of 2,700 jobs directly at venture-backed firms, plus more indirectly. Over the course of two decades, every dollar invested in clean tech will increase annual revenues five-fold, the report said.

Leaders of E2 released "Creating CleanTech Clusters: How Innovation and Investment Can Promote Job Growth and a Healthy Environment" during the group's three-day Washington visit to meet with public officials. The report is available at www.e2.org and www.cleantech.com.

Publication date: 05/22/2006