Clean tech investors predict bumper 2010

Increased government subsidies and recovering credit market more than compensate for disappointing Copenhagen Summit

Investment in clean technologies is set to increase over the next 12 months and is unlikely to be unduly hampered by the weak agreement delivered at the Copenhagen Summit earlier this month, according to a major survey of leading investors from investment bank Jefferies.

The survey of 200 clean tech investors representing over $400bn of assets found that respondents believe that continued government subsidies and a general recovery in the credit markets will more than offset any harm done to the sector by politicians' failure to secure a stronger international climate change agreement.

Bruce Huber, head of European clean tech investment at Jefferies, said that the outlook for the European market was particularly impressive.

"Continued incentive plans at the country level that nurtured the European clean tech industry are seen as more crucial to investment and continued growth than the outcome at Copenhagen," he said, although he added that the health of the sector remained largelty dependent on support from policy measures.

"What is clear is that both local government incentives and transnational policies aimed at putting the brakes on climate change are fundamental to the continued growth of the clean tech industry," he said.

Investors believe that government support in the form of subsidies, tax breaks, low interest loans and other incentive schemes remains essential if the clean tech sector is to maintain its rapid growth rates and ultimately compete with more carbon intensive technologies. The survey revealed high levels of confidence that these support mechanisms will remain in place.

In addition, many of the respondents predicted that a number of high profile clean technologies were on the cusp of mainstream adoption with nearly half predicting that the mass adoption of electric vehicles is less than five years away.

A majority of respondents also predicted that the combination of technical innovations and a price war between leading solar panel firms will continue to drive down costs of solar installation.

The Jeffries survey follows reports from analyst firm New Energy Finance predicting that global clean tech investment in 2010 would reach $160bn, compared with $125bn in 2009.

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