cleantech insights

Cisco Serves Steak As Smart Grid Sizzles

Greg Neichin

During the go-go days of the Internet boom times, those of us toiling away for Silicon Valley’s South Bay telecom equipment vendors would gently rib our neighbors to the North with the motto “San Jose is the steak, San Francisco is the sizzle”.

The slogan was intended to capture that most of the era’s iconic networking and hardware vendors, the firms building the technology foundation of the Internet, were clustered toward San Jose, while software developers, web designers, and PR flacks — those with far more style than us and who built what consumers thought of as the Internet — filled the loft spaces of San Francisco’s SOMA district.

I fondly recalled that old saying as I gazed at Cisco’s newly announced Connected Grid Router 2010 and Connected Grid Switch 2050 on the floor of last week’s Connectivity Week in Santa Clara.  Cisco, perhaps the biggest winner of last century’s boom, is angling to be a winner again.

To date, most of the smart grid headlines have gone to venture-backed AMI specialists like Silver Spring Networks, or to those building slick (or I should say “sizzling”) tools for the consumer – think Microsoft Hohm, Google PowerMeter, EnergyHub, iControl, …


Google-backed Makani seeking $25M for wind tech

Emma Ritch

Alameda, Calif.-based wind-power startup Makani Power is raising $25 million to develop and test the 1-megawatt prototype of its technology that uses kites to harness wind energy. Details in the Pitch of the week.

10 reasons Switzerland is a cleantech leader

Guest Analyst: Shawn Lesser

Switzerland consistently ranks as one of the world’s most energy-efficient economies, thanks largely to advances in renewable energy, green buildings, waste management and sustainable transportation. Switzerland was also recently ranked second on the 2010 Environmental Performance Index.

Switzerland’s sustainable/cleantech investment market at the end of 2009 was approximately $30 billion. Switzerland also was recently nominated for recognition as Europe’s most innovative country in 2009.

Given this strong history, capital base and innovate spirit, I wanted to take a closer look at the driving forces behind the burgeoning Swiss cleantech movement. Below are the top 10 reasons, as I see it, as to why Switzerland has become a powerhouse in this expanding economic sector.

  1. The Swiss are true pioneers in sustainable and cleantech investing. Bank Sarasin led the way in 1989 with the first asset management mandates defined by ecological criteria. Zurich powerhouse Sustainable Asset Management (SAM) created specialized fund more than 10 years ago and has also been at the forefront of sustainable investing.
  2. Switzerland has set itself apart as the financial global hub of cleantech investing. Swiss companies play key leadership roles in multiple sustainable/cleantech financial sectors. Whether investing in public companies with climate mitigation strategies or

Water: Why to get a grip on stakeholder engagement

Mia Javier

Increased visibility around water resources will require businesses to incorporate meaningful stakeholder engagement into their water strategies.

Marine energy: today’s facts and tomorrow’s potential

Federica Dalamel de Bournet

Marine energy is still in its infancy and there are numerous constantly evolving technologies in this space. Competitiveness with traditional electricity sources is difficult to assess at this stage, however it is safe to say that marine energy has immense potential.

Filter technology promises 30% energy reduction for HVAC

Emma Ritch

Aspen Air is seeking $3 million for its high performance air filtration that improves air quality and energy efficiency. Details in the Pitch of the week.

Pew: China overtakes US in clean energy investments

Federica Dalamel de Bournet

The Pew Environment Group has released a report which shows that China’s investments in clean energy have overcome the U.S. figures.

According to Pew, China now leads the way with $34.6 billion invested last year across all investment types—nearly double the U.S. figure of $18.6 billion.

In case these figures are not grim enough, the study also explains that over the last five years, America’s growth rate of clean energy investment has fallen behind that of Turkey, Brazil, the UK and Italy.

If clean technology is to pull the U.S. out of recession and form the basis of strong new industries to replace many dying ones, then this is a danger sign for America.

The study attributes the low figure to the lack of policy frameworks, financial incentives, priority loans, mandated clean energy targets, and other factors.

Indeed, countries with leading clean energy sectors as a percentage of their economy have all implemented relatively successful energy and climate policies. Leaders include China, Brazil, Spain, UK and Germany.

There is, however, a piece of good news for the U.S. in the study: the country is still the heart of cleantech innovation. The U.S. led other G-20 members in VC and private …

France reaches cleantech tipping point

Emma Ritch

Government policy, private investment and innovative startups align to make France a contender to be a market leader, says Emma Ritch after the Cleantech Forum XXVII in Paris.

Car sharing and cleantech go hand in hand

Lisa Sibley

Companies including Zipcar and RelayRides offer environmental benefits, but the Cleantech Group’s Lisa Sibley questions whether more consolidations in the space are to come.