We think it’s time cleantech grew up and learned to play with the big boys of energy and consumer goods. That means learning cost down and scale like nobody’s business. We think it can. We think green is going mainstream – for good. We think LEDs are going to win. We think wind and solar power will continue to grow, and bear the bruises to prove it. We think EVs may have a shot, but have it to prove. We think climate change will be tackled, and beaten, but it will be a long hard road. We think energy storage and cellulosic biofuels are not yet teething, and investors there will pay the price. We think water tech may yet be a real sector on the back of shale gas. We think smart grid is the sine qua non of cleantech’s future. We think the future of cleantech means fewer venture capitalists, more globalization, and more energy companies at the table, and scale like you’ve never seen it before.
2010 has been a year of change and learning.
- We learned about The Quantitative Easing, and we learned government stimulus does not fix economies, but stock markets can rise anyway.
- We learned to beware of Greeks (and anyone) who borrows too much, but we didn’t bother to take the lesson to heart (yet).
- Cap and trade survived in California, and the international climate change community breathed a big sigh of relief from a successful Cancun, but healthcare and a moribund economy crowded out a comprehensive climate or energy bill in the US.
- Arguably this was the year that China passed the US in energy consumption (barely two years after taking the carbon emissions crown), and Japan in GDP to become the second largest economy, and oil prices ended on a high note (yes we do think those have something in common). It also reached 50% of global coal consumption. China of course, officially disputed the first and the last, and accepted the second, but provides no data.)
- Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) (Electric vehicles), GM, and Codexis (NASDAW:CDXS) (bioenergy) priced IPOs, as did Molycorp (NYSE:MCP) (rare earth mining), but once high flyer Solyndra (CIGS PV) did not. We learned the Chinese like IPOing things just like the rest of us, and we saw the nascent launch of EVs with the first shipments of Leafs and Volts to an unsuspecting public. 2011 will (maybe) tell us how much change Nissan and GM will see from those launches.
- And after 5 years, Cleantechblog.com moved off of Blogger and onto a new look on WordPress. Finally!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Jane Capital saw a year of change as well:
- We were excited in 2010 to see our Carbonflow venture secure a CEO and raise a second round of finance, and Zenergy Power plc (AIM:ZEN) secure a new Chairman and a £20 mm raise as well. Carbonflow also brought industry veteran Marc Stuart on the board, and saw leading carbon verifier SGS join its platform.
- We saw our longtime client Meridian Energy commission California’s first utility scale photovoltaic solar plant connected to the CAISO transmission grid under the state’s RPS.
- We launched a new venture focused on enabling intelligent power flow controls underneath the smart grid, still (mostly) under wraps, all you can learn about it is here. For those of you have followed us, Zenergy was founded on the premise of a new class of safety relief valves for the grid, our next one is about the even bigger problem of intelligent control for the grid.
- Our big acquisition of the year was Greenhome.com, to make our first foray in green as opposed to cleantech. Green Home is the original online ecostore, over 1o years old and #1 on google for green home, green products, environmental products, environmental store and a host of others. The Greenhome.com team moved across San Francisco to work, under Jane Lindner, at Jane Capital’s San Francisco office. We now are a big supplier of everything from compostable cutlery and plates, green cleaning supplies and organic cotton everything, to household and office products made from recycled materials, to water and energy saving devices, and solar gadgets. Who would have thunk it – but all those clean technologies have to come to market somehow, we figured we might as well be the how.
- As with the last several years, in 2010 we spoke at more than our share of cleantech events. Including partnering up with the Harvard Club of San Francisco to sell out the University Club in a forum on Carbon Trading after Copenhagen, and Neal serving as Master of Ceremonies for the Cleantech Open Awards Gala – the Academy Awards of Cleantech. Spectacular events both of them, and kudos to Augie Rakow and Rex Northen for pulling them each off.
- And probably the biggest change for us, after returning full time to Jane Capital from a stint as founding CEO of Carbonflow, Neal Dikeman moved to Houston, to open a Jane Capital office and give us a partner in both the world’s cleantech capital and the energy capital. In a nice irony, he moved just after making Rose Ryan’s inaugural Top 25 cleantech movers and shakers in the Bay Area list.
In summary, 2010 feels like one of those years we’ll look back on as a watershed year, for us, for our industry, and our planet.
Here’s wishing you a productive beginning to 2011.
Jane Lindner, Neal Dikeman, and the Jane Capital team.
P.S. Don’t forget to shop Greenhome.com, and yes, if you ask nicely we might send you a friends and family discount.