Soros Invests $1 Billion Into Cleantech

With the global gathering in Copenhagen to discuss climate changeless than two months away, billionaire George Soros said in a speechthat he will invest $1 billion of his own money into green technologies. Don’t count on clean coal companies to get a lot of money.

"There is no magic bullet for climate change, but there is a lethalbullet: coal," he said in a speech, according to the Guardian. "I willlook for profitable opportunities, but I will also insist that theinvestments make a real contribution to solving the problem of climatechange."

While Soros has invested in clean companies in the past and lobbiedfor climate legislation, the infusion of funds will no doubt furtherthe momentum in green investing. Venture capital investment in greentechnologies roared back with $1.9 billion invested in 112 deals in the third quarter of 2009. That’s up from $836 million in 59 deals in the first quarter of 2009 and $1.2 billion in 85 deals in the solid second quarter.

In all, close to $4 billion in in venture funds has been invested ingreen this year. VCs will likely put less into green than in 2008, butthe year-end total will likely equal or beat 2007’s total.

Just as important, the large private equity firms, which tend tohave more money than your average VC and tend to invest ininfrastructure projects, are showing more interest. Pegasus Capital, afund managed by Drexel Burnham alums, is currently raising a $2 billion sustainability fund. A signficant portion will go to green building. Manygreen companies, of course, are seeking funds to move from the scienceexperiment phase to building factories, so these sort of investors arewelcome news.

Investors are also likely showing more interesting in green now thatstimulus funds are flowing. Grant recipients must often raise matchingfunds; the existence of federal grants and loans, however, provides alevel of security.



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