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Cleantech Group, a global market research provider, has released preliminary 2008 results for cleantech venture investments in North America, Europe, China and India totaling $8.4 billion. Investments for the year were up 38% from $6.1 billion in 2007.

"As expected, clean technology venture investing slowed in [the fourth quarter of 2008], but it's important not to miss the forest for the trees," says Nicholas Parker, executive chairman of Cleantech Group. "In 2008, there was a quantum leap in talent, resources and institutional appetite for clean technologies. Now, more than ever, clean technologies represent the biggest opportunities for job and wealth creation."

According to Cleantech Group's findings, the top cleantech sectors in 2008 were solar, biofuels, transportation and wind.

Wind energy made the list of top venture capital cleantech sectors in 2008 with $502 million invested, followed by a $345 million investment in smart grid technology for the year.

Top five clean technology funding rounds in 2008 were dominated by U.S.-based solar companies, but wind turbine manufacturer WinWinD Oy of Finland made the list with $177 million raised. U.S. companies raised $5.8 billion in 241 disclosed funding rounds, up 56% from 2007. Canadian companies raised $159 million in 14 disclosed rounds, down 58% from 2007.

Clean technology mergers and acquisitions included an estimated 163 disclosed transactions for the year, totaling $40.4 billion. Top-five merger and acquisition transactions included the purchase of Energy East Corp. by Iberdrola SA for 4.6 billion. In addition, cleantech initial public offerings in 2008 totaled an estimated $5.1 billion in 16 offerings, including $2.4 billion raised by EDP Renovaveis SA.

SOURCE: Cleantech Group

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