Job Security Unstable? Renewable Energy is Looking for Employees.

Author Jeff Goodell's quote, “[a] full-blown push for clean energy could unleash a jobs bonanza that would make what happened in Silicon Valley in the 1990s look like a bake sale,” rings true when you look at yesterday's job report published by the UN.

The report found that solving global warming has resulted in world wide employment gains.

Check out these numbers:

  • By the year 2020, Germany will have more jobs in the field of environmental technologies than in its entire automotive industry.
  • In the US alone, the environmental industry in 2005 generated more than 5.3 million jobs.
  • In China, 150,000 jobs were created in solar heating, a sector with sales revenues in 2005 of $2.5 billion.

In contrast, Solve Climate reports that “the number of individuals currently employed in the coal industry in the US: about 80,000 and shrinking.”


We need more VC’s who are focused on funding early and late stage companies that are devleoping new technologies. There are a few like Chrysalix here in Canada but the VC arms of the big banks could certainly be doing more when you consider the profits they keep raking in quarter after quarter.

It would also be great, that once we get a winning technology the government would get the hell out of the way and let them sell in this country (ZENN cars).

This doesn’t have to be a problem. There are alot of entrepreneurs that view climate change as a significant opportunity, particularly in the tech sector. My former CEO has started a company to develop advanced solar panels. You simply need to create an environment that encourages investment and doesn’t make it too difficult to go to market.

I know a lot of VCs in the US [I live a few miles from Sand Hill Road], but I can’t think of one that is really a branch of a big bank. I don’t really know the VC scene in Canada. Might you take a look at:

and comment on the Canada section?

[Around here, many VC firms are running hard on cleantech investments, such as Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, to name a few.]

If you go to the CVCA you’ll see some of the banks listed. RBC Venture Partners for example has a Software and Technology Fund, which is targetted at early stage companies. BMO Capital provides mezannine (also listed).

Thanks, that helps clarify things, and as is often the case, the same words sometimes have different connotations in places that use the same (more-or-less) language, I.e., English. In particular, “venture capital” is a subset of “private equity,” but sometimes the VC term gets used for PE folks who VCs wouldn’t consider VCs :-)

The CVCA “Venture Capital & Private Equity Association” says:

1) Buyout is characterized chiefly by risk investment in established private or publicly listed firms that are undergoing a fundamental change in operations or strategy. Buyout funds are often called such, even if their mandates are not exclusively buy out related.

2) Mezzanine is characterized chiefly by use of Subordinated Debt, or preferred stock with an equity kicker, to invest largely in the same type of companies and deals as buyout funds.

3) Venture Capital is characterized generally by investment in early stage companies, mostly in technology businesses.

The nearest equivalent in US would be the NVCA, but i mostly corresponds to 3):, which says:

“It is a member-based organization, which consists of venture capital firms that manage pools of risk equity capital designated to be invested in high growth companies.”
is the membership.

Anyway, I was perhaps being imprecise, as the default connotation around Silicon Valley is that a VC ~NVCA or (CVCA 3), at least around here, they’re not generally branches of banks. In the US, in 3Q07, there was about $8B invested in (real) VC activities, of which about $2.5B was in the SF Bay Area of which at most $300M might be cleantech.

It does get fuzzy, as there are some folks that would be more typically labeled “private equity investors” in US, like Warbug Pincus, most of whose activities would fit categories 1) and 2), but who do some VC investments of category 3).

A common issue of concern to everybody is that as funds get bigger, they tend to go off-the-edge of being able to invest in early stage companies into doing just category 1) and 2) activities.

Hi again John,

The VC community up here in Canada is very similar in structure and organization to yourselves south of the border. We have VC firms across the country, and almost all of them aren’t affiliated with a financial institution. Just like in the US, the big focus right now is on Cleantech and Web 2.0, but the big difference up here is that our VCs tend to be a little bit more risk averse, which is an odd description for a VC, but I’m hoping you get my drift. The other big difference is asset size - we don’t have the same scope up here as you guys in the US (although that is changing with the FX changes that are occurring).

A great resource for Canadian VCs is one of our brightest guys in the field - Sean Wise. He has a good blog (he just got married, as you can tell) at He’s also the guy behind Dragon’s Den which is a hit Canadian show where entrepreneurs pitch a panel of Angels/VCs for business funding.

Hope that helps!

Aptera…. 235 mpg at 55 mph

I read somewhere that if they stopped making cars today there would be enough cars existing in America to fulfill drivers’ needs for 20 years. The problem is that only a few will be able to afford gasoline to run them.

People like Aptera and ZENN have a HUGE job ahead revising our inventory in 300mpg cars for less than a Chev Malibu.

“I read somewhere that if they stopped making cars today there would be enough cars existing in America to fulfill drivers’ needs for 20 years.”

That’s nothing. Cuba has successfully tried that experiment since 1959, and look how great they’re doing!

“The problem is that only a few will be able to afford gasoline to run them.”

Not a problem for party members, or the likes of important people like Al Gore, apparently. So why worry, comrade? Besides, when you fly around in private jets, what do you need with a mere car?

“Aptera…. 235 mpg at 55 mph”

Great. They’ve reinvented the old BMW Isetta. Can you guess why BMW doesn’t make Isettas? Because nobody wants an Isetta.

….and a stupid one at that!

What, pray tell, is so “stupid”, Tom? You seem to be playing your usual one-note samba of declaring any comment you don’t like by the word “TROLL”.

Don’t hold out on us, man. Tell us what’s on your mind. What brilliant insights do you have on the subject?

Or are you really as stupid and belicose as you make yourself out to be?

One lacking intelligence.
How’s that, any better?
Don’t want to hurt the TROLL’S feelings now do we?
Especially one that does a multi-note samba and doesn’t hesitate to deliver HIS questionable belicose “insights” on any comment that HE doesn’t like.