This article was written by, J. Thomas Ranken, of the Washington Clean Technology Alliance.
According to the ACORE Renewable Energy in America: Markets, Economic Development and Policy in the 50 States 2011 report, “Washington state surpassed California as the state with the most venture capital and private equity investment over the past two years, funding early stage technologies and companies.” The report notes that Washington was the home of nine deals totaling $7.5 billion during 2009-2010. California had only $3.5 billion in 115 deals.
Washington had over twice the early stage investment in renewables as California? Something smelled funny, so I did some research.
Companies that received funding in Washington included Hydrovolts ($1 million), Infinia ($27 million), Tuuss ($2 million), Blue Marble ($2 million), and Prometheus ($10 million and $13 million). That accounts for $55 million of $7.5 billion.
The largest deal in the ACORE data in Washington was the $7.4 billion acquisition of Puget Sound Energy (PSE) by a consortium of investors. To say the least, it is a stretch to call the acquisition of PSE an early stage investment in renewable energy, but it is classified as a wind energy transaction according to Bloomberg Renewable Energy Finance.
So where is Washington without the PSE transaction? Using the ACORE data, Washington ranked eighth in the number of deals (8), 13th in total invested ($55 million), and 16th in average deal size ($6.9 million). 23 states had no renewable investments whatsoever.