Clean is Our Future


Yesterday I was talking in a seminar about cleantech, organized by Sirpa Pietikäinen, who has been fighting for resource efficiency issues for years in European Parliament and continue to do so as she got elected. As I got prepared, I realized that company named Clean Tech Invest is now getting listed on Helsinki First North market place. This is a company that - when founded in 2005 -was able to register domain. So no new starter or trend surfer. It is a private equity fund, focusing on clean energy and resource efficient technologies, investing on small companies in these field with ambitious targets.

I like the way they show the way to the future.

Here in Finland, as elsewhere, clean tech has been the  domain of rather big players. They provide almost 100% of the 25 billion turnover in Finnish clean tech industries.  Unlike in digital technologies, there is not much sprouting of the new innovations and firms in this field. Rather old technology companies twisting their orientation towards materials and energy saving solutions. Nothing  wrong with that as such, we just need to get larger wings.  And new expanding companies are doing just that.

In 2013, new investments in global clean tech markets declined for a third year in a row. This was mainly due to what happened with solar power.  Happily there is mostly a positive explanation: the market prices have fallen heavily because of advancements in technology. But also because incentives and early adoption support schemes have been on the downward slide.

Though Finland ranks nicely in some clean tech innovation indexes, the fact is that our home markets are miserable. Look any capacity investment indexes for renewable energies and you find Finland is far behind most of the European countries.  This has many consequences. As a CEO of one big tech company complained to me: for our visitors, we have nothing to show here in Helsinki: now renewable energy plants, no eco-friendly residential ot other areas.  Just a coal hill by the energy plant, overlooking to the beautiful sea...

So there is a lot do here, here as elsewhere. In general, Europe lags behind. China has been moving fast: in 2013 it was nr 1 in installed renewable energy capacity. China's clean energy asset financing in the same year was threefold compared to US, while European numbers were a mere fraction of that 55 billion dollar.

I strongly believe that by 2050, we as a humanity have taken huge steps to become drastically different in terms of how we produce or save energy.  I  foresee a magnitude of  change that is displayed in this scenario:

wwf future

wwf future

If it looks  inconceivable to you that the change of this magnitude could happen, look just what happened in the last forty years: who could have thought that by now EVERYBODY works with computers. Not even in the wild dreams of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

We are on that stage now.

Picture: Clean-tech conference in San Francisco Nov 2014