In a new report out from Cleantech Group, the World Wildlife Foundation, and the The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (or Tillväxtverket), 40 countries were examined for their potential for entrepreneurial clean tech startups. The report takes a 10-year look down the line and ranks each country on a basis of 15 different indicators. Let’s take a look at the top 10.
Ireland is a strong contender in the cleantech field, with a lot of its efforts concentrated on tidal and wave energy. There is also a strong innovating force in the country, with support from prominent institutions in science and engineering. The growth outlook for Ireland looks extremely promising.
Germany remains a leader in the renewable energy market and operates one-third of the world’s installed solar capacity, despite its often cloudy climate. Germany also has long term goals in massively reducing carbon emissions, though this could lead to governmental tension with the cleantech industry. Still, the country has a huge amount of cleantech funds floating around and will likely continue driving innovation in the next ten years.
Despite current weak financial support, Switzerland has extremely high innovation inputs. The cleantech industry is also driven by Switzerland’s high output of environmental patents and highly-supportive governmental policies. The only downside for the country is its lack of attractiveness for renewable energy deployments and below-average commercialized cleantech.
Canada’s cleantech industry is currently average, though many innovating factors are in their early stages, meaning the country could see a big payoff in several years. While there are plenty willing to innovate in the country, they could be held back by lack of funding and governmental support. With those things in place, Canada could become a powerhouse in cleantech innovation.
The UK has strong access to cleantech financing and a high innovation input, making it a strong contender in the green tech innovation field. There is a lack of policy certainty after 2020, which could be a potential detriment to driving innovation, but that can still be addressed. The UK also needs a greater commercialization of cleantech innovation.
Denmark has one of the two highest cleantech budgets on this list, with the other country being Finland. Relative to the size of its economy, Denmark overwhelmingly invests in cleantech. It’s also looking internationally for partnerships in places such as China. This is attracting investors both locally and abroad, making Denmark’s future a green one.
Sweden tops the list for innovation drivers, for the country has high innovation inputs and strong entrepreneurial attitudes. It is also home to quite a few high-impact cleantech startups. It is also a major consumer of renewable energy. There is still a large gap between innovation and commercialization, however. This is a positive, really, as it spells out a large potential for Sweden’s immediate future.
Not surprisingly, the US is noted for its thriving private cleantech sector. Startups are the biggest driving factor, attracting investments both in the country and internationally. However, with the lack of clarity from the federal government regarding energy policy, the future remains somewhat uncertain. There are still quite a few strong green initiatives, such as the reduction of carbon emissions 30 percent by 3030 and the raising of fuel emission standards to make the country’s outlook a positive one.
Several factors have made Finland a cleantech powerhouse, such as its lack of fossil fuels and harsh climate. There is an immediate need to innovate, and plenty of Finnish companies are up to the task. Cleantech in Finland currently employs 50,000 people, and the report projects that number will nearly double by 2020.
Israel is considered the definitive “cleantech innovation archetype for both embedding entrepreneurial spirit into its educational system and into its society’s everyday norms as well as for predisposing its start-ups to resource innovation—as a survival mechanism to overcome resource constraints and energy dependency.” Given the size of its economy, Israel has a large amount of cleantech companies and is still growing. There is overwhelming evidence that it will remain a leader in the cleantech industry in the next decade.
Writer: Kevin Smead