Report Promises Multi-Billion-Dollar Future for New England Clean Energy Cluster

In four years’ time, New England can get $1 billion more in new cleantech investments, claims a report from the New England Clean Energy Council and the consulting firm Topline Strategy.

There’s one catch, though. In order to lure the investors, the region has to create a cluster of cleantech companies along the lines of the present biotech cluster. In fact, the reasoning goes, one of the most important opportunities lies in convincing entrepreneurs in biotech and other high-tech areas to expand to cleantech as well. Perhaps not surprisingly, in its press release the Clean Energy Council points to its fellowship program as “necessary to tap into the region’s entrepreneurial base to create new Cleantech leaders.”

Topline Strategy also presented new figures for cleantech investments during the first quarter of 2008. Contrary to what you might have expected, given the report’s bright visions for the future, the statistics showed a more than 50 percent dip compared to the previous quarter, from $26.9 million to $11.9 million (Given seasonal variations, it might have been more meaningful with a comparison to Q1 2007, but I couldn’t find that in the materials released.)

Still, Topline founder Jonathan Klein sees the results as encouraging. “At these early stages of Cleantech, what matters most is to have as many funded companies based in New England as possible,” Klein said in a statement.

However, the total number of New England cleantech companies receiving funding during the quarter fell to four, down from five in Q4 2007. That put the region in third place nationwide, behind Silicon Valley with 16 companies funded and the Pacific Northwest with six.

Erik Mellgren is a Swedish journalist who worked for Xconomy Boston in 2008 as part of the Stanford Innovation Journalism Fellowship program. His real job is with Ny Teknik, a leading technology and innovation magazine in Sweden, but he loved seeing the Red Sox at Fenway. Follow @

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