Who Were The Clean Energy Money-Tree Shakers?

Earlier this month Bloomberg New Energy Finance said global clean energy investment in 2011 shot up to a record $260 billion – a 5 percent increase over 2010 and almost five times the total of $53.6 billion in 2004. Now the news and analysis service has pegged the firms and individuals who were the biggest players in making that happen. And it’s a whole different cast than the one that led the way in 2010.

“This is the seventh year we have prepared annual league tables showing the most active deal-makers in the sector,” Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a statement. “What is striking is the amount of change among the leading players, reflecting the turbulent year we have just been through in the clean energy sector.”

bloomberg clean energy investment

image via BrightSource Energy

The leaders (see them all in this PDF) were a diverse lot, as well. Among them, Blomberg said, was the U.S. Federal Financing Bank in arranging asset finance, U.K.-based Terra Firma Capital Partners in venture capital and private equity investment, and China-based Global Law Office in the public markets.

The U.S. Federal Financing Bank was especially dominant in asset finance, providing $10.14 billion in credit in 13 deals, adding up to just shy of a 20 percent share of the market. Which might reasonably prompt this question among many readers: What or who is the U.S. Federal Financing Bank?

Well, to Fox News it’s a “Secret Government Bank That’s Financing More Solyndras.” Hmm. While it’s not widely known, “secret” seems not to be quite the right word for an institution that puts out monthly reports detailing its doings.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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