Westly Group Founder Promotes Chinese Cleantech

Oct 16 2009 | 12:49pm ET

Silicon Valley venture capitalist (and former gubernatorial candidate) Steve Westly says VC firms should not only invest in cleantech – they should invest in Chinese cleantech.

Steve WestlySteve WestlyWestly made the comments this week during a cleantech conference sponsored by the Silicon Valley law firm Cooley Godward.

“No VC firm should be without a China strategy,” he told several hundred conference participants. “China will pass the U.S. in 20 years as the largest economy in the world. There are only two countries that matter – the U.S. and China. They create 40% of the world’s pollution, and the other 191 countries divvy up the rest….I go to China every 90 days – China knows the big health issues they’re facing.”

China has imposed more stringent fuel efficiency standards than the U.S. (42MPG compared to 39MPG, offers a bigger solar and wind energy investment tax credit (50% against 30%), and is calling for 20% of its energy to be produced from renewable sources by 2020.

The Westly Group is currently looking for Chinese companies in which to invest its new $120 million fund, which invests in B or C rounds and expects to see a return within two to four years.

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