Distributed energy resource (DER) aggregation and integration is white-hot, as we shift towards smart buildings, smart grids, and EVs. Transportation is another hot area, with exciting leaps in autonomy, electrification, shared mobility and transportation-as-a-service. Agriculture technology (AgTech) has been on the rise with lots of buzz around indoor and vertical farming, drone and sensor technology, and alternative proteins. Battery storage shows a cooldown in 2019, but that space has been a bit of a roller coaster, and excitement could pick up again. Biofuel and water, on the other hand, seem to be falling out of fashion, if we are to judge by the Global Cleantech 100 list. Hardware also continues to be a challenge for venture capital, although some new funds are focusing on supporting startups in this space.
Overall, while "cleantech" may still be a four-letter word in some VC circles, recent trends show that investors are looking forward, rather than backward. New investment strategies are shaping, and capital is flowing. While it may be too early to tell whether this is a true renaissance, these are certainly sunny times for cleantech.