Clean technology includes the renewable energy (wind power, solar power, biomass, hydropower, biofuels), information technology, green transportation, electric motors, lighting, and many other appliances that are now more energy efficient. It is a means to create electricity and fuels with a smaller environmental footprint. And it is the need to make green buildings both more energy efficient and environmentally benign. Environmental finance is a method by which new clean technology projects that have proven that they are "additional" or "beyond business as usual" can obtain financing through the generation of carbon credits. A project that is developed with concern for climate change mitigation (such as a Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism project) is also known as a carbon project.
While there is no standard definition of "clean technology," it has been described by Clean Edge, a clean-tech research firm, as "a diverse range of products, services, and processes that harness renewable materials and energy sources, dramatically reduce the use of natural resources, and cut or eliminate emissions and wastes." It notes that "Clean technologies are competitive with, if not superior to, their conventional counterparts. Many also offer significant additional benefits, notably their ability to improve the lives of those in both developed and developing countries"
Investments in clean technology have grown considerably since coming into the spotlight around 2000. According to the United Nations Environment Program, wind, solar and biofuel companies received a record $148 billion in new funding in 2007 as rising oil prices and climate change policies encouraged investment in renewable energy. $50 billion of that funding went to wind power. Overall, investment in clean-energy and energy-efficiency industries rose 60 percent from 2006 to 2007.
In the United States, the clean tech industry is largely based in Silicon Valley