CalPERS CIO: Cleantech investing has got an L curve, for Lose

It’s no secret that LPs – the big public pension funds, university endowments and high net worth individuals that typically invest in venture capital funds – are disgruntled with cleantech as a sector.

Now Joseph Dear, CIO of the huge California public employees pension fund known as CalPERS, was particularly blunt about it. He disclosed that CalPER’s Clean Energy & Technology Fund, which took in $465 million, had a -9.75 percent return. (h/t to Katie Fehrenbacher of GigaOm)

The fund’s performance details don’t paint a pretty picture.

“We’re all familiar with the J curve in private equity,” said Dear, who appeared on a panel at the Wall Street Journal’s Eco:nomics conference Wednesday night. “Well for CalPERS, Cleantech investing has got an L curve, for Lose….This has been a noble way to lose money…..Just because its a good idea doesn’t make it a good investment.”

Here’s the clip if you haven’t seen it already:

Dana Hull Dana Hull (223 Posts)

Dana Hull covers clean technology and energy policy for the San Jose Mercury News. She often writes about electric vehicles, the smart grid, the solar industry and California energy policy, from RPS goals to Gov. Jerry Brown's big dreams for distributed generation.