North American venture capital investing in the cleantech category hit its ninth consecutive quarter of growth, with a record $933 million invested in the third quarter.

The energy segment led the way with $837 million, a 41 percent increase over the $594 million invested in the second quarter, according to a report today by the Cleantech Venture Network. Within energy, biofuels was the strongest driver.

The $933 million invested in all cleantech segments during the third quarter represented a 10.8 percent increase over the $843 million invested in the second quarter, and a 120 percent increase over the $425 million in the third quarter of last year.

Of the $843 million invested in energy, $512 million was in biofuels and $69 million in solar, the report found.

Year-to-date cleantech investments totaled $2.29 billion, double the $1.1 billion invested in the first three quarters of 2005.

To date, 2006 cleantech investing has already surpassed the total of $1.6 billion for all of 2005.