Venture capital investments in the U.S., Europe, China and Israel in 2007 are on pace to hit their highest levels in six years.

It’s good news, because it means there’s lots of money available for entrepreneurs with good ideas.

More than $40 billion is expected to be invested this year, according to Dow Jones VentureOne and Ernst & Young, one of the most respected research teams on the topic of venture capital. Already, more than $30 billion was invested during the first three quarters.

Cleantech and medical device companies are seeing the most increases in investments from VCs. Worldwide investment in medical device companies surpassed $3.40 billion during the first three quarters, already an annual record. For the first half, global cleantech investment reached $1.1 billion, up 44 percent from the $764.3 million invested in the same period last year.

A relatively healthy market for IPOs and mergers and acquisitions are helping drive the growth. Notably, VCs are investing more capital because its needed for companies to establish themselves quickly in the new global marketplace, according to the study. Of course, that flies in the face of accepted thinking about capital needs for the internet sector: There, the consensus is that companies need less money because of the plunge in costs for things like bandwidth, servers, and storage.

“The new global surge in venture capital investments particularly in cleantech and healthcare companies, has been driven by a number of factors,” said Gil Forer, global director of Ernst & Young’s Venture Capital Advisory Group. “First, there is heightened demand for innovative technologies in energy efficiency and medical technology around the globe in both mature and emerging markets. The healthy exit environment, both for IPO’s and for mergers and acquisitions, is spurring investment in a number of areas. In addition, today’s venture-backed companies need to establish competitive, global operations quickly and thus require more financing capital. Finally, innovation is the new currency of competition and venture capitalists are responding to the demand for external innovation from an increasing number of large corporations that have concluded they must look for innovation beyond their in-house research and development functions to win in their markets.”