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Why clean energy is still a good bet – Despite falling oil prices and the credit crunch, green technology investors remain bullish.

Date: 11/05/2008

Company: RockPort Capital


Some people are saying that the clean energy revolution is over, before it has even begun. “Alternative energy suddenly faces headwinds,” declared The New York Times. “Winds shift for renewable energy as oil price sinks, money gets tight,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Will the Economic Crash Take Down Our Hopes for Clean Energy?” asks Alternet.

There’s no doubt that recent developments cast a cloud over the renewable energy business. The capital markets have turned risk-averse, making financing for alternative energy hard to come by. Declining oil prices make it harder for cleaner transportation fuels to compete with gasoline. In a slumping economy, the government will be reluctant to pass climate change legislation that will raise gas and electricity rates.

Never mind – there are compelling reasons, even now, to believe that the U.S. is on the verge of a dramatic shift, away from a economy dependent on cheap fossil fuels and towards cleaner, greener, more efficient ways of doing business.

Recently, I spoke with three leading venture capitalists who focus on clean tech: William E. “Wilber” James of Rockport Capital, Alan Salzman of VantagePoint Venture Partners, and Paul Maeder of Highland Capital Partners. Needless to say, they are biased – they are invested, personally and professionally, in renewable energy and other clean technologies.

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