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Investors jump at clean energy: Price WaterhouseCoopers

AP , WASHINGTON

Investors are gambling on green energy, pouring US$4.1 billion into fledgling clean technology companies last year, Price WaterhouseCoopers LLP concluded in a recent report.

The accounting firm said that despite the economic downturn, venture capital investments in upstart companies involved in solar, alternative fuels, energy storage and other clean energy ventures has soared in the last two years from only US$1.4 billion as recently as 2006.

Nevertheless there are signs of trouble ahead.

“Urgency surrounds numerous clean tech companies which saw a drying up of tax equity structured financing in 2008” that stalled solar, wind and biofuels programs and threatens some companies with bankruptcy, the report said.

Despite the overall growth last year, venture-backed investments in clean energy declined by 14 percent in the last three months of the year, reflecting the impact of tight credit markets, said the report, which was to be released yesterday.

The solar industry — still in the early stages of development — accounted for nearly half of the investments tracked by the report.

Wind energy investments, which saw 50 percent growth last year in terms of how much electricity is being produced from turbines, fell by 40 percent last year, the report said.

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