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For Investors, a Heads-Up on Clean Tech

By Leonard Anderson
The Boston Globe
August 5, 2007


Review - The Clean Tech Revolution: The Next Big Growth and Investment Opportunity,
by Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder

Clean technology is evolving from an environmental issue
to big business, opening a world of opportunities for companies,
entrepreneurs, and investors who see a chance to -- yes -- clean up, says
a new book.

"Clean technology is everywhere," Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder write in
"The Clean Tech Revolution: The Next Big Growth and Investment
Opportunity" (Collins, $26.95).

They describe clean tech as "any product, service, or process that
delivers value using limited or zero nonrenewable resources and/or creates
significantly less waste than conventional offerings."

The main force pushing clean tech from "utopian dreams" to new Silicon
Valleys and Wall Street is simple economics: "Clean-energy costs are
falling as the costs of fossil fuel energy are going up," the authors write.

Alternative energy and building technologies are expanding, but in centers
that haven't had the cachet of California's Silicon Valley, the launch pad
for personal computers, the Internet, and biotech.

Emerging clean-tech cities include Copenhagen, where wind power generates
20 percent of Denmark's electricity, and Chicago, a leader in "green"
buildings saving energy and heating and cooling costs, the authors say.
"Clean tech has roots in the Birkenstocks-back-to-the-earth alternatives
in the 1970s," Pernick, cofounder of the Clean Edge research and
publishing firm, said in an interview.

"But the alternatives are now becoming very mainstream," he said, "because
corporations from General Electric to Toyota to Sharp to Wal-Mart are
embedding new technologies into their current and future growth strategies."

Pernick and Wilder break down clean tech into four main sectors -- energy,
transportation, water, and materials -- and examine business and
investment opportunities.

Solar-energy companies, for example, are competing for a projected $69
billion in sales by 2016, up from $16 billion last year, while wind-power
growth is put at $61 billion in 2016, compared with $17.9 billion in 2006.

Surging demand for energy in China and India also is driving clean-energy
transportation, building, and water-delivery technologies.

Along with Copenhagen and Chicago, the top-10 roster of new Silicon
Valleys includes Austin, Texas; Freiburg, Germany; New York; Vancouver,
British Columbia; Hyderabad, India; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; and Shanghai.

Eight sectors with the strongest growth opportunities include solar
energy, wind power, biofuels and biomaterials, green buildings, personal
transportation, smart electric grid, mobile applications like portable
fuel cells, and water filtration, the authors say.

But they don't tout specific stocks or securities. They prefer to lay out
a blueprint of opportunities, technologies, companies, and trends that may
build successful businesses and strengthen economies.

There are also "10-to-watch" lists of one-paragraph briefs on promising
clean-tech companies, such as Southwest Windpower in Flagstaff, Ariz.,
which is targeting small single turbines for residences.

 

Promoting Green Building Design, Construction and Operation, Sustainable Living,
Clean Technology, Renewable Energy Resources and Energy Independence