Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Alternative Energy Agenda

I attended a Massinsight breakfast/networking meeting this morning at Tiax (formerly Arthur D. Little's Technology & Innovation group). It was interesting, yet frustrating. Interesting beacuse I knew I would meet some interesting people, dreamers (the ones we need to create the ideas that someone else will commercialize), the activists, the analysts, the consultants, and the in-betweens (which I am one). Frustrating because I would hear the same things I have heard too many times, and wonder again "Who's buying?". For the most part, I was more concerned about the logistics; getting there by car in the AM rush hour.

While I am an advocate for protecting our natural world, I am not blind to the fact that the markets we function in can not be ignored or overturned (under the current political system). They are part of the solution; they have to be, else the battle to create a sustainable future will be that much more difficult, if not impossible.

Of most interest were the comments of a member of the VC fraternity. He walked through some of the increased attention and capital pouring into renewable energy companies. The poor chap was not aided by the PowerPoint visuals that so enthrall and soothe us, yet the lack of the slides perhaps contributed to why I listened more intently to what he had to say. There is a renewed interest in the clean technology sector. I am sure the reasons are many; volatile energy prices (oil & nat'l gas), political instability, the rise of China and India, corporate demand for alternatives, national security, you name it. The warning was that there may be too much money put into companies that do not have a good plan, a good exit strategy, the opportunity for the 5x return the VCs are looking for.

As I said before, "Who's buying?"

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