Renewables Attract Venture Capital
In Silicon Valley these days, more venture capitalists are following Mr. Ehrenpreis's lead. They are driven in part by the high price of oil, which hovered around $59 a barrel on Tuesday, and the vast unmet demand for electricity in China and India.That action comes with a big risk: many of the companies involved simply don't know what's going on, echoing a situation that occurred during the Carter administration. The potential for total failure is high.
"The reason we're allocating dollars to this sector is we think we can deliver attractive returns," said Mr. Ehrenpreis, who also serves as co-chairman of the advisory board of the Cleantech Venture Network. "It's not because we want to do great things for the environment or great things for the world," though he adds that that is a "great byproduct."
"This is an area where we've been seeing a lot of quiet investing going on," said Mark G. Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association. "People are saying so far it's more talk than action, but I think there's been a lot of sub rosa action."