Why Are Investors So Bearish on Clean Energy?

I called my friend, 2GreenEnergy Associate and clean energy finance expert Bill Paul for some advice the other day. “I have a client with a breakthrough in battery chemistry, and I’m trying to find them a manufacturing partner in the electric vehicle space.  Where do you think I should look?” I asked.

By the word “where,” what I meant was “At what companies?” But what I got from Bill was this: “My first suggestion is that you forget everyone and everything in the United States.”He went on, “There’s no money here. More correctly, there’s plenty of money, but it’s not moving. It’s sitting on the sidelines — two trillion dollars of it. Check out Europe. They have their own issues, of course, but at least they’re making investments, and not just sitting around watching the rest of the world fly past them.”

That’s sobering, isn’t it? What are we doing here that’s so dramatically wrong?

My answer, simplistic as it may be, is that our leaders in government have investors terrified. I am completely sympathetic to someone with money, looking at the political scene, who says to himself, “Next year, the U.S. could elect a president whose mission is rolling back decades of progress the country has made in protecting its environment.  His campaign platform is dismantling the EPA; he’ll spend four years doing his damnedest to remove the last vestiges of  regulation, enabling private enterprise to do whatever it wants regardless of the ecological consequences. Let’s see here…. how much money would I be smart to have invested in clean energy when the national interest in this subject goes from “tentative’ to ‘zero?’”

I’d be interested in your viewpoints.

Original Article on 2GreenEnergy

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9 Comments

  1. Gavin Hudson said:

    I’m bullish on clean energy. I don’t know what’ll happen in the US, but Asia & Europe are moving full tilt boogie ahead.

  2. Spike Lewis said:

    Me thinks Obama needs to get the bankers together in a room, and, much like he did with the auto makers and the new MPG standards, explain to them 1) we bailed you out and 2) you need to start lending to clean energy companies. 3) Any questions, see #1).

  3. William Carr said:

    I can see your point about investors being nervous about a new administration.

    But technically, that’s not the Government’s fault. It’s up to the voters.

    Now, if Obama had a free hand, he could encourage RE with the same direct 1% loans China is making to their Solar Companies.

    But his hands appear to be full, what with the religious zealotry of his opposition.

  4. Reality Check said:

    This article is a perfectly illustration of the irony of the whole “clean” energy “business”. The comments are even worse.
    The reality of the situation, like it or not, is that investors are sitting on the sidelines precisely because Obama shares your worldview. It is his predatory attitude towards business that they fear, not the unreal and unhinged fantasy that “the U.S. could elect a president whose mission is rolling back decades of progress”.
    An investor investing in “green energy” would be like a Jew investing in German coal-to-oil business in 1936. An uneconomic investment in a political program designed to destroy you is not a smart move.
    I would like to see real clean energy alternatives, but it will not come from any of these tax-subsidised scams. It will come from the same place that all other energy technologies came from – the market. And – most likely – it will leverage existing infrastructure.
    It is from following a link to one such promising technology that I landed on this site. This site is proof that the biggest enemy of the environment is the environmental movement, and the economic scams and political opportunism that infests it. The promising tech I mentioned is likely to end up lumped in with the Solyndras and the deranged “religious zealotry” conspiracy theorists on here.
    In the end, though, we will muddle through. All this rubbish will join the socialist paradises in the dustbin of history, and cleaner technology will quietly emerge in an evolutionary process.
    Darwin rules.

    • Inertia said:

      Hey RC, first of all, Obama is not against business, because business is essential to successful economic growth. He is against the corporations that sit on their profits, while the income gap spreads and more and more people are out of work. If investors began the process of renewable energy, it would not only create jobs, but it would be a start to decrease our reliance on foreign oil. And no doubt the government would provide investors with incentives, such as the partnership between NASA and SpaceX. Second, what is your idea of “real clean energy?” It’s called evolution for a reason, everything has to begin somewhere, why not with solar and wind.

  5. John Jay Gebhardt said:

    market does not rule. what happens in the market when one group has a super advantage and can block others from competing and introducing new alternatives? this is why the market is inferior and we need government policy directives to move us forward.

  6. Michael DeRosia said:

    John Jay has it right. I really don’t like how the capitalist right attacks renewable, sustainable energy. They completely take a high ground position on subsidies without acknowledging that oil exploration and development (a.k.a. big oil, big coal, big natural gas) has been receiving in the form of: 1) Reduced corporate income taxes for the oil industry, 2) lower than average sales taxes on gasoline, 3) government funding of programs that primarily benefit the oil industry and motorists, and 4) “hidden” environmental cost caused by motor vehicles, namely air, water, and noise pollution. Let’s get real! This has been a rigged game against new entrants to the energy mix… namely technologies like wind and sun energy, and electric vehicle industries. Yet, look at the recent penetration of these industries that don’t pollute, don’t poison the water, or cause caustic “acid rain”. Go ahead and call me names, and tell me windmills catch on fire, and Electric Vehicles (although much more energy efficient, and don’t emit carbon monoxide into the air) are not cost effective. Just continue to lie to me and tell me my only hope in life is to continue to breath polluted air to work. That we don’t desirve clean water, or clean air… and that the profit motive will address these public goods. Crazy! That is so crazy! Tell me we dont’ desirve clean air and clean water? I guess we don’t desirve affordable health care either… my goodness. That is my Reality Check!

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