My Heart Bleeds

by Iain Murray on September 19, 2008

in Economy, Energy, Environment

From today’s Greenwire:

NEW YORK — The crisis roiling Wall Street is threatening to choke financing for green energy projects. Venture capitalists and private equity firms could fill the void as traditional financing options dry up. Indeed, private equity fund managers say the current turmoil could turn into a net positive for them: As debt markets turn their backs on green energy companies, many will look to venture capital and private equity to get backing for new projects or expansions. But the new, highly risk-averse environment will make it that much more difficult for companies to convince investors to put money behind renewables. While the sector is still very popular, the chief worry among money managers is protecting existing portfolios and guaranteeing that any new investments will net them strong, long-term returns.

Oh dear, what a shame, never mind. In a threatening recession, with a looming energy crisis, the last thing we should be doing is wasting money on projects that are not economically viable and that will actually make energy more expensive, which is all that renewable energy projects have been able to do so far. Now, I don’t mind venture capitalists doing it, or private investors putting up their own money because they believe it is important, but the mainstream funding sources must concentrate on what is viable and what will produce the affordable energy the economy needs. The renewables industry has to get its act together, and stop leeching off the rest of the economy. If it can do that, I’ll be only too happy to applaud its true maturation.

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