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Green Tech Grows Up

Is the grass getting greener for alternative energy investing?

This story appears in the August 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If peak-oil theorists are right, the decades ahead will see steadily rising crude oil prices and a mad rush toward alternative sources of . And if they're wrong, the decades ahead will probably still see a mad rush toward alternative energy. Call it , or alt energy; by any name, it's likely to be a fast-maturing sector in the years to come. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean it'll be an easy one in which to turn a little bit of money into a lot.

Silicon Valley is into green tech in a big way, and soon it will fund its share of startups lead by bright, young MBA graduates from Stanford and Northwestern. If you have the scratch and the connections to get in on a green-tinted venture fund, give it some consideration. is starting to wake up to the possibilities of alternative energy, too, as evidenced by the founding of at least a couple of mutual funds dedicated to the sector in the past year: Calvert Global Alternative Energy Fund (CGAEX) and Firsthand Alternative Energy Fund (ALTEX). Neither has done particularly well (in an admittedly tough market) and both have high expense ratios, but they're accessible to practically anyone and should be watched as harbingers of things to come.

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