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Green dreams offer investment opportunities

Technology has always had an attraction for investors. Memories of the great tech bubble of 1998-2000 are now distant enough to permit a new wave of enthusiasm.

This time around the tech wave ? which may be years in the making ? will have a different focus: alternative energy, or, more widely, ?sustainability?. The notion that the growing global population will, on current trends, soon be consuming two or three times the resources the earth can provide on a sustainable basis is now entering the mainstream. And investment in ?sustainable? initiatives to avoid over- consumption is certainly growing, whether it is government subsidies for renewable energy, better water management systems, more energy-efficient buildings or smarter methods of recycling waste.

All this must contain splendid investment opportunities. But where do you start? Fortunately Nick Hanna has spotted investors? need for a primer and has written The Green Investing Handbook (Harriman House), which he describes as a detailed guide to the technologies and companies involved in ?the sustainability revolution?. If that sounds like hyperbole, just remember Apple and Google.

Hanna looks at opportunities in the following sectors: solar power, geothermal power, wind power, marine energy, power storage, smart grids, hydrogen and fuel cells, green transport, green buildings and waste. For each he provides a summary of the developing technologies and business opportunities. I found the technology explanations clear and helpful. Even more useful are the listings and details on companies in each sector ? information that will of course go out of date but is useful right now in identifying promising stocks. There are also listings of ?green? funds and private equity specialists.

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