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Alternative Energy

Financial Community Remains Confident in Clean-Tech Sector

A new survey of alternative energy investors and analysts was released today by global public relations agency Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE). The findings reveal continued confidence in the industry despite widespread challenges in the economy. Fifty percent of respondents expect alternative energy stocks to outperform the broader markets in 2009.

The optimism largely reflects the expected impact of the regulatory and incentive policies proposed by the Obama administration, but the overwhelming majority also predicted that conventional oil and gas prices will resume their upward trend in 2009, and certainly in the long run. Some of the survey highlights include the following:
  • Fifty percent expect the alternative energy sector to outperform the broader markets. They are particularly optimistic about energy storage, wind and solar.
  • Eighty-two percent see the Obama administration as a "positive" or "very positive" performance catalyst.
  • Seventy-six percent expect oil prices to stabilize or increase in 2009.
  • Seventy-six percent believe that the media coverage of alternative energy often overlooks important aspects of the industry. Respondents faulted the media for both overexuberance and excessive skepticism, with several saying they see signs of a positive bias in the mainstream media and a negative, or "short," bias in the financial media.
"Despite a deeply challenging business climate, the financial community continues to view alternative energy stocks with persistent optimism," said Lev Janashvili, vice president of WE's Global Corporate Communications Practice. "The survey reveals a tension between the financial community's optimism about the long-term potential of alternative energy and the difficulty of identifying future leaders and survivors."

This report kicks off the WE's "Investors in Innovation" survey series, which will focus on innovation-driven industries. Survey findings are within the report. Respondents included 81 current and prospective institutional investors in alternative energy; brokerage analysts who maintain active coverage of the industry; and other industry participants including private equity firms, direct investors and independent research firms.

"Companies trying to weather the current storm are battening down the hatches, but they also need to keep their oars in the water if they want to stay on course. Engagement is more critical than ever," said Jon Coifman, vice president of the WE Environment Practice. "While there is clear optimism about the sector as a whole, investors, policy-makers and other stakeholders need help understanding where these industries are heading, and which companies are likely to lead them."

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