Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures responded to the now widely aired CBS 60 Minutes TV segment titled "The Cleantech Crash" in a thought-provoking must-read open letter for anyone interested in investing in cleantech. The cleantech movement is alive and kicking, contrary to the 60 Minutes piece and Khosla eloquently points out the many discrepancies that were somehow allowed to be put on TV. The recent Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) acqusition of Nest only solidifies that cleantech is far from dead. In fact, with amazing progress and energy being generated by solar and wind, what was 60 Minutes thinking highlighting the bad investments and not giving the winners any attention?
Let's face it, cleantech has been plagued by much bad press post-Solyndra and Fisker, but surging investment in solar and wind, coupled with the early success of electric car maker Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) is helping get investors off the sidelines and into next generation energy opportunities in battery storage, software, and a variety of renewables. Collectively that truth should awaken 60 Minutes' "Rip Van Winkle" view on cleantech and force them to call "do-over" on the subject and run a follow-up piece that truly sets the record straight for the American people.
Pointing to sluggish growth in cleantech is unfair considering many sectors, not just cleantech, including retail, industrials, chemicals, and yes, oil sands, all experienced a downturn during the recent recession, a recession that was deemed one of the worst since the Great Depression. So I agree with Khosla that despite having a cleantech portfolio of companies that may not see the light of day, the one in the portfolio that is successful can be extraordinary, and that's worth the early investment, especially since I truly believe the next Facebook or Twitter will actually come from the energy sector.
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