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Will greentech attract lots of green in the new year?

There's some indication that greentech firms are continuing to attract VC dollars. That means folks with money expect the new regime in Washington to encourage, perhaps even subsidize greentech in the U.

There's some indication that greentech firms are continuing to attract VC dollars. That means folks with money expect the new regime in Washington to encourage, perhaps even subsidize greentech in the U.S.

SolFocus is one such company. The Mountain View company has concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology combining high-efficiency solar cells and advanced optics. SolFocus promises systems that are scalable, dependable and capable of delivering on the promise of clean, low-cost, renewable energy. SolFocus recently signed a deal to help develope the first-ever solar concentrator generating plant in Greece.

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Solfocus collector panels.

WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?

With hundreds of billions of dollars possibly to be spent on infrastructure and other job-producing programs by the Obama Administration, the cup-bearers are lining up. This promises to be a classic Washington-style battle for bucks. Ethanol v. clean coal. Solar v. wind turbines. Highways v. mass transit. As with most compromises that roll through the nation's capital, everybody's likely to get some piece of the pie and nobody will get everything they want...unless they happen to be a large bank. Some lobbyists say there isn't necessarily a conflict between blue collar and green collar jobs. Most greentech start-ups are non-union. Apparently much of the money will funnel through state governments, meaing green-leaning states like Colorado and California will spend more on greentech. I wouldn't expect a lot of greentech spending in Oklahoma, West Virgnia, Wyoming and other places where the fossil fuel industry rules.

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With unemployment now at the highest official level in 26 years, there'll be loud screams that any money in the federal stimulus plan has to have immediate job-creation potential. Not like the over $300-billion that has already disappeared down the gullet of the big financials under TARP. Now the talk in D.C. is that the proposed stimulus plan in 2009 will be over $800-billion. Who would not want just a modest gulp from that trough full of dollars?

The general media has noted the scientific expertise being assembled by Obama on his administrative team, and they assume this means tough action on climate change. I' ve blogged about the complex politics of greentech in the Obama Era. And pointed out two cabinet nominees are big ethanol supporters from the Corn Belt. With so much at stake: millions of jobs, billions of dollars, visibility and viability--2009 will be a crucial year for many sectors of greentech in the U.S. Somewhere in that $800 or $850 or $900 billion--do I hear a cool trillion?--somewhere there may be money that will make winners of some greentech companies.