By ASHLEY E. ORGAN, Assistant Editor Investment in “clean” energy reached a record high in 2010 as companies and governments worldwide continued to join the alternative energy movement. According to recent figures by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, new investment in 2010 reached US $243 billion, a 30% increase from $186.5 billion in 2009. China’s investment alone reached $51.1 billion, the largest figure for any country last year. Along with China’s contribution, investment in small-scale, distributed generation projects (i.e., wind farms, solar parks, and biofuel plants); European offshore wind activity; and R&D spending on clean energy technologies drove the rapid growth, the report states. The solar power sector showed a 49% growth in 2010 due to Europe’s $59.6 billion investment. In addition, energy-smart technologies such as smart grid, energy management, electric vehicles, and power storage received notable levels of financing, reaching a record $23.9 billion. “This is a spectacular result, beating previous record investment levels by a clear margin of more than $50 billion,” Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance said. “It flies in the face of skepticism about the clean energy sector among public market investors who have been concerned about the sustainability of subsidy programs in Europe, the failure of the Obama administration to deliver a climate or an energy deal, and the crescendo of ill-informed doubts about climate change.” Dr. Nansen G. Saleri, CEO and president of Quantum Reservoir Impact, is a bit more skeptical about some of the “clean” energy solutions, though he recognizes the need for broad sourcing where energy is concerned. In his view, the cream will come to the top because of the competitive nature of the energy industry. At the AGC Houston monthly meeting on Jan. 11, 2011, Saleri told attendees that the world has entered a new energy era where competition will exist among all energy components. “Wind, biomass, etc. are welcome,” he said. “They are great for the US, great for the planet, and if it’s a bad idea, they’ll go bankrupt. Any energy that cannot hold up to the competition will die away.”