Investors bullish on clean energy technologies

The clean-energy sector is experiencing a post-Katrina bounce. Petroleum stocks are looking less attractive after the storm damaged Gulf Coast oil rigs and refineries, and many investors seem to think pre-Katrina high fossil-fuel prices are here to stay, making renewable-energy investments more attractive. Several small U.S. solar technology firms have seen their share prices jump dramatically since last year — infusing welcome cash into a sector that’s long grappled with both low investor interest and lean government funding. “It’s not just Katrina,” said Bob Wilder, an executive who helps manage the PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio, which saw its assets grow dramatically to $129 million in the two weeks after the hurricane. “The lack of attention to alternative energy is coming home to roost, and investors wonder why the U.S. isn’t diversifying with solar and wind energy.”