Clean-energy investments add jobs, moolah to Silicon Valley

Remember the U.S. excuse for not adopting green policies, the one about hurting the economy? Yeah, that’s out the window. A new report says Silicon Valley added 33,000 jobs in 2006 after five years of job losses, thanks in large part to gigantarific investments in green technologies. “There’s a lot of excitement about the green economy,” says Doug Henton of Collaborative Economics, which produced the report. “I think it’s real.” Normally Doug’s word is enough for us, but check out these actual numbers, too: “cleantech” funding increased from $141 million in 2005 to $516 million in 2006, and in 2006 alone, it rose from $34 million in the first quarter to $290 million in the third. Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture, the research network that released the report, says boom-and-bust cycles define the valley, but “this time the investing feels more sober and well thought out.” The trend will be chewed over at a conference this week featuring none other than Al Gore. Man, he does get around.