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New opportunities in greener pastures

Published on Friday, 20 Nov 2009
Burkhard Varnholt

The mainland is winning plaudits for its determined push to combat pollution by seeking clean energy sources.

These initiatives are proving attractive to the international investment community, which is seizing opportunities to invest in the mainland's clean technology and renewable energy projects.

The need to identify investment opportunities and understand the mechanics of the rapidly expanding new energy sector is creating job opportunities.

Bank Sarasin chief investment officer Burkhard Varnholt is bullish on the prospects of the mainland becoming the world leader in renewable energy and water treatment processes. "We can see the US could loose its position of relative strength as China and the Asia region channel significant investment into these areas," Varnholt said.

Further development could be driven by the mainland's timetable to have renewable sources of energy account for 10 per cent of energy production by next year and 15 per cent by 2020.

Anthony Wilkinson, managing director CRA Management, said Asian renewable energy, water treatment and environmental themes could represent some of most attractive investment asset classes for the near future.

"Our sole focus is the Asia-Pacific region's rapid structural trend towards greater energy and resource efficiency," Wilkinson said.

He said the Asian environmental market had changed beyond all recognition over the past 10 years, from a niche sector to one that involved mainstream economic planning for governments and businesses.

"China still has got a long way to go, but it is probably the most proactive country in the world in terms of rearranging its economy towards a more efficient and low carbon future," said Wilkinson.

He said investments linked to environmental solutions and alternative energy projects were taking investment away from traditional energy sectors, such as oil and coal, and generating a reasonable rate of return along with promising career opportunities.

The rapidly expanding sector was also creating job opportunities for financial analysts with in-depth knowledge of the energy and water treatment industries and for consultants to provide strategic, business and information technology advice to companies operating in all parts of the energy value chain.

"There is real recognition in the professional community that it is worth spending time developing a career in the environmental sector," Wilkinson said.

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