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Investors Can Predict the Winners of the Alternative Energy Race: Follow the Patents

It seems that in just the last few months, reduction of US dependence on foreign oil has moved from an occasionally discussed aspirational goal to becoming a critical public policy mandate. Indeed, there is much talk about the energy policies of both John McCain and Barack Obama, each of which focus substantially on increasing the amount of energy obtained from within the borders of the US. As an interested observer, it appears to me that the publicity associated with The Pickens Plan announced in July 2008 (which I previously wrote about here) served as a significant impetus for increased public awareness of alternative energy as a public policy concern. There can be no doubt that the alternative energy "train has left the station" and that we will begin seeing an ever-increasing amount of corporate investment in both wind and natural gas technology. This investment will be directed toward