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Green Energy Has Clear Winners and Losers in 2011
CNBC.com | November 11, 2011 | 04:29 PM EST

The clean, or green , energy sector is more dynamic than ever.

Not only is research and development pushing forward in so many different directions, certain technologies are evolving quickly, while others are just getting going.

New investment is key in this diverse, capital-intensive sector, and despite a somewhat sluggish global economy , venture capital is finding plenty of opportunity in clean tech.

The year 2010 was a record, with $7.8 billion invested globally, according to the closely followed data of Cleantech Group .

More recently, some $2.23 billion was invested across 189 deals in the third quarter . That's 12 percent more than the previous quarter. What's more, 59 percent of those deals involved second or later rounds of financing, an indication that the companies involved were living up to expectations.

The sector's dynamism, however, may be best reflected in the gravitation of investment capital.

For the first time, energy storage received the most venture capital funding ($514 million), displacing solar ($350 million). Solar also lost the No. 1 spot in deal volume. Energy efficiency was the most popular area, with 34 funding rounds.

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