The Toronto Globe & Mail business section looks at the “slew of small – and some not so small – public companies trading on Canadian exchanges that are involved in the alternative energy game.”

They’re in sectors as far reaching as hydro and wind power, geothermal power, solar energy, tidal and wave power and biofuels. There’s even a tiny firm, Peat Resources Ltd., listed on the TSX Venture Exchange that is trying to make money producing and marketing peat as fuel. But investing in these companies is not for the faint of heart. Because of technological uncertainty, fickle government support programs, and an uncertain energy future, most are clearly for risk-taking investors who want to gamble on the chance for big gains in the future.

David Berkowitz, a partner at Ventures West Management Inc. in Vancouver who runs the firm’s alternative energy investment portfolio, gives some good advice: Don’t be swayed by emotion or a devotion to green causes, he warns. “[People] should be investing in these companies because they think they can be profitable and they’re going to grow. It’ll be a nice byproduct if they do something good for the environment, but the primary motivation has to be profits.”

Of course, companies in the “green” sector won’t create profits if they don’t deliver on their promises.

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