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Investments in renewable energy have declined somewhat, according to figures compiled for the first quarter of the year by New Energy Finance, an energy investment analysis provider.

Venture capital/private equity investments totaled $3.7 billion in the first quarter of 2007, whereas just $2.4 billion has been recorded for the first quarter of 2008.

There was a divide between private equity, which was sharply down, and venture capital, where investment was up from a year ago. Private equity saw a 64% fall from $2.5 billion in the first quarter of 2007 to just $878 million in the first quarter of this year. Partly, this was a reflection of the uncertainty and volatility in the financial markets and the drying up of credit availability.

But venture capital investors put $1 billion into clean energy in the first quarter, against $668 million at the same stage last year, an increase of 57%. Late-stage venture capital investments saw a big increase.

Investment in wind assets, at $6.6 billion in this year’s first quarter of this year, compared with $7.2 billion in the same quarter last year, seems to be holding up despite the looming expiration of the U.S. production tax credit, suggesting that developers are confident a solution will be reached before the credit runs out at the end of the year.

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