The “death of cleantech” has been the topic of much discussion over the past few months. Whether you think the sector will emerge from “the trough of disillusionment” with an evolved strategy and moniker, or if you think the sector is gone for good, it’s hard to ignore metrics like the fact that venture capitalists invested a third less in cleantech startups in 2012, compared to 2011.

But for investors that still believe in the underlying trends of cleantech — the fairly obvious notion that the world will one day need better management tactics for resources like energy, food and water — the so-called “cleantech cliff” actually has some noteworthy silver linings. The most important one of those is that there’s just not that much competition out there anymore for investors to find and fund new startups in clean power, smart grid, energy…

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