Both the cleantech sector and groups fighting climate change have suffered a major branding and marketing problem in recent years. Is “advanced energy” the hot term to use going forward? That’s what the non-profit the Advanced Energy Economy Institute (AEEI) are pushing and on Tuesday morning announced, via a report created by Pike Research, that the advanced energy sector is already an over $1 trillion sector, and it is estimated to have grown 19 percent in 2012.

That growth last year is in sharp contrast to the recent numbers that came out around cleantech in 2012. According to the Cleantech Group venture capitalists invested $6.46 billion globally into cleantech startups, which was down 33 percent from the $9.61 billion that VCs invested into cleantech startups in 2011 (see more in our GigaOM Pro research note).

It’s all in how you categorize it. So what is the advanced energy market? It includes all kinds of next-generation energy technologies, from more efficient transportation technology, to synthetic diesel and gasoline, to gas turbines to more efficient land use. “Advanced energy” technologies make energy consumption and generation “more secure, clean, and affordable,” but they don’t exclude some lower emission fossil fuel sources like natural gas. Coal seems to be the only thing left off the list.

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