Monthly Archives: March 2007

Poll Question: How do you promote alternative energy?

This poll opened on March 29, 2007 and closed on March 30, 2007. How do you promote alternative energy? Check all that apply. Total voters for this poll: 46 invest in alternative energy stocks 18% (38 votes) support regulation of carbon emissions 13% (26 votes) support renewable energy standards 13% (27 votes) live an energy efficient lifestyle 15% (30 votes) vote for candidates who support alternative energy 13% (27 votes) buy green power 8% (16 votes) use alternative...

Inverter Stocks: A Backdoor to Solar and Wind Energy

Avoiding the Rush Whenever there is a gold rush, the people who make the real money are seldom the gold miners, but rather the suppliers to the miners that come home with the lion's share of the profits.   This is not because there is not an incredible amount of money to be made in mining gold, but because the nature of a gold rush is that too many optimistic miners are encouraged by the early profits of a few to rush to pursue too few opportunities. To many, the rush into solar stocks seems to be just...

Fuel Tech – Driving Profits by Cleaning up Coal

Fuel Tech (Nasdaq: FTEK) is one of the fast growing public greentech / cleantech companies focused on cleaning up dirty coal. I have known John Norris, the CEO of Fuel Tech, and his family for years, and have had the pleasure of following his career for some time. He's one of the many former nuclear engineers that grew up in the electric utility industry. He has held utility executive positions including CEO of Duke Engineering & Services, SVP and CEO of Duke Energy Global Asset Development, and Senior Vice President, Operations and Technical Services, at American Electric Power...

US Exchanges And Environmental Investing

An interesting bit of follow-up on my article last week about exchanges and environmental markets. Both the NYMEX and the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) have partnered up, in the past 2 weeks, with specialty cleantech and alt energy index makers to launch derivatives products. On March 14, Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE), a wholly owned subsidiary of the CCX, and WilderShares LLC, announced (PDF document) a licensing agreement to launch a futures market based on the WilderHill Clean Energy Index . The ECO is also the underlying index for the Powershares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio ETF...

Carbon Emissions ETF

Today, while reading an article on cleantech ETFs by The Motley Fool, I found out that XShares Advisors LLC and the Chicago Climate Exchange were working on a carbon emissions-based ETF (PDF document). There is not a lot of info available on what exactly this ETF will track. We reported back in November that UBS had launched an index based on European carbon prices. As noted by Richard Kang at around the same time, this index is well-suited for something like an ETF. If any of our readers have any further insight on this, don't hesitate...

Solar Power on Wallstrip

TheStreet.com is running a video segment on solar power as part of its Wallstrip series. The segment's date is 03/20/2007. If you're a long-term solar follower you definitely won't learn too much here. Nevertheless, the vid does a good job of outlining governmental efforts to boost the growth of solar in the US. Short and interesting. The segment is especially positive on: FirstSolar and Trina Solar . Positive on: Canadian Solar , Ascent Solar and Suntech Power . Negative on: Sunpower Corp .

A Blue-Chip Alternative Energy Portfolio

Update: an expanded version of this portfolio appears here. Alternative Energy: Risky but Alluring For many of my older or more cautious clients, investment in small, profitless (or nearly so) startup alternative energy companies is inappropriate.  Even a diversified ETF such as the Powershares Wilderhill Clean Energy portfolio (AMEX: PBW) is too volatile due to its heavy exposure to profitless renewable energy companies such as Evergreen Solar (ESLR) (NasdaqGM: ESLR).   Because of this, in the last year PBW has been over $24, but as low as $16.24.  While such volatility can lead to supercharged profits when you are...

The Week in Cleantech: Mar. 12 to Feb. 16

The Week in Cleantech is a weekly roundup of our favorite cleantech and alt energy blog posts and stories from across the web. If you know of a good piece that you think should be included here, don't hesitate to let us know! This week, we particularly liked... On Monday, David Talbot at MIT's Technology Review told us how to nanocharge solar. Nanotech's role in cleantech should continue to increase steadily in the years ahead. On that note, Inside Greentech discusses a report on cleantech and nanotech. On Wednesday, Stephen Trimble at Defense Tech told...

Environmental Markets: The Next Frontier in Environmental Investing?

The term environmental markets remains foreign to most investors (and environmentalists!), even though these markets represent, in my view, a very compelling investment story. Although we've discussed trading in carbon emissions in the past, I thought I would expand a bit and talk about environmental markets in general, and about good ways to play them. What's An Environmental Market? Environmental markets exist at the confluence of two movements: (a) A growing desire on the part of national and regional governments in several countries to both limit environmentally-damaging behavior and to promote the growth of alternative...

Poll Question: What is the most important risk associated with investing in pure-play environmental...

This poll opened on March 14, 2007 and closed on March 15, 2007. Total voters for this poll: 62 oil prices 21% (13 votes) political volatility 7% (4 votes) investing in the wrong sector 10% (6 votes) picking the wrong company in that sector 39% (24 votes) diversified players like GE prevailing and the pure-plays being swallowed up 18% (11 votes) other 5% (3 votes)

EnerNOC: Demand Response IPO

Lunch with an Efficiency Expert Yesterday, I had lunch with Howard Geller, Ph.D., one of our nation's leading experts in energy efficiency and energy policy. Howard is the director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), former Executive Director of ACEEE, and has a Doctorate in Energy Policy from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. My first question for industry experts is which companies are doing good things in their feilds, and I was especially interested in Howard's answers because energy efficiency is so much more difficult to pin down than most other types of...

The Week in Cleantech: Mar. 5 to Mar. 9

The Week in Cleantech is a weekly roundup of our favorite cleantech and alt energy blog posts and stories from across the web. If you know of a good piece that you think should be included here, don't hesitate to let us know! This week, we particularly liked... On Monday, Jefferies revealed that investors were bullish on solar power, ethanol and hybrid transportation. The results of this survey will surely surprise some people. On Wednesday, Travis Johnson at One Guy's Investments told us all about indirect investing. This is indeed a great strategy for investors...

Trading Alert: AAER Inc. (TSE:AAE)

I took 2 long positions yesterday (1 in my normal trading account and the other in my retirement account) in an emerging Canadian integrator of megawatt-sized wind energy conversion systems (i.e turbines) called AAER Inc . Besides turbine assembly, the company also provides a range of services to clients in the wind industry, ranging from assistance in project planning and financing to post-installation maintenance. Now it must be said from the outset that is a very speculative play on North American wind and not suitable for all investors. I entered one of my positions at C$0.38 and the...

A Welcome to Our New Editor: Tom Konrad

I am happy to announce that Tom Konrad has joined Alt Energy Stocks as an Editor. You may already be familiar with Tom's writing at EE/RE Investing and his professional services at TomKonrad.com. Tom Konrad is an independent investment advisor and financial analyst specializing in renewable energy and energy efficiency companies. He has a Ph.D. in mathematics from Purdue University, and is a level II candidate for the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He serves as Treasurer for both the Colorado Renewable Energy Society and Ratepayers United Colorado. In the short time Tom has been with us, he...

What to Make of the TXU Deal?

Last weekend, TXU Corporation (NYSE: TXU) made the stunning announcement that it would be acquired by two private equity giants Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Texas Pacific Group (TPG) in a transaction valued at $45 billion. Press release Two things leap out at me from the announced deal. First, the investors are willing to pay a 25% premium over the recent share price, while at the same time committing to a 10% rate reduction for TXU's residential electricity customers in Texas. KKR and TPG are no dummies: it must mean that they truly think...

Change Winds Blow for Renewable Energy Income Trusts

Renewable energy is still very much in its infancy, which means that companies in the space are either profitless or high-multiple startups, or divisions of much larger companies (GE Wind (NYSE:GE), or utilities such as FPL Group (NYSE:FPL) and Xcel (NYSE:XEL) which get much of their power from conventional generation.) This presents a dilemma for investors who understand the compelling drivers for the sector, but whose risk tolerance or financial needs indicate an income-based investing strategy. Canadian Income Trusts in Renewable Energy A few Canadian Income Trusts have historically gone some way towards filling this niche....