Monthly Archives: September 2007

A Solar Technology for Every Application

Acciona's financing of Nevada Solar One, and a recent series of a financing, a prominent hire, and a big announcement from Concentrating Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) developer Ausra has been keeping long-underappreciated Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technology in the news recently.  I consider this great news, because the potential for cheap thermal storage of CSP and the gigantic size of the available resource means that CSP is likely to provide the backbone of reliability for any future decarbonized electric grid where the clear skies which it requires to operate properly and sufficient transmission are available. But CSP is...

The Week in Cleantech (Sep. 23 to Sep. 29) – One Step in the...

On Sunday, Lascelles Linton at AutoBlog Green informed us that VW intended to offer a hybrid option for ALL of its models. I'm a big fan of electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies, but this looks to me like a risky bet. VW is already a leader in fuel efficiency, which taken alone represents a competitive advantage in an era of rising fuel prices and tightening environmental standards. HEV is a whole different ball game, and it remains unclear at this stage whether this will end up being the winner technology. If I were a shareholder, I probably would...

Two Canadian IPPs For Your Portfolio

Most alternative energy investors are aware of North American wind power's very bright growth prospects. In past articles, we discussed encouraging projections for the US and Canadian (PDF document) wind markets between now and 2015. While onshore European capacity is fast being exhausted, North America is only beginning its foray into wind and some major capex can be expected in this space over the coming years. Besides solid expected growth, another phenomenon is currently impacting the wind industry; consolidation. This is a global movement that is affecting all of the power gen sector, and that has no-doubt been...

Change of Email Address

A quick note to inform our readers that I recently changed my email address due to vastly increased levels of spam in the last few months. My new email address is: Should you wish to include my contact information on your website, I would like to ask that you please use a format that does not make it easy for robots to read email addresses. We use images at AltEnergyStocks.com - this is one of the most effective ways. I will be checking my old email address for another month, after which we will discontinue...

Visual Comparison of Alternative Transportation Fuels

I've recently agreed to do a of couple presentations on "Investing In Green Energy" at conferences this October, and so I've decided it's time to update and expand on some graphs I constructed this spring: I created a pair of graphs which give an overview of how different electricity generation technologies compare.  These are not precise graphs with anything resembling scientific accuracy, but I think they're a useful too for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of various technologies.   This is my attempt to do the same for transportation fuels.  Note that I'm really only talking about cars and trucks...

The Week in Cleantech (Sep. 16 to Sep. 22) – More Solar Thermal, More...

On Tuesday, Andrea Quong at Red Herring told us that investors reaped returns on clean energy. A quick look at returns in the European cleantech VC and PE spaces. On Wednesday, Emily Gertz at World Changing gave us the run-down on the legal climate on climate change. This action by NY's Attorney General formalizes what many have been saying for a while - certain power gen companies, and the investors that own them, could be exposed to serious regulatory risks related to global warming in the years ahead. Strangely, those companies and their investors often seem to favor...

Q2 2007 Biofuels Country Attractiveness Indices

Ernst & Young recently came out with its quarterly rankings of the investment attractiveness of the main national biofuel markets (PDF file). The report contains three indices: the All Biofuels Index, the Ethanol Index and the Biodiesel Index. No big surprise with most of the results. The report also outlines some of main deals to have occured in the global biofuels space in Q2, and notes two worrying developments. First, the German biodiesel market appears less than healthy at the moment, with many refiners operating at below...

Who Killed the Electric Bus?

In the last Technology Quarterly, The Economist had a story about the electric busses in 1907 London.  As they tell it, the electric bus had a real chance to beat out the internal combustion engine, and the company only failed because of fraud.  The electric technology was in many ways superior to the internal combustion engines which eventually won out. In fact, many people at the time still considered the horse to be the far superior technology.  These days, the battle is still between the same three fuels: Electric, Petroleum, and biomass (grass and oats for the...

Electro Energy: Drained, or Ready to Recharge?

Bottom-Fishing for Batteries I believe that we have only seen the beginning of the current market decline.  You should take that with a grain of salt, since I've been unremittingly bearish since 1999 and for more than half that time, the market has been going up. Even if the market has much further to fall, some stocks may have already taken most of the damage they are likely to take.  Knowing that I might be wrong, I've started to do a little bottom fishing among companies that people have been starting to dump as the realize stock prices can...

The Week in Cleantech (Sep. 9 to Sep. 15) – TXU In, SaskPower Out!

On Tuesday, Mark Gongloff at the WSJ's Energy Roundup informed us that Alcoa couldn't wait to go geothermal. This is indeed an interesting development. Aluminum smelters are some of the most electricity-intensive industrial processes around, and, in a context of rising energy prices, there are very real incentives to explore alternatives for firms in this industry. On Wednesday, Kevin Bullis at Technology Review looked into making cheaper solar cells for us. Could Heliovolt be the next First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR)? On Wednesday, Tyler Hamilton at Clean Break warned us of the inherent limitations of so-called "clean coal". The...

Power Purchase Agreements Webinar

Greentech Media is hosting a one-hour webinar at 12:00 PM ET Wednesday, September 19th, entitled "The Advance of the Solar PPA: When an Organization is Ready for a Power Purchase Agreement." PPAs are an interesting new area of activity in alternative energy, and definitely something worth understanding for the alt energy investor. For further details and registration, visit Greentech Media's special section for this event.

Structured Leveraged Concentrating Solar Power?

On August first, Acciona Energy closed financing on Nevada Solar One, in the first leveraged lease structured financing in the United States. This begs two questions: What in the world is a leveraged lease structured financing? Why do we care? What in the World? An in-depth analysis of the economics of leverage leasing for all three parties involved is available here.  Structured financing is a generic term for any form of financing more complex than a loan or a rental.  For those of you who need to remain awake, here's the short version: a leveraged lease is...

The Grid Impacts of Net Metering

Net metering describes the requirement that an electric utility buy electricity from any of its customers that generate their own electricity (usually with some sort of renewable energy, such as solar or wind) at the same price that they sell it to the customer.  That seems fair, doesn't it? The Utility Perspective It doesn't seem fair to the utility.  Utilities do more than just generate and sell electricity to customers.  They also are responsible for transmission (delivering the electricity) and reliability (making sure that the lights work when you flip the switch.) Taking just the reliability requirement, suppose that...

The Week in Cleantech (Sep. 2 to Sep. 8) – Is Geothermal Really Alternative...

On Wednesday, Energy Tech Stocks gave us the heads up on a recent warning by Raymond James & Associate about declining oil production. Interesting to see a thesis that was derided as pure fantasy as recently as two years ago slowly creeping up into the mainstream. On Thursday, Sam Abuelsamid at Autoblog Green opined that CO2 regulations in Europe could place the balance of power on the auto parts suppliers' side in the fight for profit margins. We have noted in the past how some of the most interesting (and 'safest') clean car investment opportunities rested with parts...

RSS Feeds for CleanTech News and Alt Energy Stocks

In June, we launched CleanTech News which generates the top headlines in the cleantech world by automatically by scanning over 240 cleantech blogs and news sources. Today we are launching an RSS feed for CleanTech News. The aim of this feed is to allow you to track what is happening in the cleantech world through a single feed. Tom and Charles have been using the CleanTech News feed for some time and they have also been providing feedback which has been used to improve the application that generates CleanTech News. Both Tom and Charles, who are voraciaous consumers...

Alternative Energy Stocks Portfolio Update

It's been six weeks since I last provided readers with an update on the Paper Portfolio.  According to the guidelines I laid out there, stocks are added to the portfolio when Chares or I mention them positively for the first time (leaving out ones for which Yahoo! finance does not have historical data, which are mostly pink sheet stocks.)  Here are the ones we've added since then. Stock Article Date Added Price Price 9/5/07 DOW Investing in energy Efficient Homes 7/24/07 $47.20 $42.20 OC Investing in energy Efficient Homes 7/24/07 $33.00 $24.26 ...