Monthly Archives: April 2008

The Week In Cleantech (Apr. 20 – Apr. 26) – Are Alt Energy Stocks...

On Monday, Michael Kanellos at CNET's Green Tech Blog told us that cellulosic ethanol was to surpass corn...in 14 years. Turns out he got that info from one of the leaders in making enzymes to break down cellulose. So if it takes about 14 years for cellulosic ethanol to scale up production levels to about 15 billion gallons annually, or roughly 10% of current liquid fuel consumption in the US, could there be a risk that cellulosic misses the boat altogether? Most of the estimates thrown out there for the cost of cellulosic to be competitive with corn are...

Break Due to CFA Study

Readers have probably noticed my less than consistent posting for the last couple of weeks.  I'm afraid that this is only going to get worse for the next month and a half... I'm currently studying for the third CFA® Exam, and I have much more to do than I had hoped I would at this point.   I may or may not post again before the exam (June 7th,) and if I do it will probably be short.  Charles has agreed to pick up most of the slack in May, as he did last week. To those of you who...

Stocks We Love to Hate

Investing in clean energy is both an economic and a moral decision.  From an economic perspective, I believe that constrained supplies of fossil fuels (not just Peak Oil, but also Peak Coal and Natural Gas) are leading to a permanent rise in the value of all forms of energy.  From a moral perspective, I know that we and the vast majority of our children are limited to this one planet for generations to come, so we should abuse it as little as possible, so, of all the possible forms of energy to invest in, clean energy (Renewable and...

The Week In Cleantech (Apr. 13 – Apr. 19) – Buffett Encore

This week, IMF officials voiced strong concerns over current biofuels policies in the US and Europe. On Friday, the head of the IMF claimed that biofuels posed nothing short of a moral problem for the West, and that he would support a moratorium on biofuels made from foodstuffs. Also on Friday, the IMF's Chief Economist called biofuels "a new form of protectionism" that is "now front and center in global geopolitics." For anyone who's been reading the news over the past month, you can't help but agree with this assessment. With food prices now rising in real terms for...

Lunch With Warren Buffett

Tom couldn't attend to his usual Monday column this week so he asked me to step in. My own investing has been partially on hold over the past couple of months as I have been watching developments in the markets, so I figured I would open the week with something a little lighter albeit not entirely unrelated to alt energy and cleantech investing. Deflating Valuations = Happy Value Investors One of the good things about the current state of equity markets for alt energy investors is that several great company's stocks that had been trading at...

Money and Reduced Emissions Don’t Sell Energy Efficiency, but Comfort and Health Do

    As an expert witness in an energy efficiency ("Demand Side Management" or DSM in utility-speak) docket before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, I have been making the case that non-energy benefits of energy efficiency measures such as the increased safety and comfort of an efficiently operating home need to be included in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency programs.  There has been much resistance to the inclusion of these benefits, mainly because they can be difficult to quantify.  Yet we omit them at our peril. Why Energy Efficiency and Health Matter     Last summer, I explored why the...

New Flyer: A Clean Way to Play Extreme Peak Oil Scenarios

Tom Konrad I'm more than a little obsessed with finding investments which will increase with the price of oil, but not contribute to global warming.  This is quite tricky, because most forms of renewable energy produce electricity, which we cannot use in our current fleet of cars.  Biofuels ( even cellulosic) can be used in cars, but are limited by supply of feedstock, and by the environmental degradation that growing and collecting biofuel feedstocks can cause.  Not to mention the impact on food prices (despite the fact that this may help poor farmers even as it hurts poor...

The Week In Cleantech (Mar. 30 to Apr. 4) – Sawdust Futures, Anyone?

On Sunday, Aline van Duyn argued that businesses face clean water scarcity risks. Arguments about business risk and water scarcity, or about investing in water as the next hot commodity, come and go, but nothing ever seems to stick. This is probably because very few companies have yet managed to make big bucks from water problems. However, on the risk side, things could materialize sooner than some think. Question: what's put Canada on the map globally, attracted vast amounts of capital, has all oil majors in a stampede, and is (tacitly) key to America's plans for a safe and...

Current Picks: Busses and Energy Efficiency

Over the weekend, EnergyTechStocks published two articles based on an interview with me. The first was about my conviction that Peak Oil induced rising gas prices is going to lead to a rush into mass transit building by cities, or investing in mode-shifting last September.  I've since written about opportunities in rail transit stocks, (P.TO, TRN, PRPX, and WAB), and more recently Hedging your peak oil risk with your lifestyle.  However, I have been frustrated until now that the only pure play bus stock I've been able to find is Firstgroup PLC (FGP.L, FGROF.PK), the British based owner of...