The Week In Cleantech (May 24 - May 31) - Who Is Going To Pay For Carbon Capture?
On Wednesday, Cramer at TheStreet.com inherited some wind stocks for us. The article begins by claiming that Cramer is a "longtime bull of the wind power business." I'm not sure what 'long-term' means for Cramer, but in January 2007 the extent of his knowledge on Energy Conversion Devices (NASDAQ:ENER), which is not a wind play but is nonetheless a good proxy for understanding of the alt energy sector overall, was that since oil prices were expected to trend down the stock was a "sell! sell! sell!", presumably because there was nothing more to this company than oil prices...oups...But I digress. This is actually an interesting piece and I like the building of the wind turbine from scratch concept. He's unfortunately missing a key piece of the value chain: the companies that are building and operating wind parks. But as a longtime expert of this market, I'm sure he's got that covered elsewhere.
On Thursday, Kent Croft told us on The Street TV (video) that he was plugging into power for us. A quick discussion on four plays on the US electricity grid.
On Thursday, Ken Schachter at Red Herring told us that energy storage was the next big thing. Notice in the latter part of the article how the biggest thing of the next big thing is bulk storage for utilities, a topic that is right up there with increased grid efficiency.
On Friday, HardAssetInvestor saw the light for us. An interesting piece discussing one area of opportunity related to the grid: direct current/alternating current and electricity transmission. The company discussed in this article, ABB (NYSE:ABB), was recommended by our own Tom Konrad last July and is up 30% since he made that call.
On Friday, Matthew L. Wald at the NYT informed us that mounting costs would slow the push for clean coal. On Wednesday, we reported on a recent study claiming that the costs of building power generation facilities were shooting up. If the capital costs of building conventional power generation are rising, and if operating costs are also growing because of higher fuel prices, then it's not surprising that a technology whose environmental effectiveness is unclear at best but that is certain to raise both capital and operating costs ends up falling by the wayside. I think great gains can be achieved relatively cheaply through efficiency, but by-and-large dealing with the negative externalities created by fossil fuels is going to be a negative -sum game, meaning that having your cake and eating too might not be an option.