Monthly Archives: June 2008

New Wind ETF FAN Cools Off Sunburned Portfolios

Update:You can find a comparison of FAN with PWND. a more recent wind ETF here. Since I last covered clean energy mutual funds and ETFs, the sector has seen the launch of two solar ETFs (KWT the Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF from VanEck,  and TAN, the Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy ETF.)   Continuing in the tradition of cute ticker symbols, First Trust's new global wind energy ETF is FAN. I recommend that investors stay away from the (very expensive) green energy mutual funds, and invest either in one of the ETFs, or if they have...

The Week In Cleantech (Jun 22 to Jun 28) – More Oil Sands, Please…

On Sunday, Ed Pilkington at The Guardian informed us that a leading climate scientist was going to push for oil company leaders to be tried. I'm not sure one will ever be able to draw exact parallels between fossil energy and cigarettes, seeing as the latter had no bearing on industrialization and economic growth. Nevertheless, alt energy investors would benefit greatly if fossil fuels were given the same treatment as cigarettes by local policy-makers. Are potential bans on drive-thrus a sign that such times are upon us? On Monday, Martin LaMonica at CNET News told us that...

Energy Efficiency Policy Recommendations for State Legislators

On Monday, I had one of my favorite sorts of opportunities, which was a chance to influence future energy legislation.  The National Conference of State Legislators invited me to give a short presentation as part of a two-day energy efficiency workshop for interested legislators from across the country.   Given the short time frame, I couldn't say everything I would have wanted, but fortunately, I was part of a large group of excellent presenters, so what I didn't hit, they did.  I focused on my ideas for transforming markets and tackling the many barriers to energy efficiency . Tom Konrad...

Why The McCain Proposal Will Do Nothing For Battery Technology

On Monday, John McCain, in a drive to build his environmental credentials, pledged that if he were elected he would initiate a contest to come up with a car battery design that leapfrogs current technology and makes electric car and plug-in hybrids a reality. The winner would get a $300 million prize, or about $1 per American, which according to McCain is a small price to pay for the benefits this technology would yield. A politician would only make such a pledge for one of two reasons: (a) he has no insight into how innovation occurs in an...

Is There Any Value In Stella Jones?

Value Investing A few months ago, I discussed my encounter with Warren Buffett, and promised that I would eventually analyze a stock using the value investing (VI) approach. While I can`t say that I qualify as a hardcore value investor, there are many things about the VI approach that have influenced my thinking. For instance, I tend to stay away from very high PE stocks and momentum plays. While I take positions in firms with no earnings, they are generally relatively "unknown" or are past star stocks that investors have moved on from. I like the idea...

The Week In Cleantech (Jun 15 to Jun 21) – Incentive Instability Rears Its...

On Sunday, Andrew Williams at Red, Green and Blue told us about one senator's attacks on the solar industry. Surprising for someone from a state with such a vast solar potential, but in line my claim that politics remains one of the biggest risks facing the sector. On Monday, Lou Schwartz & Ryan Hodum at Renewable Energy World informed us that China's wind power industry was blowing past expectations. An interesting discussion of the hot wind regions within China. On Tuesday, Neal at Cleantech Blog told us all about SpectraWatt, Intel's new solar play. Just when you...

Solar Investing: Where Politics & Finance Come Together

Most solar sector watchers will remember the second half of May 2008, when the solar world collective held its breath awaiting to find out what German policy-makers were going to decide about solar subsidies in that country. All this commotion was caused by the fact that Germany, despite lacking favorable physical conditions in the form of ample sunshine, had become the world's largest solar market on the back of a very aggressive incentive program. Germany alone is in fact so critical to sales growth in the solar sector that the mere announcement of a review of the subsidy caused...

Performance Update: 10 Solid Clean Energy Companies to Buy on the Cheap

Unlike my Ten Speculations for 2008, my Solid Clean Energy Companies series will be much more difficult to benchmark.  The intent of the series was to list some "stocks to buy when you think we've hit bottom."  Since I obviously don't know when you think we've hit bottom (My opinion: not yet), I don't know what prices you'd have paid. Instead, I'll look at what would have happened if you bought only those stocks which dropped 10% since I wrote about them, and you bought them at the close that day, in equal dollar amounts.  Here's...

Are Solar PV and Wind Incompatible with Nuclear and IGCC?

Paul Denholm, a Senior Analyst at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), sees an upcoming struggle between renewable sources of electricity such as photovoltaics (PV) and wind with low-carbon baseload alternatives for space on the low carbon grid of the future.  These baseload alternatives are nuclear and Internal Gasification Combined Cycle coal plants with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (IGCC w/ CCS, refereed to by advocates as "Clean Coal). This may come as a shock to advocates of the idea that Global Warming is such a big problem that we will need all forms of low carbon electricity, because the...

The Week In Cleantech (June 8 – June 14) – Are Large Industrials Going...

On Tuesday, Eize de Vries at Renewable Energy World described the challenges of growth for us. A very detailed article on where the main tension points are in the global wind value chain. On Tuesday, Tate Dwinnell at Self Investors told us that wind ETFs were coming. At last North American can play wind directly. On Wednesday, Energy Tech Stocks informed us that a new FERC forecast indicates U.S. demand response firms should do well this summer. An interesting piece of insight from FERC, and noteworthy that demand response is increasingly seen as an effective peak...

Six Tips for CFA Candidates

I just finished the third (of three) Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams.  I believe I passed, (results will not be available until September.)  I've taken more than my share of tests in my life, and these three exams have been the three hardest.  I decided to publish my advice for others becoming CFA Candidates because 1) my partner at Alternative Energy Stocks, Charles Morand has just become a CFA Candidate (he'll take the first exam in December), and 2) there is little advice available online. VI. Buy two of your chosen model of calculator  The reason for this is...

Performance Update: Ten Speculations for 2008

This is the first of a short series of articles I plan, reviewing how my stock recommendations have been doing this year.  I started the year bringing you 10 Alternative Energy Stocks I thought were worth speculating on for 2008, and I'll start this review with those articles, and also give you updates on what's been happening (or not) with the stocks.  Click on the company name a link to the original article where I wrote about the stock. Overall, a portfolio with equal dollar positions in these ten stocks is up 11.4% for the year, compared to the...

Bosch Acquires Ersol Solar, Large Industrials Moving Into Solar Sector

Subject line The recent announcement on June 2, 2008 , that Robert Bosche GmbH (privately-held) plans to buy German-based Ersol Solar Energy AG (FRA:ES6) provides another example of how global industrial conglomerates are carefully watching for opportunities in the fast-growing solar sector.   Bosch bought a majority stake in Ersol for 546 million euros from Ventizz Capital Partners at a 63% premium to Ersol’s closing price on May 30.  Bosch plans to make a public tender offer for the remaining 50.45% of the company, according to...

Good Luck Tom (and everyone else)!

A quick note to wish AltEnergyStocks.com Analyst Tom Konrad the best of luck with his CFA Level III exam today. We also want to wish good luck to all of our readers who are also taking one of the CFA exams today, break a leg! We will be taking a break from The Week In Cleantech this week and will be back on Monday with a special feature.

A New Player In The North American Emissions Trading Sector

Over the past two weeks, a couple of announcements were made that went mostly unnoticed despite their importance to the North American carbon marketplace. Firstly, on May 30, the Montreal Exchange, a derivatives exchange, announced that it was launching an emissions trading market for CO2. The Montreal Exchange is now a unit of the TSX Group (TSXPF.PK or X.TO), the firm that runs all of Canada's exchanges. The second announcement came last week, when the premiers of Quebec and Ontario, Canada's two largest provinces and the heart of its industrial base, announced that they were moving ahead...

Book Review: Profiting From Clean Energy

I received, about a month ago, a complimentary copy of Profiting From Clean Energy, a recent book on investing in alternative energy by investment analyst Richard W Asplund. I will do a short review of the book here, as it may be of interest to some of our readers. Just so that there are no doubts lingering in your minds as you read through my review, neither AltEnergyStocks.com nor I is receiving any compensation for doing this other than a free book. Should you want your book reviewed here, feel free to contact us and make a request....