Monthly Archives: November 2008

Site Changes at AltEnergyStocks.com: New Stocks Page, Stock Category Pages and Company Pages

I'm pleased to announce some significant changes on AltEnergyStocks.com: we have a new stocks page up as well as stock category pages and company pages. Our new stocks page is a gateway to the new site changes. In addition to our list of stocks, we've added links to the major stock categories at the top of the stocks page to let you navigate to specific categories you're interested in. Our new solar page is an example of our stock category pages. The solar page contains a list of solar stocks and an abbreviated stock quote for those...

Can Solar PV Survive Without ‘The Consumer’

It's no mystery by now that the credit crisis has been nothing short of a disaster for solar PV stocks. For one thing, risk has been re-priced on an unprecedented scale, and the solar PV sector is, by most measures, a very risk sector. Rising debt costs in an industry where projects typically use between 50 and 70% leverage were bound to take their toll. It also hasn't helped that most people pre-crisis predicted a significant glut of solar PV supply in 2009 on the back of markedly lower silicon prices. Lastly, concerns over the sustainability of generous...

Is There Life After the Bulb?

When incandescent light bulbs are phased out in the United States between 2012 to 2014, managers of utility Demand Side Management (DSM) programs will be between a rock and a hard place.  At the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project's 5th annual Energy Efficiency Workshop, this fact seemed to be the elephant in the room that most of the utility executives in attendance did not want to talk about. One Trick Pony It's not for nothing that the compact fluorescent bulb, or CFL, has become the international symbol of energy efficiency.  While it is true that we're not going to stop...

What’s In Store For Emissions Trading Stocks Under An Obama Administration?

All the recent talk about Barack Obama creating a "Climate Czar" position in his administration begs the following question: will Obama dare to implement a nation-wide cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the midst of an economic collapse? While the recent pullback in energy prices will certainly provide some cost relief to energy-intensive industries, which were getting squeezed by rising energy prices, this pullback pales in comparison to the challenges they face in other areas of their businesses right now, and slapping them with complex and potentially-costly new regulation could create significant political backlash. What's more, continued...

Demand Planning: The Future of Demand Side Management

Electric utilities have a process by which they project future expected demand for electricity, and then find resources, either new electric generation or energy efficiency (Demand Side Management, or DSM) resources to meet that expected demand, or reduce that demand.  Progressive utilities and utility regulators now include DSM among the mix of resources as a matter of course.  According to Martin Kushler, of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) who spoke at the Southwest Regional Energy Efficiency Workshop about an upcoming report from ACEEE, DSM resources cost an average of 3 cents per kWh of energy...

Oil Prices & Alternative Energy Stocks

The recent slump in the price of energy commodities that has accompanied slumps in the rest of the market has reignited an old debate: to what extent is the performance of alt energy companies (and their stock prices) linked to fossil energy prices? People who argue that the two are closely connected implicitly believe that policy-makers and other important economic actors view alt energy mainly as a hedge against high energy prices, and therefore believe that a drop in fossil energy costs will result in a fall from grace for alt energy (there is evidence that at least...

Too Much Solar Could Be Good for Inverter Companies

2009 is likely to be a watershed year for the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry, and one which many PV manufacturers will not survive.  Even before the credit crunch and plummeting housing market made capital intensive PV much harder to finance, the easing of supply constraints in the market for solar grade silicon meant that PV supply was liable to increase rapidly, putting pressure on marginal producers.  I expect that the loss of PV demand due to tighter credit markets will more than compensate for the added demand due to the extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and...

What I Didn’t Say About Obama and New Energy

I was interviewed for a story on NPR's Morning Edition which aired Thursday.  Tamara Keith asked me what Obama's election meant for Alternative Energy, and I felt many of my points were downed out by the others she interviewed.  Here's what she didn't put in the story: Obama mentioned three challenges ahead in his acceptance speech.  He said, "We know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime: two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century."  Of these three challenges, two were thrust upon him, but he chose to...

T. Boone Pickens on Larry King Live Thursday

In the past 24 hours, there have been a flurry of opinions coming out on what a commanding Obama victory would mean for people's portfolios. Alt energy investors certainly have reasons to be cautiously optimistic. T Boone Pickens, the famous Texas oilman turned clean energy cheerleader, and his Pickens Plan, are likely to have some influence on where President-elect Obama goes with his energy plan and alt energy policies. Pickens has been campaigning for his plan nearly as hard as the candidates have been campaigning for the White House, and his recent rapprochement with the Democratic Party...

Keynes Meets Carson, And How You Can Invest It (Part 2)

Two weeks ago, I brought you the first of a series of two articles on how you can play the clean infrastructure build-out that could come as a result of an Obama victory today. In that article, I made the point that the political and economic ideology that had prevailed in America over the past 30 years, economic laisser-faire, had been severely undermined by the recent credit meltdown and what now looks like it will be the worse economic shock in a generation or more. I further argued that the increasing sidelining of the "small government" discourse in...

Six Reasons Tight Credit Markets Won’t Stop the Wind Industry

The Wind Power industry is gaining momentum in the U.S., with more wind power produced here than in any other country last year.   My own Colorado is quickly becoming a wind manufacturing and R&D hub, with three Vestas (VWSYF.PK) plants, a wind tower manufacturing plant in Lamar, not to mention the National Wind Technology Center. When Vestas first announced the move to Colorado in January 2007, I assumed it was because of the central location in the wind belt and the great rail infrastructure, as well as the strong political support for wind.  At the New Energy Economy Conference...