A few weeks ago, I wrote about how a new Obama administration would renew with Keynesianism (i.e. large-scale counter-cyclical infrastructure spending) but with a green twist to: (a) get the US economy out of its funk and (b) propel America into the 21st Century by providing a massive push for its green industries. I discussed certain rail stocks and electric grid stocks that could benefit as a result. By-and-large, I’ve been right on both counts about the President-elect’s strategy (i.e. Keynesian and green), but I did forget to mention an important part of the plan’s focus: energy efficiency and the smart grid. Tom did discuss energy efficiency.
The smart grid, however, is increasingly being thrown around as a priority of the Obama plan insofar as the transmission system is concerned. It’s thus not just about expanding transmission capacity but also about making the transmission infrastructure smarter and more efficient.
Stocks for the Smart Grid Build-out
I’m therefore adding to my two previous lists some potential plays on large-scale smart grid expenditures.
Itron (ITRI). This company is a leading maker of smart meters, the key tool on the consumer end of a smart grid. ITRI is a stock that I’ve found richly-priced for as long as I’ve followed the alt energy sector, and at a trailing PE of about 70x, I continue to find it very expensive.
Comverge (COMV). Comverge also makes smart meters and works with utilities to design smart grid solutions revolving around demand response. It’s EnerNOC’s direct competitor. The company is also earning-less.
RuggedCom (RUGGF.PK). RuggedCom, as its name indicates, designs communication applications for rugged environments such as electric utility substations. That communication equipment embedded at various points of the grid is also critical in building a smart transmission and distribution system. This is a company that already makes money and trades at a reasonable PE of around 17x (reasonable given this sector’s growth potential).
DISCLOSURE: Charles Morand does not have a position in any of the securities discussed above.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a registered investment advisor. The information and trades that I provide here are for informational purposes only and are not a solicitation to buy or sell any of these securities. Investing involves substantial risk and you should evaluate your own risk levels before you make any investment. Past results are not an indication of future performance. Please take the time to read the full disclaimer here.