From Small Fries to Big Shots? Part 1 of 2
by Bill Paul
Feel like rolling the dice on some small alternative energy stocks that appear to have big-time potential?
Just remember: sometimes you roll snake eyes.
First up: World Energy Solutions Inc. (Symbol: XWES), which currently trades on NASDAQ for $3 and change per share.
Worcester, MA-based World Energy Solutions operates online exchanges for energy and green commodities, including the one administered by Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Inc. (RGGI), the regulatory scheme under which 10 Northeastern and Middle Atlantic states "cap" their power plants’ emissions by requiring plant owners to buy permits for the gasses they emit.
World Energy Solutions is a poster child for how to run a cap-and-trade system. "RGGI auctions continue to run like clockwork," RGGI’s chairman recently said, adding, "RGGI is showing that cap-and-trade works."
With Europe and Asia already well on the way to having full-blown cap-and-trade systems, it would seem only a matter of time before World Energy Solutions attracts far wider investor interest (and just maybe a corporate suitor). While the company is still in the red, last month it reported that third-quarter and nine-month losses had narrowed significantly from a year ago, on increased revenue.
Next up: geothermal power developer Ram Power Corp., which trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol RPG (RPG.TO, RAMPF.PK). Nevada-based Ram shares also currently sell for $3 and change, although just two months ago they were selling for under $1. But then the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. proposed to arrange $216 million in debt financing for the company’s 72 megawatt geothermal project in Nicaragua, now due to come online in 2011.
Ram Power’s chairman clearly believes this is the start of something big for his firm. Chris Thompson said this past week that "Ram Power’s mission (is) to be the premier provider of geothermal energy in Central America. We see this region, especially Nicaragua, as an area where our company can develop stable, long-term energy supply relationships."
Unlike World Energy Solutions, Ram’s third quarter and nine month losses widened – significantly so – from year-earlier results, though that clearly hasn’t hampered its recent stock activity. The company has other geothermal interests in Nevada, California and Canada.
(Next Week: Two more small fries whose prospects appear promising.)
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Bill Paul is Managing Editor of EnergyTechStocks.com.