Monthly Archives: April 2010

Stock Market Advice for Solar Energy Investors

J. Peter Lynch I have been reading your articles for years and always thought your stock market related insight was interesting and helpful for me as an investor. At the current time I am worried about the market and am wondering where you think the market is currently, given the major run up we have had in the past year. I would also be curious about your view on solar stocks and what you see for them. Claude M., France. Claude, great questions.  You are really going to make me think about this one. Sorry...

Ten Green Energy Gambles for 2010: Update 2

Tom Konrad, CFA The stock market is up, and my bets against it are down, except in energy.  It's time to double down. Earlier this week, a client asked me if I'd found any buying opportunities while doing research for my "Best Peak Oil Investments" series.  The answer is, "no," although I've found a few companies I'm hoping to buy at lower prices, later.  As regular readers know, I've been bearish since June 2009, after I cashed in on the quick rally in March, April, and May of that year.  My last ten months of...

The Best Peak Oil Investments, Part IX: The Methadone Economy

Tom Konrad CFA No alternative fuel or combination of alternative fuels will allow our transportation system to operate the way it does today on oil.  As oil becomes increasingly scarce and expensive, the way we get our transportation needs met will have to change.  Understanding what the future of transportation may look like is key to making good investments in transportation. If the measure of success for alternative fuels is the ability to continue to live in suburbs and commute in multi-ton boxes of metal on congested freeways for hours each day, then alternative fuels will...

Common Sense in Energy Storage Investing

John Petersen In the wake of last fall's initial public offering by A123 Systems (AONE) I wrote a four part series on battery investing for beginners. Over the last six months, changes in the storage sector have been coming at a fast and furious pace and many of my recent blogs have focused on technical minutiae rather than the stock market. They've led to heated debate with die hard EV advocates who don't understand the difference between technical and economic reality and religious belief, but I'm not sure how useful they've been for investors who see the potential...

Two Hundred And Twenty Billion New Reasons To Be A Plug-in Vehicle Skeptic

John Petersen On April 8th the Electrification Coalition, a recently formed industrial lobby comprised of top-level executives from Cisco Systems (CSCO), Aerovironment (AVAV), NRG Energy (NRG), Rockwood Holdings (ROC), Nissan Motors (NSANY.PK), FedEx (FDX), A123 Systems (AONE) and a gaggle of private companies released a slick but wholly unenlightening white paper titled, "Economic Impact of the Electrification Roadmap." I haven't seen so many finely sculpted curves and unspoken assumptions since the tax shelter forecasts of the early-80s. The only clear message is that electric drive will be little more than a footnote in automotive history unless the powers...

The Best Peak Oil Investments, Part VIII: Alternative Fuel Report Card

Tom Konrad CFA There are two types of solution to the liquid fuels scarcity caused by stagnating (and eventually falling) oil supplies combined with growing demand in emerging economies.  The most obvious is to find a substitute to replace oil.  Each potential substitute has barriers to its use which stand in the way of it from becoming a complete substitute for petroleum based fuel.  Understanding those barriers also leads us to the investment opportunities that arise from these substitutes.  In the last two articles of this series, I looked at barriers to adoption for alternative...

The Best Peak Oil Investments, Part VII: Peak Substitutes?

Tom Konrad CFA There are two types of solutions to the liquid fuels scarcity caused by stagnating (and eventually falling) oil supplies combined with growing demand in emerging economies.  The most obvious is to find a substitute to replace oil.  Supply constraints limit the full replacement of oil by most potential substitutes.  Understanding those constraints leads us to the investment opportunities that arise from these substitutes.  Increasing demand and constrained supply of oil is fueling the search for oil substitutes to use in its place.  Unfortunately, almost all of these potential substitutes also have limited...

The Best Peak Oil Investments, Part VI: Barriers to Substitution

Tom Konrad CFA There are two types of solution to the liquid fuels scarcity caused by stagnating (and eventually falling) oil supplies combined with growing demand in emerging economies.  The most obvious is to find a substitute to replace oil.  These substitute have barriers to their use as a replacment petroleum based fuel.  Understanding those barriers also leads us to the investment opportunities that arise from these substitutes.  As I wrote the first five parts of this series, looking into potential substitutes for gasoline and diesel, it was clear that many potential substitutes would need...

EPA and NHTSA Predict 42% Market Penetration for Start-Stop Systems by 2016

John Petersen On April 1st the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency announced a joint final rule establishing fuel economy standards for all light duty vehicles sold in the United States. In my last article, I focused on the overall fuel efficiency improvements the new CAFE regulations will require. After spending a couple days reading and digesting the Final Rule Release, which runs to 1,469 pages, I've concluded that my initial optimism over the future of start-stop technology was understated. The Final Rule Release begins with several hundred pages of introductory...

The Best Peak Oil Investments, Part V: Algae

Tom Konrad CFA There are many proposed solutions to the liquid fuels scarcity caused be stagnating (and eventually falling) oil supplies combined with growing demand in emerging economies.  Some will be good investments, others won't.  Here is where I'm putting my money, and why.  This fifth part takes a look at the growing consensus that our biofuels should come from non-food crops grown on land that is not otherwise productive, and the one crop that shows promise of delivering the high yields needed to satisfy our enormous thirst for fuel is algae. In part I of...

Will New CAFE Standards Make Stop-Start Engine Technology Standard Equipment?

John Petersen On April 1st the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a joint final rule establishing fuel economy standards for all light duty vehicles sold in the United States. Since the existing standards don't apply to light trucks, I used vehicle sales forecasts from the Energy Information Administration's "Annual Energy Outlook 2010" to estimate a current baseline fuel economy of 19.6 mpg. The new rules will be phased in over a five-year period beginning with the 2012 Model Year and are certain to drive rapid evolution in the auto industry....

The Best Peak Oil Investments, Part IV: Gas-, Biomass-, and Coal-to-Liquids

Tom Konrad CFA There are many proposed solutions to the liquid fuels scarcity caused be stagnating (and eventually falling) oil supplies combined with growing demand in emerging economies.  Some will be good investments, others won't.  Here is where I'm putting my money, and why.  This fourth part takes a look at the possibility of converting coal,  natural gas or Biomass into gasoline or diesel we can use in unmodified vehicles. In the first three parts of this series, I looked at various substitutes for oil based transportation fuels: Biofuels and Biochemicals Vehicle Electrification...

Cap and Trade: Right Debate, Wrong Solution

David Gold          As we have seen in just the past few years, fossil fuel prices can vary dramatically over very short periods of time.  Creating greater certainty regarding steady increases in fossil fuel prices over the coming decade would have an enormous impact on private sector investments in both alternative energy and energy efficiency.  Cap and trade is the right debate to be having because it focuses the discussion on how to change the fundamental economics of fossil-based energy.  But ultimately cap and trade is the wrong solution; superior means exist to achieve the results...

Energy Storage Performed Poorly in the First Quarter of 2010

John Petersen The first quarter was unkind to publicly traded companies in the energy storage sector, which saw their stock prices fall by an average of 16.22% over the last three months. While the shares of Enersys (ENS) and C&D Technologies (CHP) posted gains of 12.8% and 3.2% respectively, all of the others in my universe of 17 pure play energy storage companies traded down. The following table summarizes first quarter performance and provides some important valuation metrics. The following table summarizes the portfolio performance a hypothetical investor would have realized over the last three...

Exclusive Report: How to Profit from Global Warming!

Dr. K. Global warming worriers like Al Gore are missing the many wonderful things that global warming will bring to the world, not to mention the many opportunities to profit from this so-called "climate catastrophe."  Global warming isn't about hot weather, it's about hot stocks in your portfolio.  A new report tells you the stocks to buy now! Global Warming is the greatest opportunity for investors in a generation.  Some stocks may fall, but others will be headed upward like a the famous hockey-stick chart from the 2001 IPCC report.  For just $499.95, you can buy my...