Books, Reports, Webcasts & Podcasts

How to Invest in Clean Cars

A new report by Merril Lynch and the World Resources Institute (WRI), entitled “Alternatives for the clean car evolution��?, provides good background on regulatory and other forces driving the trend toward cleaner cars, as well as 3 ways to play this trend. The report first looks at air quality-related issues and lists 3 things to watch out for in the near term: (1) legal issues surrounding the classification of CO2 as a pollutant in the Clean Air Act, (2) whether governments, especially in Europe but eventually in the US, include road transport in their plans to fight climate...

Book Review: Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World (Wind + Solar)

Charles Morand Tom and I recently received complimentary copies of a new book called "Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World", edited FTSE Group's Director of Responsible Investment Will Oulton*.  The book is a compendium of articles by 31 different authors broken down into three main categories: (1) environmental and low-carbon technologies; (2) investment approaches, products and markets; and (3) regulation, incentives, investor and company case studies. While Tom will provide a comprehensive review of the book once he's finished reading it in its entirety, I will instead review a few selected chapters over...

“Reduce Overweight In Energy Stocks”, Warns CIBC World Markets

Many of our Canadian readers will have heard about this already, but better later than never. CIBC World Markets, the corporate banking arm of Canadian bank CIBC, made "a significant realignment in equity portfolio this month by reducing position in energy stocks from a 4.5-percentage-point overweight to a 3-percentage-point overweight", citing increasing risks linked to efforts by North American governments to reduce energy consumption and limit greenhouse gas emissions. CIBC WM made the announcement in its latest Canadian Portfolio Strategy Outlook report (PDF document), released on Monday Feb. 5. I decided to discuss this...

EVs, Lithium-ion Batteries and Liars Poker

John Petersen Last week I stumbled across a link that led to a 2010 report from the National Research Council titled "Hidden Costs of Energy, Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use." This free 506-page book takes a life-cycle approach – from fuel extraction to energy production, distribution, and use to disposal of waste products – and attempts to quantify the health, climate and other unpriced damages that arise from the use of various energy sources for electricity, transportation and heat. After studying the NRC's discussion of the unpriced health effects, other nonclimate damages and greenhouse gas...

Cashing In On Global Warming

Just as I was attending a debate this morning that touched, partly, on the desirability of implementing an emissions trading system to control greenhouse gas emissions, I received an email from Market Watch informing me that they were running a special report on climate change and cleantech investing. The report features a very interesting collection of articles indeed. If you have about 1/2 hour to spare, I would recommend going through all of them. The following topics are covered: a) Global warning and the insurance industry b) Al Gore and David Blood's investment venture c)...

Power Purchase Agreements Webinar

Greentech Media is hosting a one-hour webinar at 12:00 PM ET Wednesday, September 19th, entitled "The Advance of the Solar PPA: When an Organization is Ready for a Power Purchase Agreement." PPAs are an interesting new area of activity in alternative energy, and definitely something worth understanding for the alt energy investor. For further details and registration, visit Greentech Media's special section for this event.

Climatic Consequences

Allow me to introduce this post by saying that I wholeheartedly welcome the firming of a new trend in North America: namely viewing climate change as a value creation, rather than as a value destruction, proposition. For the better part of the past decade, the climate change debate has been dominated by the the views of a small-yet-powerful collection of business actors with a lot to loose from seeing governments regulate greenhouse gases (GHG). This group, with its tremendous political influence, did everything that it could to stymie meaningful debate on the climate question, tirelessly arguing that moving...

The Economist is Cleaning Up

The Economist ran, in its edition for the past week, a series of very interesting articles on the topic of business and climate change called "Cleaning Up: A Survey of Business and Climate Change". To access the articles, go to the Economist's page for that edition and scroll down to the section called A survey of business and climate change (right side of the page). Some of the more interesting articles, from my point of view: 1) Emissions trading 2) The wind and solar industries 3) Clean coal Happy reading!

TV Time!

A quick post to give you the heads up on 2 interesting TV segments that you can watch online. Firstly (and thanks to Mark Reid for this one), Ian Cheshire, CEO of B&Q, Europe's largest home improvement company, on his company's decision to begin producing and selling wind and solar equipment. The segment is about 23 mins long. The interesting thing about this is to hear the CEO of a major global company discuss how he and B&Q see demand for clean products evolve over the next few years. It's a good reminder that it's not only small...

Alt Energy Investing Video

Thanks to Bill Paul (see below) for the heads up on an interesting video on alt energy geared toward an investor audience. The video is available on Consuelo Mack's Wealthtrack website. Click on "Wealthtrack Video on Demand" on the right-hand side and select the clip dated 01/12/07. It should be under "Current Programs" for a little while longer and will then be moved to "Archive Programs". The video consists of a 25-minute discussion between the anchor and the following 3 guests: Bill Paul, former WSJ reporter and author of the newly-released book "Future Energy: How the New...

Climate Change & Corporate Disclosure: Should Investors Care?

Charles Morand On Monday morning, I received an e-copy of a new research note by BofA Merrill Lynch arguing that disclosure by publicly-listed companies on the issue of climate change was becoming increasingly "important". The note claimed: "e believe smart investors and companies will recognize the edge they can gain by understanding low carbon trends." I couldn't agree more with that statement. It was no coincidence that on that same day the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a non-profit UK-based organization that surveys public companies each year on the state of their climate change awareness, was...

Annual Alternative Energy Market Survey

The Distributed Energy Financial Group LLC (DEFG) and Market Strategies Inc. (MSI) released, on Wednesday, the results of their Third Annual Alternative Energy Market Survey. This report is based on a online survey of 450 "industry leaders". Unsurprisingly, survey participants remain very bullish on revenue growth in the sector, expecting aggregate revenues to grow by 87% in 2007. That growth, several agree, will continue to be driven in part by strong support by various levels of governments. Some other interesting bits information from the survey: - While energy is forecasted to continue being...

How Likely Is A Big Rally For Alt Energy Stocks?

Last week, Jefferies & Co. held its Global Clean Technology Conference. Unsurprisingly, the tone wasn't as optimistic as in previous years, with cash and funding worries top of mind. Nearly two months ago, I discussed some tangible signs pointing to looming problems in the industry. However, despite all the gloom, it seems as though several firms (and investors!) are expecting the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) to provide the industry with a lifeline. But will this really be the case? For one thing, the major environmental spending programs in the ARRA are relatively...

Q1 2007 Renewable Energy & Biofuels Country Attractiveness Indices

Q1 2007 Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices Ernst & Young recently released its Q1 2007 Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices, a series of indices that rank countries on their attractiveness with regards to alternative energy growth and development. These indices provide good yardsticks for investors who want to know which markets offer the best near and long term alt energy growth prospects. The report presents three main indices, whose names are fairly self-explanatory: (1) The All Renewables Index (2) The Long-term Wind Index (>2 years) (3) The Near-term...

A Night At The Movies

Unsuprisingly, CNBC featured several segments yesterday on alt energy and Bush's State of the Union Address. I picked out 3 that I particularly liked. 1) Rich Asplund, Melvin Securities Equity Analyst; and Garvin Jabusch, Sierra Club Stock Fund Portfolio Manager, discuss the US ethanol industry and make a couple of alt energy stock picks. Neither analyst is particularly bullish on corn-based ethanol but both are on solar. More specifically, they both like Suntech Power . The other pick is Itron because of its exposure to smart metering technology. 2) A discussion on what tighter fuel...

Redefining Alternative Energy – Not One Business but 30 Different Businesses

 Bill Paul For investors to benefit fully from the alternative energy revolution, they must first see it for what it is, namely, some 30 different businesses, separate yet interconnected in their goal to reduce the use of oil, coal and/or natural gas and, with it, the emissions these fossil fuels generate. While wind and solar dominate the news, analysts’ research reports, and alternative energy ETFs, there are many other prospective long-term winners receiving far less attention. Some are developing other alternative energy sources, such as geothermal, biomass and biogas, wave and tidal, and algae. Some are...