How Energy Deregulation Affects States and Stocks

by Elaine Thompson Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in an executive summary of its New Energy Outlook 2017 report, predicts renewable energy sources will represent almost three-quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power-generating technology. Analysts outline several reasons for this increase in spending, such as the decreasing costs of wind and solar and consumers’ increasing interest in solar panels. Competition between power sources also continues to grow, with products like utility-scale batteries upsetting coal and natural gas’s roles in the marketplace. But more importantly, state-driven renewable portfolio standards pave the way for additional ventures in renewable energy technologies, particularly...

The Republican-Proposed Carbon Tax

by Noah Kaufman A group of prominent conservative Republicansincluding former Secretary of State James Baker III, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Walmart Chairman Rob Waltonmet with key members of the Trump administration on Wednesday about their proposal to tax carbon dioxide emissions and return the proceeds to the American people. Such an economy-wide tax on carbon dioxide could enable the United States to achieve its international emissions targets with better economic outcomes than under a purely regulatory approach. Attributes of the Republican Carbon Tax Proposal While the details on the...

GlyEco Expands Antifreeze Recycling Footprint

by Debra Fiakas CFA Glyeco recycles waste glycol into reusable antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid and air conditioning coolants for the automotive and industrial markets.   The used coolant and antifreeze liquids are frequently contaminated with water, dirt, metals and oils.  The company uses a proprietary technology at the foundation of its recycling system to eliminate contaminants.  The company focuses mainly on ethylene glycol in its six processing plants. Last month chemical recycler GlyEco, Inc. (GLYE:  OTC/QB) acquired Brian’s On-Site Recycling, a provider of antifreeze and air conditioning coolant disposal services in the Tampa, Florida area.  The deal extends...

Has Shale Gas Reduced Carbon Emissions?

Jim Hansen Last week, I wrote that the U.S. is on course to set a new export record of coal. A few days later the EIA made similar projections and estimate that exports will reach 125 million tons for 2012. One side effect of the success of U.S. coal exports is the degree to which may they have cancelled out the carbon emissions reduction experienced in the U.S. as shale gas displaced coal in the power generation sector. This question of displacement was addressed in a study just released by researchers at the University of...

Emissions Standards Driving Algae Aviation Fuel Sourcing…or not

by Debra Fiakas CFA Algae in the River Wate photo via BigStock My post “Algae Takes Flight” featured Algae-Tec (ALGXY:  OTC/PK),  Lufthansa’s new biofuel partner.  Algae-Tec has agreed to operate an algae-based biofuel plant in Europe to supply Lufthansa with jet fuel.  Lufthansa is footing the capital costs of the plant, which is to be located in Europe near a carbon source.  Algae thrive on carbon so industrial plants and power plants using fossil fuels make the best neighbors.  Lufthansa has agreed to purchase a...

Is Energy Sourcing the Gateway Drug to Energy Efficiency?

Tom Konrad CFA I recently interviewed Richard Domaleski, CEO of World Energy Solutions (NASD:XWES).  World Energy is a comprehensive energy management services firm whose core offering is extremely price competitive energy sourcing (that is, finding an energy provider to supply all of a client's energy needs at the lowest possible cost.)  They achieve competitive sourcing using an electronic energy exchange designed to achieve much better price discovery in what is traditionally a very opaque market.  According to Domaleski, a recent KEMA study showed that only 7% of large commercial, industrial, and government customers are sourcing their...

World Energy Solutions (XWES) and Ram Power (RPG.TO) Appear Promising

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...

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...

Biochar’s Likely Market Impacts

Biochar is still mostly a research and cottage industry, yet it has the potential to impact returns for a broad range of investors. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Biochar, or amending soil with biomass-derived carbon, shows great potential to improve the productivity of soils, as well as to increase the utilization of fertilizers by plants, while sequestering carbon to reduce the drivers of climate change.  On August 10, I went to the 2009 North American Biochar Conference to look at the potential for investors.  Before I went, I took a look at the publicly traded companies...

Carbon ETFs/ETNs: Playing Copenhagen

Charles Morand At $126 billion transacted in 2008, up from $11 billion in 2005, the global carbon market is the fastest growing commodities market in the world and, provided that an agreement is reached at the COP15 conference in Copenhagen and that the US adopts a cap-and-trade program, this growth could go on for several more years. Yet this is a market that remains comparatively unknown for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the rules surrounding it are very complex. Unlike other commodities, to successfully invest directly in...

Trading Places: Will America’s Carbon Market Outsize Europe’s?

Charles MorandIn early January, I said the following on the likelihood that the Obama Administration would move on carbon regulations in the near-term: "The next 12 to 18 months are unlikely to produce much in the way of vigorous environmental action on the part of government (barring subsidies for alternative energy related to the stimulus package), especially if it means additional costs on industry." Clearly, I had underestimated the power of another fundamental rule of politics - besides "don't anger the rust belt states that gave you your presidency by burdening their industries with avoidable costs in the midst...

Some Tidbits From The World Of Emissions Trading

To be sure, the near-term prospects for carbon emissions trading are bleak. Continued decline in industrial production across the world's major manufacturing economies will inevitably lower carbon emissions. The clearest indicator of this, short of directly measuring emissions, is a sharp decline in the price of various fossil energy commodities (i.e. oil, natural gas and coal) on the back of falling demand. Another important factor for carbon emissions trading is that the commodity in play - the regulatory right to emit a unit of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) - derives its legitimacy entirely from a regulatory scheme...

Avoiding a Carbon-Price Backlash

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D. Economics and Greenery, a Belated Rapprochement It is truly a triumph of economic ways of thinking that many of environmental activists are championing market-based approaches to tackling climate change.   Those people who are not for cap-and-trade on global warming gas emissions promote the even more economically rigorous carbon tax.  The most common defense against criticisms of subsidies for renewable energy is to retort that the fossil fuel industry benefits from much large subsidies.  Not only do fossil fuels get generous subsidies in direct and indirect payments, but they seldom pay anything like the indirect costs...

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...

Climate Change Will Hurt The Poor Most But the Solutions Don’t Have To

The International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (iCAST) helps communities use local resources to solve their own problems.  I've been a fan of iCAST's approach of teaching people how to fish (or, in this case, how to apply sustainable technologies) rather than giving away fish since I first encountered them at a conference in 2006.  Last week, they took advantage of some of their own local resources (namely the fact that the DNC was in Denver) to organize a luncheon with a panel of nationally recognized speakers, any one of whom would have been enough to draw a...

A New Player In The North American Emissions Trading Sector

Over the past two weeks, a couple of announcements were made that went mostly unnoticed despite their importance to the North American carbon marketplace. Firstly, on May 30, the Montreal Exchange, a derivatives exchange, announced that it was launching an emissions trading market for CO2. The Montreal Exchange is now a unit of the TSX Group (TSXPF.PK or X.TO), the firm that runs all of Canada's exchanges. The second announcement came last week, when the premiers of Quebec and Ontario, Canada's two largest provinces and the heart of its industrial base, announced that they were moving ahead...