The Bailout Package & Renewable Energy

As most of you will probably know by now, the US Senate voted tonight to pass the $700 billion bailout package for the financial sector. As part of the this new version of the bill full of so-called "sweeteners", or measures meant entice certain individuals to vote in favor, lawmakers included a one-year extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind and an eight-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit for solar. Now the House must still vote on Friday, so this isn't a done deal just yet. However, although it probably won't get much attention in the...

Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?

Tom Konrad CFA Highlights from a report on Clean Energy investments from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The Pew Charitable Trusts just released their report on Clean Energy, finance, and investment in the Group of Twenty (G20) economies in 2010 . I had the opportunity to review a pre-release version of the report. Some 2010 trends they discovered were encouraging or exciting, some were disappointing. I also had the chance to speak to the director of Pew's Clean energy Program, Phyllis Cuttino, about the report. Here are the highlights from the report and our discussion. Clean Energy Sectors...

Presentation from May 10, 2008 NREL Seminar

For those who attened my presentation yesterday, thank you for all the great questions. I'm having trouble uploading the presentation (it's too large for my server.) However, it should soon appear on NREL's presentation's page. As usual, I own most of the stocks mentioned in the presentation (too many to list,) and the Guiness Atkinson Alternative Energy fund (also mentioned) is an advertiser on AltEnergyStocks.com. UPDATE: It's still not on NREL's page, but I uploaded it on another server here. Although I had to cut it off because of time, if you have...

Why Clean Energy Investors Need to Care About Politics

Tom Konrad I believe that investments in clean energy should outperform the market as a whole for two reasons.  First, the inability of fossil fuel supplies to keep up with demand will raise prices and improve the environment for alternatives.  Second, growing awareness of the seriousness of Climate Change will lead to increased regulation of greenhouse gas pollution, which should benefit clean energy relative to conventional energy. While I am certain that at some point reality will galvanize public opinion and political action on climate change, the sooner the politicians take action, the better for the planet, and the...

Energy Investing: What To Expect In 2015

By Jeff Siegel Tonight, I will welcome in the New Year with family. We'll feast on cured meats, pickled vegetables, and lamb neck stew. We'll sip an old fashioned or two with apple and sage, share some laughs, and maybe even shed a few tears as we remember those we lost in 2014. When the ball drops, we'll hug, kiss, and cheer on all that waits to be discovered in 2015. There will be good and there will be bad, but I suppose it's the uncertainty of it all that makes life worth living. Don't Fear the Uncertain It...

Could The G20 Deliver A Growth and Clean Energy Pact?

by Clean Energy Intel It is becoming increasingly clear that the international community fully recognizes the need to ensure that the global economy does not become engulfed by another financial crisis at this critical juncture. Developments with regard to the referendum question in Greece and the fate of MF Global make this issue particularly pressing. There is therefore significant rationale for some kind of coordinated G20 action out of the coming Cannes Summit on November 3-4th. In an article in early October, I argued that it was clearly in the interests of countries like China to aid...

Sages and Seers: Warren Buffett, Bill Clinton, Oxford University Prof. Nick Bostrom, and the...

Garvin Jabusch The last couple of weeks have seen some remarkable next economy pronouncements from three of the world's smartest people, each representing a different realm of human endeavor: business, politics and academics. Warren Buffett, Bill Clinton, and Oxford University professor Nick Bostrom are among the world's highest achievers, and each has remarkable visibility in to the real, actual state of the world. As such, I couldn't help but notice their recent confluence of messaging. In his most recent annual shareholder letter, release February 25th, 2012, Warren Buffett touted Berkshire Hathaway's significant, recent investments in renewable energies:...

Five More Winners of the Clean Energy Race

The Pew Charitable Trusts just released the 2011 edition of their report, "Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race?"

What Does Clean Energy Cost?

Renewable Electricity cost estimates from a California transmission study and the investment implications. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA The seemingly simple question, "How much does wind/solar/geothermal/etc. cost per kWh?" can be surprisingly difficult to answer.  Advocates often cite particularly low figures, but they are often based on particularly favorable conditions, or analyses that don't include all the costs (for instance, costs of permitting.)  Opponents do the opposite, often assuming particularly unfavorable conditions, or adding in costs which they would never consider adding in for their favored technology.  Adding to the confusion, levelized cost of generation calculations are very sensitive to...

Power Plant Costs & The Case For Energy Efficiency

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a presentation that was given by FERC officials on the phenomenon of rapidly rising costs in US power generation (presentation link at the end of this post). The FERC, or Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is America's energy watchdog. The presentation begins by noting that across America's major electricity hubs, power prices are up significantly on last year (between 62% in the Midwest and 123% in NYC) and that, unfortunately, this probably isn't an anomaly. In fact, the presentation argues, there may be something secular at play. Two main trends are noted....

Our Investments Matter

The stocks and mutual funds we own have a real effect on the behavior of the companies we choose (not) to invest in.

Renewable Energy Finance Outlook for 2014: Where Will the Cash Flow?

By all accounts, more money will be invested into renewables in 2014 than was invested in 2013. Our experts lay out where, why, when and how. Jennifer Runyon The world of renewable energy finance is vast: encompassing everything from venture capital funding for innovative start-ups, to research and development (R&D) and manufacturing expansion spending, to project finance and all the way through to investing in clean energy companies on the stock market. Because of that, for the general public, predicting where money will flow over the course of the next year is a shot in the...

Can America Regain the Rare Earths Crown?

by Kidela Capital Group A rare earth element is like air. It only seems to become important when you are running out. With China suddenly cutting back on exports while controlling 95 percent of the world’s production of rare earth elements, the United States and other countries suddenly finds themselves vulnerable. This vulnerability has to do with the stability of the supply of these strategic commodities. Countries from around the world have suddenly woken up to the realization that the future of their high technology industries could be in the hands of one supplier – China. In the...

Getting in on Early-Stage Companies

Question from a Reader: (links mine, in case you have not read the articles I think he's referring to) Hi, I'm a very small time investor and I have a strong longterm belief in the alt energy sector. I have one gripe with the sector, though - the fact that it's hard to get in all the way at the bottom, ie: from the birth of companies. I have a feeling that much more growth will happen at that level, and investing in something like ICLN gets me into mature companies that have much less growth potential.  ...

Crowdfunding and Clean Energy

by Beth Kelly The digital era has enabled an “entrepreneurial explosion”, equipping ordinary people with the tools to invest in a myriad of early stage companies. Rather than investing millions of venture capital at once, interested individuals can use online platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter to invest smaller sums in projects they feel passionate about. Crowdfunding holds vast potential in the renewable energy sector in particular, opening up a world of opportunity for both investors and “green” project developers. Now that renewable energy technology is becoming viable and cost-effective, firms in the industry are turning to crowdsourcing...

What has Changed in the Alternative Energy Investment Landscape?

Is the time right to invest in alternative energy? We’ve seen a lot of this before in the 1970s and 1980s. Solar and biomass hot, big regulatory pushes, and then companies and investors lost a lot of money when things changed. We’re still a bit skeptical. We’re also all about not getting pulled in to each and every overpriced hype (read, the ethanol race) – but fundamentals are fundamentals. And they’re hard to ignore and pretty darn impressive. We think the real question today is not “are alternatives a good investment?��?, but “which ones have legs and make a...