Molycorp: Holding a Stinky Bag

by Debra Fiakas CFA   Last week news agencies reported plans by Molycorp (MCPIQ:  NYSE) to move forward with plans to sell major assets as part of a plan to emerge from bankruptcy.  Molycorp was the single largest producer of rare earths in the U.S. until it discontinued product at its Mountain Pass mine in Colorado.  Molycorp filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2015 after it became apparent that it could no longer support the debt on its balance sheet on historically low selling prices for its rare earth materials. The turn of the tide for Molycorp...

Two Recent Presentations on Investing in Renewable Energy

As I mentioned Monday, I did a presentation at a Renewable Energy Expo on Saturday about investing in renewable energy... This is a Powerpoint Recap of my Investing in Renewable Energy 101 article, with some Visual Comparisons and stock picking advice thrown in.  I list a bunch of stocks on a few of the slides, and as usual, many of which I own (see disclosure below.) You can download my Introduction to Investing In Renewable Energy here. Yesterday, I also did a 45 minute presentation to private equity investors on ways too look at renewable energy...

2013 Alternative Energy Stock Predictions

Will Natural Gas Crush Alternative Energy in 2013? By Jeff Siegel Swami photo via Bigstock In 2004 a hotshot Wall Street type cornered me after I spoke at a private luncheon in New York. He told me I had a lot of balls wasting his time talking about alternative energy  declaring he was an “important man” who didn't find it amusing that some tree hugger in a suit (yes, that's what he called me) would lecture him about a coming boom in solar... I never forgot that...

Alternative Energy Stock Returns, Past and Future

By Harris Roen Alternative energy became a serious market player after the turn of the millennium. Since that time, solar, wind, smart grid and other alternative energy stocks have experienced both strong up and down trends. The forces at work driving these markets are complex, counterintuitive, and sometimes mysterious. This article looks at what has been driving the price of alternative energy markets, and as a result, alternative energy company stocks. Looking ahead, we will also consider what should affect the direction of alternative energy stock prices. Past trends in Alternative Energy Stocks The Wilder Hill...

Clean Energy Stocks to Fill the Nuclear Gap

Tom Konrad, CFA If the Japanese use less nuclear power, what will take its place? I'm astounded by the resilience and discipline of the Japanese people in response to the three-pronged earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, perhaps in large part by my cultural roots in the egocentric United States, where we seem to have forgotten the virtue of self-sacrifice for the greater good.  Yet while Japanese society has shown itself to be particularly resilient, the Japanese electric grid is much less resilient.  According to International Energy Agency statistics, Japan produced 258 TWh of electricity from...

The Ontario Feed-in Tariff For Alternative Energy

Last month, I wrote about how Ontario, North America's 6th largest jurisdiction by population, had tabled a Green Energy Act to boost the alternative energy industry's growth in the province. In that post, I mentioned that officials would soon release the rules for a feed-in tariff (FIT) system. FITs, which pay fixed rates for renewable power, are all but absent in North America, although they are popular incentive in Europe. Germany's FIT is largely responsible for that country's dominance in solar PV today despite mediocre sun conditions.  Ontario released the draft rules and proposed prices for...

Cheap Oil: Nemesis Or Sideshow?

by Garvin Jabusch Next economics posits that for the global economy and earth's tolerances/carrying capacities to run in a mutually tolerable equilibrium, we must continue to make rapid advances in economic efficiencies in all sectors. For 7.3 billion of us (and counting) to thrive on finite resources and avoid the worst effects of climate change, we have to drive more and more economic output from less and less input. Fortunately, energy is one of the areas where we can quickly make huge strides in this respect but not with fossil fuels in the mix. On the contrary,...

Will We Have Too Much Generation for Renewables?

Too Many Brownies Before Dinner "When you feed your kid six brownies before dinner, you can't expect him to eat the salad, no matter how good it is."  So says Leslie Glustrom, a long term renewable energy advocate.  This is her metaphor for why Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) has been reluctant to pursue Demand Side Management (DSM) and renewable energy projects in Colorado as they have been in Minnesota.  Because Xcel is currently constructing 500 MW of new coal-fired generation, and they are also interested in a 300-350 MW IGCC plant by 2013, they may have little demand for...

When The Supreme Court Weighs In, Investors Better Pay Attention

Things got a little tougher for the Bush White House yesterday, when the Supreme Court effectively slapped it on the wrist for its position on climate change by ordering the EPA to justify its lack of action on the climate file with substantive arguments (i.e. the Court buys the IPCC's story rather than Bush's). Things Just Keep On Piling This ruling adds to a long list of recent events that render it increasingly difficult for climate nay-sayers to hold the fort. The most significant such events are: (a) one of the top Republican politicians...

T. Boone Pickens on Larry King Live Thursday

In the past 24 hours, there have been a flurry of opinions coming out on what a commanding Obama victory would mean for people's portfolios. Alt energy investors certainly have reasons to be cautiously optimistic. T Boone Pickens, the famous Texas oilman turned clean energy cheerleader, and his Pickens Plan, are likely to have some influence on where President-elect Obama goes with his energy plan and alt energy policies. Pickens has been campaigning for his plan nearly as hard as the candidates have been campaigning for the White House, and his recent rapprochement with the Democratic Party...

Energy Trends That Matter For Investors

By Harris Roen The US is by far the world’s greatest user of energy per capita in the world. Each American uses about 87,000 kilowatt-hours per year – that is twice as much as the European Union (EU), the next closest consumer! Understanding energy trends in this country is extremely important for investors who want to understand how the energy landscape will look 10, 20 or 30 years from now. Figure 1: Global Per Capita Energy Use The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) made public an early release of its in-depth Annual Energy Outlook. This...

Crude Oil & Alt Energy: The Non-Relationship That Just Won’t Go Away

Charles Morand The relationship - or lack thereof - between oil prices and the performance of alt energy stocks has been a long-time interest of mine. I discussed it last in late March when I looked at correlations between the daily returns of alt energy and fossil energy ETFs. At the time, I found that only a weak relationship existed between the two and that if someone wanted to make a thematic investment play on Peak Oil, alt energy ETFs were not an ideal way to do so.  Seeing as the popular press and countless "experts"...

Why Investing Should Be Moral

Last night, a recent finance graduate introduced himself to me, telling me he had attended my presentation at the Colorado Renewable Energy Society on July 24th. (the whole presentation is available after the link, scroll down to Jul 24.)  He said he wasn't invested in clean energy because "Investing is about making money... there's nothing moral about it."   I'm sure I was quite sarcastic when I replied, "That sounds like a finance major." I believe that finance and economics, as they are currently taught, make people less moral.  I'm not talking about God.  I'm personally agnostic with tendencies towards...

Watt’s Watt?

Watts are standard, but the way we talk and write about them is not.

Insiders Are Buying These Five Canadian Cleantech Stocks

Tom Konrad CFA In the US insider trades are easily found on the SEC website, stock exchange websites, and financial aggregation sites.  No so in Canada.  A search for insider trades for a Toronto-listed stock on Google will turn up all the financial aggregation websites, but they don’t have any data. The TSX has more clean technology listings than any other exchange worldwide, many of which are truly international.  I follow several, so I was thrilled when I came across CanadianInsider, where anyone can peruse recent insider trades for Canadian listed companies. Of the 14...

Six Questions to Ask a Venture Capitalist in the First Five Minutes

David Gold So, you’re at a networking event and you get an opportunity to talk with a Venture Capitalist (VC) for just a few minutes. After breaking the ice with quick introductory formalities, you present your elevator pitch, right? Wrong. How can you possibly capture that VC’s interest if you don’t know what excites them? Would you try to sell meat to a vegetarian or bricks to a carpenter? Not if you knew a little about their needs and interests!  When you are raising money, you are selling yourself and your company to your prospective...