Inevitable Shifts and Indispensable Technologies

Next Economy Inflection, Pt. III Garvin Jabusch Back at the New Year, I thought it’d be fun to write up a short recap of some of the evidence that, finally, the world is waking up to the real need to get our economies on a footing that can allow it to persist indefinitely. In that post I wrote of those observations that “these are just the first few recent ‘tipping point’-like stories to come to mind. I've read dozens more examples recently, and I feel the fact that I can no longer be aware of all the evidence...

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...

The iCloud’s Green Lining

Meg Cichon Just one year after Greenpeace called out Apple, Inc. (AAPL) for its use of fossil fuels in its "How Green Is Your Cloud" report – which graded Apple no higher than a "D" in four categories consisting of energy transparency, infrastructure siting, energy efficiency, and renewables and advocacy – Apple announced that its data centers are now powered by 100 percent renewable energy. In fact, renewables contribute to 75 percent of its entire corporate operations energy needs, according to its website. The 2012 report cites Apple’s planned expansion into “iDataCenters” to support its booming iCloud services,...

Investing For The Anthropocene

by Garvin Jabusch Jack Bogle is flat wrong. I mean, within his worldview and that of Modern Portfolio Theory, he’s right, but in the Anthropocene, he’s wrong. Bogle, founder and retired CEO of the Vanguard Group, is known for championing the superiority of low-fee index funds. His firm’s largest product, the $155 billion Vanguard 500 Index Fund is the perfect poster child for his philosophy. It closely tracks the S&P 500 Index of America’s largest companies, and it has a fee of only 0.06% inclusive. The S&P 500 has performed better than most actively managed portfolios over time, so...
Katelyn Kriesel

The Case of Divestment From Fossil Fuels (Powerpoint presentation)

This is a presentation from the Third Annual Climate Solution Summit by Katelyn Kriesel, Board President of the Sustainable Economies Alliance on the case for divesting from Fossil Fuels. _Divestment Presentation - New Paltz Katelyn Kriesel is an expert in the field of sustainable finance. She is a Financial Advisor with Hansen’s Advisory Services, located in Fayetteville, NY, a firm that has specialized in Socially Responsible Investing for over 30 years. She is also Board President and founder of the Sustainable Economies Alliance (SEA), a not-for-profit organization that is raising community awareness regarding economic sustainability and empowerment. She uses this expertise...

GE’s Ecomagination: A Panacea?

Last Thursday, General Electric's (NYSE: GE) CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, reported on the progress to date of the company's Ecomagination project. Ecomagination seeks to position GE as a global environmental technology heavyweight, and Immelt is confident that this initiative will contribute substantially to the eventual emergence of GE's share price from the funk it's been over the past seven years. The Globe & Mail ran an interesting piece on Ecomagination the following day. Rob Day at Cleantech Investing also briefly touched on on the topic on Monday. The jury is still out - will Ecomagination be GE's...

Alternative Energy: The Paradigm is the Problem

Tom Konrad CFA Can We Afford Alternative Energy? Most serious critiques of alternative energy boils down to, "it costs too much." True, detractors of wind power sometimes point to the number of birds and bats killed, and some people worry that electric vehicles (EVs) are so quiet that they pose a danger to blind pedestrians.  While such critiques are legitimate in that they are real problems, they can also be alleviated.  Avian fatalities can be greatly reduced by more sensitive siting of wind turbines, and even painting turbines purple.  Nissan has installed an...

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 Tech Investing and the Democrats’ Victory

What are the implications of the Democrats' electoral victory for the clean tech industry? That probably won't become clear for a few more months. In the meantime, Red Herring, one of my favorite technology magazines, just published this short piece on the topic: "U.S. election a mixed bag for Cleantech". The early conclusion of industry insiders interviewed for the article is the same as ours - namely that the defeat of Proposition 87 won't be a signficant event in the long-run...and that the future looks overall bright. Happy reading!

Financing Clean Energy: Perspectives

Tom Konrad, Ph.D. I recently moderated a panel on Financing Renewable Energy for the Colorado CFA Society.  I took down choice quotes, with the plan of using them on Alt Energy Stocks' new twitter feed.   I ended up with enough material for a short article. My panelists were Garvin Jabusch, COO of Green Alpha Advisors, a green-focused investment advisory firm in Boulder; David Gold, a partner at Access Venture Partners, and manager of their Cleantech investments, and Brian Greenman, of Greenman Financial Advisors, who does project development and finance for community wind developers.  The broad range of perspectives seemed...

Top Questions to Ask a Venture Capitalist in the First Pitch

David Gold Katherine Connors, Miss Iowa USA 2010 throws the ceremonial first pitch.  Source: Cathy T, via Wikimedia Commons You landed your first pitch at a venture capitalist’s (VC) office. You’ve practiced the pitch and have your laptop fired up to deliver. So, like a sprinter at the sound of the gunshot, you dive in hard and heavy to make sure you get through the deck. After all, you might only have one chance to excite them with your company’s story. Inevitably, with all the questions...

Next Economy and Faith for Empiricists

Garvin Jabusch Let's be clear: Justice is not an immutable law of nature. Neither math nor physics nor chemistry recognizes justice as one of the universe's governing principles. The strong, rich, and powerful have, since long before humans emerged, by and large taken what they wanted, when they wanted, and never counted the costs to those they took it from. Despite what Socrates may have said, justice has forever occurred, at best, in fleeting, ephemeral flashes. We yearn for a god capable of seeing and ultimately judging all rights and wrongs because we know we can't be counted...

Cleantech Stimulus Still Not Stimulating

David Gold The stimulus bill along with the $31B cleantech element focused on grants and loan guarantees through the Department of Energy was passed into law over 18 months ago.  About a year ago I wrote about how the cleantech stimulus was not very stimulating to our economy. I suggested at that time that the goals of stimulus and of long-term investment are largely incompatible, and the evidence is bearing that out.  At the time, I felt like a bit of an outcast for having such a critical view and yet being an ardent supporter of clean technologies...

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....

Graftech Manages the Heat of Competition

by Debra Fiakas CFA Products like Graftech's ultra-thin heat spreader help customers manage the heat. Investors think restructuring will help Graftech do the same. Feeling the heat of competition, graphite materials supplier Graftech International Ltd. (GTI:  Nasdaq) has initiated a restructuring of sorts.  The company’s two highest cost graphite electrode plants will be closed.  Those are located in Brazil and South Africa.  A machine shop in Russia will also be shuttered.  Locks will go on the doors in these locations by the end of...

Alternative Energy Investing for 2013

By Harris Roen 2013 is poised to be an exciting year for alternative energy investors. Despite the conflagration solar had in 2012 we see opportunities there, as well as in wind and energy efficiency. This article also reveals why 2013 is shaping up to be a good year for the stock market in general, and alternative energy in particular. ________________________ Solar If 2011 was a bad year for solar, with the bankruptcy of Solyndra, tariff wars with China, and other damaging events, then 2012 was a disaster. The Ardour Solar Energy Index (SOLRX) lost 35% in...