The Ontario Green Energy Act: What Can Alt Energy Legislations Do For Investors

Dedicated legislations have been at the core of some of the most impressive regional growth stories in alternative energy, most notably in Germany with the Renewable Energy Sources Act or in California with the various legislative solar initiatives. On Monday, the Canadian province of Ontario became the latest jurisdiction to join the fray as lawmakers introduced the Green Energy and Green Economy Act. Why should investors care? Because such legislations have been at the core of some of the most impressive regional growth stories in alternative energy.  As a bit of a backgrounder on Ontario, there...

Can Public Equity Investing Have Impact?

by Garvin Jabusch There’s an argument in the world of impact investing that goes something like, "impact happens only through private investments; there is no real impact, apart from shareholder engagement efforts, in public equity investing." An associated perception is that investment impact means capitalizing an enterprise beyond what would happen otherwise, meaning private equity alone has the power to provide real impact. But is this true? Publicly traded corporations are the largest and most visible social and environmental bellwethers of the global economy, and the high allocation to public equities in most investor portfolios means public equity...

Breaking News – President Bush Calls for Cut in Gasoline Use and Pushes Renewable...

President Bush, in Tuesday's State of the Union address, will propose a plan to cut U.S. gasoline consumption by 20 percent while bolstering inventory in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Republican sources say. The president's 10-year plan to cut gasoline use includes tightening fuel economy standards on automakers and producing 35 billion gallons of renewable fuel such as ethanol by 2017, according to sources briefed on the speech. One official said the moves would be equivalent to taking 26 million vehicles off U.S. roads. Full CNN story. While this is great to see, it is a...

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...
decarbonization

Green New Deal Roadmap – Accelerating Renewable Energy Infrastructure Development

Investment in renewable energy is rising, but clearly needs to grow faster to meet the goals for an expedited transition away from carbon infrastructure if we are to avoid dangerous climate change, given that now even the Trump administration forecasts a 7°C increase by 2100, which would be catastrophic. The Paris Agreement determined that in order to keep warming below 2°C, the global economy would need to be restricted to a 600 gigaton carbon “budget”, and completely decarbonize by 2040. Emissions must be cut by 70% in the Paris-congruent Remap case, and 90% of those cuts in energy-related CO2 emissions can...

Gas Consumption – An Image Is Worth A Thousand Words

So goes the old adage. We thought the following, recently published in The Economist of gas consumption in 2003, fully embodied the true essence of that phrase. Have a good day!

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...

Increasing Risk in Renewable Energy Investing

Garey Vasey, Ph.D. at Risk Center brings us a cautionary warning from the U.K. Financial Services Authority about the increasing risks of commodity investing, largely due to greater investor interest (at all levels from individuals to banks to hedgefunds) without enough true experience in this sector. I feel this same lesson applies to Renewable Energy investing. The higher these stocks rise on a tide of investor enthusiasm (as opposed to earnings fundamentals), the greater the potential for a fall. Among his other points, he says: The best and most knowledgeable energy trading talent was picked off...

How to Read a Sustainability Report: Five Tips

Five tips to help you make sense of the next sustainability report you read Reading Sustainability Reports photo via BigStock   By Marc Gunther. This article was first published on Ensia.com. Corporate sustainability reports have been around since … well, it’s hard to say.  The first report may have been published by “companies in the chemical industry with serious image problems” in the 1980s, or by Ben & Jerry’s in 1989 or Shell in 1997. No matter since then, more...

Seven Greentech “Experts” and Their Stock Picks

Tom Konrad CFA Not many self-proclaimed Greentech experts know what they're talking about, and fewer can effectively make the case of Greentech investing. When I attended the MoneyShow last week to moderate a panel, I also stayed around to see what people who held themselves out as Greentech or Cleantech experts were saying.  Since MoneyShow attendees do not pay to get in, all the revenue comes from presenters.  I was asked to moderate my panel because I made it a condition of helping them advertise the show, but many of the presenters I saw were on stage...

Stocks We Love to Hate

Investing in clean energy is both an economic and a moral decision.  From an economic perspective, I believe that constrained supplies of fossil fuels (not just Peak Oil, but also Peak Coal and Natural Gas) are leading to a permanent rise in the value of all forms of energy.  From a moral perspective, I know that we and the vast majority of our children are limited to this one planet for generations to come, so we should abuse it as little as possible, so, of all the possible forms of energy to invest in, clean energy (Renewable and...

Will Rare Earths Cripple the Green Economy? Part 1

Eamon Keane Rare Earth Elements Eamon Keane This is Part One of a three part series based on a rare earth elements (REE) review which is available for download at slideshare, where references can be viewed. Part 1 is an introduction to REEs. Part 2 analyzes REE consumption and refining and Part 3 looks at how REEs might affect the green economy.  Rare earths captured the popular imagination a year or two ago. Since then a bonfire of reports, presentations and analyses have been published, with many generating more consulting fees...

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...

Graphene Pixie Dust

by Debra Fiakas CFA Ever since British scientists worked a little magic with some scotch tape, the world has been captivated their discovery of graphene, the single atom thick material that can conduct electricity and is at once strong and bendable.  Investors have been dreaming graphene could be sprinkled across industry like pixie dust, creating valuable new products and driving company valuations to lofty heights.  Reality has been a bit less grand. To be clear, there have been successes.  As noted in the June 9th article, “Graphene in the Oil Patch,” the wonder material has been found...

The Obama Effect: Is Clean Energy Outperforming?

A comparison of the charts for clean energy ETFs and broader market ETFs seems to show that, clean energy funds have, if anything, underperformed the market as a whole in recent months.  Nevertheless, the quarterly performance update for my 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2009 showed my picks strongly outperforming the market, although the much riskier 10 Clean Energy Gambles was only performing in-line with the sector indices. It's unlikely that my picks are due to stock picking skill.  My personal experience has shown that I'm much better at picking sectors than individual stocks: my strength is in spotting...

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...