Introduction to Investing in Renewable Energy

UPDATE 3/4/2011: An up-to date article on selecting green mutual funds and ETFs can be found here. Why Invest in Renewable Energy? Given all the attention that renewable energy is getting in the news over the last couple years, investing in renewable energy has become a hot topic.  People are drawn to renewable energy for one of several reasons: To fight Global Warming To prepare for Peak Oil. To improve Energy Security and local economies. To cash in on the above trends. The beauty of investing in renewable energy companies is that these goals are not...

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...

The Peak Coal Portfolio

Last week, we alerted you to a report from Germany's Energy Watch Group called “Coal: Resources and Future Production,��? which predicts peak coal by 2025.  Readers of AltEnergyStocks are doubtless familiar with peak oil, the inevitable fact that as we consume a finite resource (oil reserves) at some point the rate of that consumption must peak, and taper off.  Serious arguments about peak oil center around "when" oil production (and consumption) will peak, not "if."   The same it true for other finite natural resources, such as natural gas, uranium, and even coal.  The difference with coal is the received...

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...

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...

Investing in Climate Change…Again And Again

I caught this one a little late, but thought it might still be useful. The Globe & Mail, Canada's main national newspaper, is running, in its investment section, a segment on investing in climate change. I didn't find all of it useful, but there are some interesting nuggets of information that are worth sharing. More specifically, I enjoyed the piece on cleantech ETFs called "Go clean, invest green". It discusses The PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio , the PowerShares WilderHill Progressive Energy Portfolio , the PowerShares Cleantech Portfolio and the Claymore/LGA Green ETF . ...

The Truth Ain’t That Incovinient Anymore, So What’s Next?

I attended Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth lecture in Toronto tonight. I assume many of you have seen the movie so I'm not going to go into the details of the presentation, which is essentially the same as the movie give-or-take a couple of slides. Instead, I'm going to share with you some of the thoughts I had as I was listening to the former VP. Firstly, I bought this whole climate change thing a long time ago and I've seen the movie, so substantively I got very little out of this. As with the movie, I...

10 Stocks To Last The Decade…

Someone recently sent me a link to a Motley Fool piece entitled "10 Stocks to Last the Decade, Revisited". It appeared on Feb. 2 so some of you may have already read it. For those who have not, I thought it might be an interesting read because so many parallels can be drawn between the tech euphoria of the '90s and the cleantech euphoria of today. In a nutshell, the author looks back at a summer of 2000 Fortune article in which 10 stocks were identified as sure winners for the next decade based on how hot...

Q4 2006 Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices Out

Ernst & Young's Renewable Energy Group just released the Q4 '06 update for its Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices (the document is not yet available on the website, but it should be soon). In the words of Ernst & Young," the Country Attractiveness Indices provide scores for national renewable energy markets, renewable energy infrastructures and their suitability for individual technologies." These indices thus provide useful information for investors wanting to assess the desirability of company exposure to certain markets. There are 3 indices (their names pretty much says what they are about): (a) the All Renewables...

Forbes Is “Betting On Green Stocks”

Just a heads up that Forbes is running, on its website, a short slide show entitled "Betting On Green Stocks". The magazine "queried some of the top-performing investment newsletter editors who cover green stocks for a few of their favorite current ideas." Stocks discussed are: First Solar , SunPower , Medis Technologies , Suntech Power Holdings , and Fording Canadian Coal Trust .

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...

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...

2006 & Alt Energy Investing: 6 Key Points to Remember from a Great Year

It is customary, at the dawn of a new year, to reflect back on the past year’s highlights. This exercise is generally conducted immediately before the new year, so you could say I’m a little late. However, this time around, instead of creating my own list of key things to remember from 2006, I decided to see what the heavy hitters in the alt energy and clean tech spaces had to say. I picked 3 sources that I read religiously and that all published such a list for '06. They are: Clean Break, Cleantech Blog and Red Herring....

The EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2007 (Early Release) is Out

A quick post to inform our readers that the Energy Information Administration has just published an 'early release' version of its 2007 Annual Energy Outlook. Topics covered include: Energy Trends to 2030 Economic Growth Energy Prices Energy Consumption Energy Intensity Electricity Generation Energy Production and Imports Carbon Dioxide Emissions Along with this table outlining a range of energy-related projections to 2030 (PDF document), including revisions from 2006 projections.

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!

Alternative Energy Investing Unfazed By Defeat of Proposition 87

Proposition 87 sure got a lot of attention in the past few months, not least because high-profile venture capitalist (and clean tech enthusiast) Vinod Khosla threw his full weight behind it. Proposition 87 would have created a tax set at between 1.5% and 6% (depending on the price of the barrel of oil) on producers of oil extracted in California, and would have established, with the proceeds, a $4 billion fund to invest in alternative energy. Unfortunately for Khosla and his bunch, California voters defeated Proposition 87 at the ballot box on Tuesday. Unsurprisingly, this had no impact...
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