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...

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....

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...

The Energy Balance of Snake Oil

It's no secret that money is flooding into the alternative energy sector, but not all of this money comes from sophisticated, investors. Unsophisticated investment is a lighting rod for the scam artists. Because there is both an urgent need to deal with the the problems posed by global warming, energy security, and resource depletion, and the new money is rapidly accelerating the advance of technology in renewable energy, new innovations are very plausible. There are many ways to lose money in alternative energy, even without being taken by a scam. The current emotional...

Bearing The Interest Burden

by Debra Fiakas CFA Smaller companies frequently avoid debt as a capital source, relying instead mostly on equity.  After all common stock  holders are often content to wait for years for a dividend as the small, young company secures its market position and builds profits.  Pesky creditors are always knocking on the door for interest payments and principal return. Yet, a number of smaller companies included in our Beach Boys Index of alternative fuel producers have chosen to use debt. We reviewed a group of them to determine the impact of increase in interest rates that could...

Top 5 Things Cleantech Entrepreneurs Fail to Understand About Raising Capital

David Gold After decades of venture capital investment, growth and exit, the traditional focus areas of venture capital (such as IT, web and software) have developed strong entrepreneurial ecosystems. A high percentage of start-ups in these traditional areas come to market with one or more experienced entrepreneurs or with a strong and active network of investors/advisors who have “been there, done that.”   They know what it takes to raise capital and to build a great fast-growing business.  Cleantech companies, however, are much more likely to be led by first-time entrepreneurs who often struggle to create an ecosystem of...

ESG5 Summit brief

A conference hosted in NYC in early April, 2019 ESG5 SUMMIT showcased the issues of current concern to institutional asset managers.  ESG as a term is a rebranding of SRI (socially responsible investing) and CSR (corporate social responsibility) now under broad headings of Environment Social & Governance, to reflect that it is more than just an investing style, but is concerned with risk management and value creation.   ESG strategies are being pursued by a range of participants, including public and private pension funds, mutual funds and ETFs, family offices and sovereign wealth funds, and advisors and advocacy groups. The goals are...

Still Renewable, Still Paying Good Dividends

Tom Konrad CFA Income investors can also invest in clean energy. Over the past four years, changes in Canadian tax law have led the renewable energy income trusts I introduced investors to in March 2007 to either be bought out like the Boralex Power Income Fund (bought by manager Boralex ) or convert to corporations like Algonquin Power and Utilities . Those that converted to corporations are still out there, and still paying good dividends.  And while a few are gone because of mergers, there are also a few new ones that I did not mention...

The Next Economy in 2012: Progress Towards Inflection

Green Alpha Advisors' Annual Client Letter and Portfolio Commentary Garvin Jabusch and Jeremy Deems 2012 saw a return to positive performance for the next economy and for markets overall. Generally, global economic conditions, as indicated by some jobs growth, slowly improving industrial output and a housing rebound, improved marginally, but debt crises in Europe and America, exacerbated by eternal dithering, gamesmanship and posturing by politicians and other policy makers on both continents, kept optimism in check and moderated expectations for growth. With respect to the next economy, though, growth and expectations for growth began showing real signs of building...

What Do The New Crowdfunding Rules Mean For Renewables?

James Montgomery Crowdfunding illustration via Bigstock   The SEC has finally proposed its rules to allow crowd-funding under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. What do they mean for small-scale investments in renewable energy companies and projects? Title III of the JOBS Act created an exemption under securities laws for crowdfunding, which set the table for its regulation by the SEC that was supposed to happen by the end of last year. Two weeks ago the SEC finally issued its proposed rules on crowdfunding (summary...

Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) Tax Equity Conference Brief

I recently attended the Solar Energy Industry Association's (SEIA) Finance and Tax Seminar in New York. The subject matter in this event delved into issues related to tax equity finance.  Each panel session was moderated by a tax attorney or an accountant, and most of the content of the sessions consisted of technical tax law. To place the discipline into context, one speaker noted that the tax equity renewables investing deal volume in 2018 was $2-3B for solar and $9B for wind, and the number of tax equity participants is roughly only 25-35 large corporations.  So unless there are changes...

Critical Energy Metals – A One Way Bet?

Global Technology Metals Eamon Keene The Department of Energy (DOE) released a report Wednesday which undertook a strategic review of the use of critical metals in the emerging clean energy space. "Critical Materials Strategy" is a 170 page report which provides a useful overview of the possible metal bottlenecks - and hence investment opportunities - in clean technologies. The investment thesis which can best benefit from shortages is called "Strategic Positioning". Developed by Patrick Wong, former CIO of Dacha Capital, this thesis "basically looks at parts/processes in the building of any product...

Earnings Are Mixed for the New Year

By Harris Roen There have been six earnings reports released so far in 2013 for alternative energy stocks, all small or microcap companies. There were no blowouts, but also no superstars – most were within analyst expectation or somewhat below.  Date DayStar Technologies Inc. (DSTI) More Info 1/7/2013 Revenues remain elusive for this thin cell PV producer. EPS dropped about 10%, and gross losses doubled. The stock is down 35% for the year, but has bounced up 20% for the quarter. SEC...

Human Capital, Not Venture Capital, the Biggest Cleantech Challenge

David Gold Building great businesses typically requires three key ingredients: phenomenal people, compelling technology and investment capital. Cleantech companies are no exception. While cleantech venture capital investments have expanded rapidly, averaging an annual growth rate of 65% over the past five years and now representing over 15% of all venture investments, the compelling technologies are mostly early in their development cycles and the human eco-system for early stage cleantech companies is in its infancy. There is much buzz about the venture capital and government funding that is being invested in cleantech companies,...

2013: Green Economy Inflection Point

Garvin Jabusch There are a few truths that make the fundamental case that investing in the emerging next economy is the clearest path to long term competitive portfolio performance. First, innovation – meaning improving economic output without increasing material or capital inputs - always wins. This is simply how capitalism works, money chasing the best ideas, and has been the basis of the industrial revolution. Second, successfully mitigating the worst effects of economically and societally disastrous climate change (that we're not already irreversibly committed to) will save enormous costs, provide generational investment opportunities and also be inestimably economically stimulative....

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...