How Likely Is A Big Rally For Alt Energy Stocks?

Last week, Jefferies & Co. held its Global Clean Technology Conference. Unsurprisingly, the tone wasn't as optimistic as in previous years, with cash and funding worries top of mind. Nearly two months ago, I discussed some tangible signs pointing to looming problems in the industry. However, despite all the gloom, it seems as though several firms (and investors!) are expecting the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) to provide the industry with a lifeline. But will this really be the case? For one thing, the major environmental spending programs in the ARRA are relatively...

Solar: Energy, But Not Oil

by Garvin Jabusch Solar photovoltaic (PV) as a means of deriving energy is fundamentally different from fossil fuel-based commodities (oil, coal, and gas). Consider: A solar PV panel can be thought of as nothing more than a hugely oversized computer chip a bunch of circuitry embedded in a silicon wafer. Indeed, in most economic sector classification schemes (GICS, etc.), PV manufacturers are defined as "semiconductors," which is basically true (if misleading in other ways).  So different are the driving economics behind tech-based and commodities-based means of deriving energy, that we at Green Alpha are recommending to Standard &...

Cash in on the efficient transit and transmission building booms

This week's Fortune contains an article titled Cash in on the Rebuilding Boom in which the author, Katie Benner picks several companies she feels will benefit from upgrading the United States' aging infrastructure.  She picked Granite Construction (NYSE: GVA), for their road, bridge, and mass transit construction business,  Greenbrier (NYSE: GBX) for their railcar leasing operations, General Cable (NYSE: BGC) for their wire and cable business, and Wesco (NYSE: WCC) for their business distributing electrical supplies and equipment.  I agree that our nation's infrastructure is in need of a massive upgrade and repair.  However, given my expectation of continued...

Growing Market Skepticism Towards Chinese Renewable Energy

Bottom line: Weak share reactions to upbeat news from Trina, ReneSola and Ming Yang reflect investor skepticism towards new energy stocks, as they face lingering issues of overcapacity and phasing out of government subsidies. A flurry of upbeat news is in the headlines today from 3 of China’s largest new energy equipment makers, led by a return to the profit column for solar panel maker ReneSola (NYSE: SOL) after a year in the red. At the same time, wind power equipment maker Ming Yang (NYSE: MY) also announced its latest quarterly results that were quite upbeat, and solar panel...

Apologies For The Lack Of Posting

We wish to apologize for the lack of posting in the past few days. Tom has been on holidays and I have been very busy with work. We will be back with our normal posting schedule tomorrow. Best, Charles

Capital Pacific Bank: Free Market Alternative with a Conscience

Not A Bankster By Jeff Siegel In the long, slow recovery from the 2008 financial collapse, the banking industry has increasingly been regarded as a buglight for the untrustworthy. The Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate) scandal brought banking corruption to the front of the news, and showed the world a huge ethical hole that had burned through the middle of major banks. In a 2012 essay entitled “Is Banking Unusually Corrupt, and If So, Why?” Financial analyst, Circuit Court judge and University of Chicago Law School Lecturer Richard A. Posner laid out the reasons why...

If Energy Were Free and Unlimited…

David Gold As soon as gas prices rise, our nation becomes focused on energy.  When they drop again, it falls off most consumers’ radar.  Yet the importance of energy goes way beyond the cost of filling up your gas tank or paying your electric bill.  In often-extraordinary ways, energy is interwoven into absolutely everything that we need to live or that we love to do.  One of the most useful tricks I learned in engineering school is that to put any problem in perspective, it helps to ask what if things were...

Japan Wants to be World Leader in Rare Earth Recycling

by Kidela Capital Group Necessity is the mother of invention and Japanese industry is discovering just how true that old saying is. Last year, a diplomatic spat between Japan and China led the world’s largest supplier of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) to suspend exports of Rare Earth oxides and other critical metals to its largest single client. Japan, like the rest of the world, is almost totally reliant on Chinese Rare Earth (RE) exports and the China’s action, which came as a shock to Japanese industry, is a sentient warning for the rest of the world....

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"...

Minimizing a Key Threat: State of the Union Address 2012

Garvin Jabusch Americans, rightly, prefer specifics and plans, as opposed to rhetorical vision and platitudes, from their president in their State of the Union addresses. We couldn't agree more, so here are our thoughts about President Obama's 2012 address, with respect to our area, the next economy and investing therein. President Barack Obama delivers the 2012 State of the Union Address (Image source: whitehouse.gov) Two years ago, President Obama in his State of the Union Address said, "The nation that leads the clean energy economy will lead the global economy and America must be that...

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...

Three Things Goldman Sachs’ $40B Greentech Investment Means, and Two it Doesn’t

Tom Konrad CFA Goldman Sachs Tower photo via Bigstock Goldman Sachs’ Investment in Green Tech More than any other investment bank, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is famed for its skill at picking good investments.  Last week, the bank  announced it would invest another $40 billion in green technologies over the next 10 years (or an average of $4 billion a year.)   While this is a drop from the $4.8 billion invested in 2011, the last time Goldman Sachs made a commitment to green tech was 2005....

The Water Food Energy Climate Nexus (Pt. 1)

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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...

The Rare Earth Supply Chain: Ores, Concentrates, Compounds, Oxides and Metals

REE Refining 101 by Kidela Capital Group “There is a reason why the Rare Earths are called rare. They’re not called rare because they’re truly rare. They’re called rare because it’s very difficult to isolate these elements individually and it takes a lot of skill to do that.” Constantine Karayannopoulos, chief executive of Neo Material Technologies1 Rare Earth Elements have become an indispensable part of modern life, found in everyday items like computers, camera lenses and high efficiency light bulbs to complex, emerging technologies in the optics, medical and defence spheres....

Sustainable Investment Opportunity In 2017

by Garvin Jabusch Lord Nicholas Stern recently said, “Strong investment in sustainable infrastructurethat’s the growth story of the future. This will set off innovation, discovery, much more creative ways of doing things. This is the story of growth, which is the only one available because any attempt at high-carbon growth would self-destruct .” More pointedly, the Investment Bank division at Morgan Stanley in 2016 advised clients that long-term investment in fossil fuels may be a bad financial decision, writing, “Investors cannot assume economic growth will continue to rely heavily on an energy sector powered predominantly by fossil fuels." What...