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...

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....

Cheap Oil: Nemesis Or Sideshow?

by Garvin Jabusch Next economics posits that for the global economy and earth's tolerances/carrying capacities to run in a mutually tolerable equilibrium, we must continue to make rapid advances in economic efficiencies in all sectors. For 7.3 billion of us (and counting) to thrive on finite resources and avoid the worst effects of climate change, we have to drive more and more economic output from less and less input. Fortunately, energy is one of the areas where we can quickly make huge strides in this respect but not with fossil fuels in the mix. On the contrary,...

Money Is Flowing Into Alt Energy Again, But We Are Not Out Of The...

Charles MorandIt seems as though the darkest clouds are finally dissipating over alt energy's financing horizon. Over the past few weeks, money has started flowing into the sector again, as evidenced by a number of recent deal announcements: On June 9, I reported on the upcoming IPO for Magma Energy Corp., a geothermal exploration company. The IPO's size will be upped from an initial C$50 MM to C$100 MM, a sign of increased market appetite  SunPower Corp. raised $418 MM in early May through a share and debt offering, and recently announced it had reached a $100...

Commodity Energy Vs. Technology Energy: This Changes Everything

by Garvin Jabusch We now live in a global economy with two fundamentally different types of energy: commodity-based in the form of fossil fuels and uranium, and technology-based, represented primarily by solar and wind. That observation is interesting as far as it goes, but what does it mean? The term renewable (as it pertains to energy) gets used so often that it is easy to forget what it really entails. For starters, tech-based renewables become less expensive over time, as demand for them drives scale, innovation, and improves cost structures in implementation (think about the last couple of computers...

Chaos Theory, Financial Markets, and Global Weirding

Tom Konrad Ph.D. CFA In my bio, I usually state My study of chaos theory led to my conviction that knowing the limits of our ability to predict is much more important than the predictions themselves, a lesson I apply to both climate science and the financial markets. Despite having written about financial markets and clean energy stocks regularly since 2006, I have never before explained in print what I meant by that.  This summer's heat wave and stock market turbulence illustrate how my intuition about chaos theory informs both my understanding of the climate and...

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...

Geothermal, Battery, and Solar LED articles in TQ

There were three excellent alternative energy articles in last week's Technology Quarterly from the Economist. Readers know I'm an avid battery investor, and the Economist's in depth History of the Battery is well worth reading for anyone who wants to gain insight into the promises and challenges awaiting developers and investors. My favorite battery investment, Electro Energy, last profiled here has seen considerable selling, having lost half its price since its peak in early January.  I still like the and own the stock. There is also a short article about the prospects for Enhanced Geothermal, one of my favorite...

Investor Enthusiasm for Graphene: Strong as Graphene

Tom Konrad CFA Graphene is going to transform clean tech in less than five years. That, at least, is the opinion of the majority of the respondents to my reader poll about how graphene is likely to affect clean tech stocks.  This is in marked contrast to the caution expressed by the the responses from my panel of professional money managers who invest in clean tech stocks. (Their responses are the subject of a previous article on graphene investing.) I think Shawn Kravetz, President of Esplanade Capital,  LLC, and manager of solar-focused hedge...

The Next Tesla Or SolarCity

Tom Konrad CFA Andrew Shapiro Speaking at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum – Wall Street this morning, Andrew Shapiro, the Founder of Broadscale Group, presented his ideas on how small clean energy companies can succeed: Collaborate with big corporations.  That does not mean going cap in hand looking for the cash those companies can bring, but forging collaborative partnerships where interests are aligned with a corporate investment, and leveraging the reach and scale of those companies to rapidly achieve scale that entrepreneurs have trouble finding on their own....
solar storage and finance

Conference Brief – Solar & Storage Finance

Renewable energy finance has many different kinds of participants, as revealed recently at the Solar & Storage Finance conference hosted in NYC.  .   Listening to the live actors from the financial side of the renewable power industry moved the issues off the page, to a more concrete experience of their specific concerns, including the extent to which their distinct missions were siloed, how they are competitive, and how they synergize. The presentations were organized to highlight these differences.  Several panel discussions were set back-to-back the contrast between lenders vs tax equity investors, both in terms of their goals, but also...

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...

Energy Investing: What To Expect In 2015

By Jeff Siegel Tonight, I will welcome in the New Year with family. We'll feast on cured meats, pickled vegetables, and lamb neck stew. We'll sip an old fashioned or two with apple and sage, share some laughs, and maybe even shed a few tears as we remember those we lost in 2014. When the ball drops, we'll hug, kiss, and cheer on all that waits to be discovered in 2015. There will be good and there will be bad, but I suppose it's the uncertainty of it all that makes life worth living. Don't Fear the Uncertain It...

Growing Clean Energy Through Business Model Innovation

David L. Levy Boston-based Zipcar (ZIP) raised $174 million from its Initial Public Offering in April 2011. It already has operates in 14 big cities and 230 college campuses around the United States, Canada and the UK, and is planning to use the new capital for market expansion. Zipcar is not a high tech business, and its success is not due to sophisticated technological innovation; rather, it’s an example of business model innovation. Zipcar reinvented the traditional car rental business by simplifying and reducing the costs for short-term rentals, and rebranding the service as green car sharing. They...
Permaculture flower - finance

Presentation: A Permaculture Portfolio

Unfortunately, my attempt to record my presentation last Monday failed... still learning to use Screencastify.  There was a lot that was not in the text of the presentation itself- I use slides more as a reminder of what I want to talk about than a script. On the other hand, it would have been a 2 hour recording, so flipping through the slides will be at least save you time.  The link to the PDF version is below: A Permaculture Portfolio

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...