Six Questions to Ask a Venture Capitalist in the First Five Minutes

David Gold So, you’re at a networking event and you get an opportunity to talk with a Venture Capitalist (VC) for just a few minutes. After breaking the ice with quick introductory formalities, you present your elevator pitch, right? Wrong. How can you possibly capture that VC’s interest if you don’t know what excites them? Would you try to sell meat to a vegetarian or bricks to a carpenter? Not if you knew a little about their needs and interests!  When you are raising money, you are selling yourself and your company to your prospective...

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...

2013 Alternative Energy Stock Predictions

Will Natural Gas Crush Alternative Energy in 2013? By Jeff Siegel Swami photo via Bigstock In 2004 a hotshot Wall Street type cornered me after I spoke at a private luncheon in New York. He told me I had a lot of balls wasting his time talking about alternative energy  declaring he was an “important man” who didn't find it amusing that some tree hugger in a suit (yes, that's what he called me) would lecture him about a coming boom in solar... I never forgot that...

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,...

A Sign Of The Times

Alt energy investors figured out early on in this crisis that a widespread shut-down of credit markets coupled with a substantial re-pricing of risk would not bode well for the industry. That's why alt energy stocks have outdone the overall market to the downside over the past year, with the iShares S&P Global Clean Energy Index (ICLN) down more than 60% Vs. the S&P 500 loosing a little under 40% over the same period. Much of this carnage occurred before any real impacts on alt energy had been felt (current prices in equity markets are generally forward- rather...

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...

Why Oil & Shipping Firm A.P. Moller-Maersk and Steelmaker POSCO Are ‘Green’ Investments

by Bill Paul There's no such thing as an "experienced" alternative energy investor. The sector simply is too new. Also, like an iceberg, most of it lies hidden beneath the surface. To succeed in these uncharted waters, I believe that alternative energy investors (a group that eventually will include all investors) need to follow a particular set of guidelines that I've started identifying in recent articles. The first guideline is that you must be a long-term investor with a time horizon of at least three to five years. Otherwise, you'll miss out on most of the incredible financial payoff...

Graphene From Plasma

by Debra Fiakas CFA The corporate literature of Haydale Graphene Industries, Plc. (HAYD:  AIM) says graphene material could ‘revolutionize the 21st century.’   Unfortunately, finding an economical way to produce graphene has had some wondering if we might have to wait until the 22nd century to finally gain the benefits of graphene’s numerous superior qualities of strength, flexibility and conductivity.  Based in the U.K., Haydale reported an eight-fold increase in sales of its graphene materials in the last six months of 2014.  Granted revenue totaling GBP482,000 (USD$737,460) is still small, but the growth lends new credibility to...
Katelyn Kriesel

The Case of Divestment From Fossil Fuels (Powerpoint presentation)

This is a presentation from the Third Annual Climate Solution Summit by Katelyn Kriesel, Board President of the Sustainable Economies Alliance on the case for divesting from Fossil Fuels. _Divestment Presentation - New Paltz Katelyn Kriesel is an expert in the field of sustainable finance. She is a Financial Advisor with Hansen’s Advisory Services, located in Fayetteville, NY, a firm that has specialized in Socially Responsible Investing for over 30 years. She is also Board President and founder of the Sustainable Economies Alliance (SEA), a not-for-profit organization that is raising community awareness regarding economic sustainability and empowerment. She uses this expertise...

Can America Regain the Rare Earths Crown?

by Kidela Capital Group A rare earth element is like air. It only seems to become important when you are running out. With China suddenly cutting back on exports while controlling 95 percent of the world’s production of rare earth elements, the United States and other countries suddenly finds themselves vulnerable. This vulnerability has to do with the stability of the supply of these strategic commodities. Countries from around the world have suddenly woken up to the realization that the future of their high technology industries could be in the hands of one supplier – China. In the...

The Ontario Feed-in Tariff For Alternative Energy

Last month, I wrote about how Ontario, North America's 6th largest jurisdiction by population, had tabled a Green Energy Act to boost the alternative energy industry's growth in the province. In that post, I mentioned that officials would soon release the rules for a feed-in tariff (FIT) system. FITs, which pay fixed rates for renewable power, are all but absent in North America, although they are popular incentive in Europe. Germany's FIT is largely responsible for that country's dominance in solar PV today despite mediocre sun conditions.  Ontario released the draft rules and proposed prices for...

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 MacArthur Foundation Invests In Climate Solutions- And In Fossil Fuels

By Marc Gunther.  Eighteen months ago, the people who manage the endowment at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation got some bad news: Investments they had made in funds managed by EnerVest, a Houston-based private equity firm that operates more than 33,000 oil and gas wells across the US, had plummeted in value to almost nothing. The losses were small, relatively speaking — roughly $15 million, a fraction of the foundation’s $7 billion endowment — but they were unwelcome, if only because they called attention to the fact that MacArthur, whose mission is, famously, to build a “more just, verdant and peaceful world,” had...

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...

Are the Declines in Solar and Wind Stocks Structural, or Cyclical?

Tom Konrad, CFA Last week, I asked three green money managers if they thought cleantech stocks, especially solar and wind sectors were near a bottom.  While they did tell me about eight cleantech value stocks, they were not ready to call the bottom. Commoditization in Clean Energy In response to my questions, Rafael Coven, the manager of the Cleantech Index (^CTIUS), which is the index behind the Powershares Cleantech Portfolio ETF (PZD,) ...

Alternative Energy Investing for 2013

By Harris Roen 2013 is poised to be an exciting year for alternative energy investors. Despite the conflagration solar had in 2012 we see opportunities there, as well as in wind and energy efficiency. This article also reveals why 2013 is shaping up to be a good year for the stock market in general, and alternative energy in particular. ________________________ Solar If 2011 was a bad year for solar, with the bankruptcy of Solyndra, tariff wars with China, and other damaging events, then 2012 was a disaster. The Ardour Solar Energy Index (SOLRX) lost 35% in...
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