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...

The Water Food Energy Climate Nexus (Pt. 1)

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Why Alternative Energy Stocks

Are Alternative energy stocks the Microsoft of the future? If you invested $1,000 in MSFT back in 1986 your investment would now be worth over $300,000. If you really believed in the Personal Computing industry you could have also invested in companies like Intel, Apple, and Cisco at bargain basement prices.

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...

Saudis Confirm Switch from Oil to Solar

By Jeff Siegel You probably wouldn't recognize him if you saw him on the street. Heck, you probably don't even know his name. But Ali Al-Naimi is one of the most powerful men in the world. As the Saudi oil minister and chairman of Saudi Aramco, Al-Naimi is not particularly popular with U.S. oil producers, especially after telling the media he didn't care if oil prices crashed to $20 because it was not in the interest of OPEC producers to cut production  regardless of price. Still, he remains the most influential oilman on the planet. Listed as one of Forbes' 50...

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,...

Why Alternative Energy Stocks Are Down Despite An Obama Victory

By Harris Roen If you follow the energy sector closely, then you know that many questions regarding the direction of alternative energy companies were looming during the 2012 campaign season. Was the country going to continue with the Obama Administration’s “all-of-the-above” strategy with its strong emphasis on renewables, or would there be an accelerated domestic drilling and pipeline bonanza under Republican leadership. When the election finally ended last week, many pundits expected investors to pour money into the beleaguered alternative energy sector resulting in a surge of stock prices. So why, instead, did alternative energy...

Five More Winners of the Clean Energy Race

The Pew Charitable Trusts just released the 2011 edition of their report, "Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race?"

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...

The Buffett Shareholder Letter & Alt Energy

It is fair to say that most people continue to equate the terms "alternative" and "energy" with expensive, unreliable and plain unpractical. This naturally leads a majority of people to view alternative energy investing as a high-risk play on some unproven technology with an uncertain probability of success. This is a perception we've tried to dispel on several occasions, whether we were talking about blue chip alt energy stocks, dividend alt energy stocks or utility alt energy stocks. It's also fair to say that most people don't typically associate value investing and, by extension, ...

Next Economy and Faith for Empiricists

Garvin Jabusch Let's be clear: Justice is not an immutable law of nature. Neither math nor physics nor chemistry recognizes justice as one of the universe's governing principles. The strong, rich, and powerful have, since long before humans emerged, by and large taken what they wanted, when they wanted, and never counted the costs to those they took it from. Despite what Socrates may have said, justice has forever occurred, at best, in fleeting, ephemeral flashes. We yearn for a god capable of seeing and ultimately judging all rights and wrongs because we know we can't be counted...

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 . ...

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...

The Arizona Renewable Energy Assessment: An Investor’s Perspective

Black and Veatch Corporation (B&V) recently completed and in-depth assessment of renewable energy generation potential for three Arizona utilities (Arizona Public Service (APS), the Salt River Project (SRP), and Tucson Electric Power (TEP)) which must comply with Arizona's Renewable Energy Standard.   Nate Blair, a senior energy analyst (and fellow board member at the Colorado Renewable Energy Society) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory sent me the link.  Thanks, Nate! The Renewable Energy Standard requires that APS and TEP generate 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025, and the SRP has adopted 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....

Do You Need To Invest In Oil To Benefit From Expensive Oil?

Two months ago, Tom told us how he'd dipped a toe into the black stuff (i.e. bought the OIL etf) on grounds that current supply destruction related to the depressed price of crude oil would eventually lead to the same kind of supply-demand crunch that led oil to spike during the 2004 to mid-2008 period. If you need evidence that the current price of crude is wreaking havoc in the world of oil & gas exploration, look no further than Alberta and its oil sands. The oil sands contain the second largest oil reserves in the world after...