Alternative Energy: The Paradigm is the Problem

Tom Konrad CFA Can We Afford Alternative Energy? Most serious critiques of alternative energy boils down to, "it costs too much." True, detractors of wind power sometimes point to the number of birds and bats killed, and some people worry that electric vehicles (EVs) are so quiet that they pose a danger to blind pedestrians.  While such critiques are legitimate in that they are real problems, they can also be alleviated.  Avian fatalities can be greatly reduced by more sensitive siting of wind turbines, and even painting turbines purple.  Nissan has installed an...

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...

Watt’s Watt?

Watts are standard, but the way we talk and write about them is not.

Google’s Renewed Cleantech Investment Binge

James Montgomery Google Doodle for Earth Day 2006 This week the Internet giant Google revealed that in December it invested $75 million in Pattern Energy's (NASD:PEGI) 182-MW Panhandle 2 wind farm in Carson County, Texas, northeast of Amarillo, expected to be operational by the end of this year. Pattern will hold an 80 percent stake in the project, whose owners also include Google and two institutional tax equity investors, with Morgan Stanley providing construction and equity bridge loans and a letter of credit. Google certainly has displayed a healthy...

Clean Energy Stocks to Fill the Nuclear Gap

Tom Konrad, CFA If the Japanese use less nuclear power, what will take its place? I'm astounded by the resilience and discipline of the Japanese people in response to the three-pronged earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, perhaps in large part by my cultural roots in the egocentric United States, where we seem to have forgotten the virtue of self-sacrifice for the greater good.  Yet while Japanese society has shown itself to be particularly resilient, the Japanese electric grid is much less resilient.  According to International Energy Agency statistics, Japan produced 258 TWh of electricity from...

Alternative Energy Will Outperform The Market, With Storage Stocks Leading the Way

The public relations firm Waggener Edstrom released a survey of investors and analysts yesterday seeking opinions on what was in store for alternative energy for 2009 (link to the survey at the end of this article). Of the 81 respondents, 47 were institutional investors, 26 were brokerage analysts, five were from independent research firms and three were classified as "Other industry participants". Overall, 58% of respondents were from the buy side, 32% from the sell side and the remainder from "Other". Here are a few tidbits that caught my attention. Storage: The Next Boom? Overall, 50% of respondents expect...

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...

Seven Greentech “Experts” and Their Stock Picks

Tom Konrad CFA Not many self-proclaimed Greentech experts know what they're talking about, and fewer can effectively make the case of Greentech investing. When I attended the MoneyShow last week to moderate a panel, I also stayed around to see what people who held themselves out as Greentech or Cleantech experts were saying.  Since MoneyShow attendees do not pay to get in, all the revenue comes from presenters.  I was asked to moderate my panel because I made it a condition of helping them advertise the show, but many of the presenters I saw were on stage...

Why Investing Should Be Moral

Last night, a recent finance graduate introduced himself to me, telling me he had attended my presentation at the Colorado Renewable Energy Society on July 24th. (the whole presentation is available after the link, scroll down to Jul 24.)  He said he wasn't invested in clean energy because "Investing is about making money... there's nothing moral about it."   I'm sure I was quite sarcastic when I replied, "That sounds like a finance major." I believe that finance and economics, as they are currently taught, make people less moral.  I'm not talking about God.  I'm personally agnostic with tendencies towards...

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...

Can Broad Shoulders Shake Off The Rate Hike?

by Debra Fiakas CFA Some investors may be surprised by the repercussions of an increase in the Federal Reserve’s benchmark interest rate.  The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to take action next week for the first time in nine years to increase the rate from near zero.  Odds makers have pegged the magnitude of the rate increase by a quarter percentage point. We decided to take a look at some of the companies in Crystal Equity Research’s Beach Boys Index composed of biofuel, ethanol, renewable diesel and other alternative fuel producers.  We looked to see which...

Green Energy Investing For Beginners: Index

Tom Konrad, CFA I write about investing in Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and other green technologies because I'm worried.  I'm worried that the inevitable transition away from fossil fuels driven by peaking supply and climate change could be much more painful than it needs to be because, as a society, we have massively underinvested in the infrastructure that we will need for the transition. I don't care if my readers are motivated by an altruistic wish to make the world a better place, or they just want to cash in on what promises to be the hottest stock market...

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...

Stock Picking For Green Investors (Presentation)

Here is a short presentation on stock picking for green investors by AltEnergyStocks Editor Tom Konrad CFA, Ph.D., with a couple stock picks.  I gave this presentation as part of a workshop on divestment from fossil fuels and investment in green stocks at the third annual Climate Solutions Summit.  The Divestment part is here.

New Energy IPOs

by Debra Fiakas CFA IPO Wordcloud photo via BigStock Investors looking for a piece of the public offering action from the alternative energy industry have been sorely disappointed in recent months.  The last big initial public offering in the sector was SolarCity, Inc. (SCTY:  Nasdaq) in December 2012.  Then in April 2013, there was an initial public offering of the REIT Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (HASI:  Nasdaq).  Anyone looking for bragging rights to IPO shares will have to look to the...

Clean Tech Investing and the Democrats’ Victory

What are the implications of the Democrats' electoral victory for the clean tech industry? That probably won't become clear for a few more months. In the meantime, Red Herring, one of my favorite technology magazines, just published this short piece on the topic: "U.S. election a mixed bag for Cleantech". The early conclusion of industry insiders interviewed for the article is the same as ours - namely that the defeat of Proposition 87 won't be a signficant event in the long-run...and that the future looks overall bright. Happy reading!