The Ontario Green Energy Act: What Can Alt Energy Legislations Do For Investors

Dedicated legislations have been at the core of some of the most impressive regional growth stories in alternative energy, most notably in Germany with the Renewable Energy Sources Act or in California with the various legislative solar initiatives. On Monday, the Canadian province of Ontario became the latest jurisdiction to join the fray as lawmakers introduced the Green Energy and Green Economy Act. Why should investors care? Because such legislations have been at the core of some of the most impressive regional growth stories in alternative energy.  As a bit of a backgrounder on Ontario, there...

Congress Approves Billions in Energy Storage Incentives

On Friday, the House of Representatives and Senate passed H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and sent the bill to President Obama for his signature. The impact on companies that manufacture advanced batteries and other energy storage devices will be staggering. The principal energy storage appropriations include: $2,000,000,000 for grants to manufacturers of advanced battery systems and vehicle batteries that are produced in the United States, including advanced lithium ion batteries, hybrid electrical systems, component manufacturers, and software designers;  $4,500,000,000 for grants for “Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability” including activities to modernize the electric...

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...

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...

AltEnergyStocks.com’s Ten Best Competitors

When I began writing about clean energy investing in 2006, my competition was sparse.  The quality blogs with industry heavyweights were either not focused on investing, or were primarily focused on venture capital.  Now the world has changed.  I keep finding new blogs and writers with a strong focus on both clean energy and public companies.  Here are a few I'd like to share with readers: Dedicated Blogs Energy Tech Stocks - Three articles a day can be a little daunting, but that's what happens when you try to cover everything. Camino Energy - Their PurePlay indices are a...

A Few Dividend Paying Alt Energy Stocks

As I've discussed previously, things haven't been easy of late for alt energy stocks, especially those of the pure-play kind. A few days ago, I was asked which, if any, alt energy stocks I could recommend in this environment. My answer was: none. While people continue to go on television claiming that alt energy's problem has to do with falling oil prices, in my view the real risk at the moment has do with financing - financing for the companies producing the technologies and financing for their customers. The two business models are simultaneously under attack: for...

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

T. Boone Pickens on Larry King Live Thursday

In the past 24 hours, there have been a flurry of opinions coming out on what a commanding Obama victory would mean for people's portfolios. Alt energy investors certainly have reasons to be cautiously optimistic. T Boone Pickens, the famous Texas oilman turned clean energy cheerleader, and his Pickens Plan, are likely to have some influence on where President-elect Obama goes with his energy plan and alt energy policies. Pickens has been campaigning for his plan nearly as hard as the candidates have been campaigning for the White House, and his recent rapprochement with the Democratic Party...

Keynes Meets Carson, And How You Can Invest It (Part 1)

I'm not sure whether John Maynard Keynes, the father of Keynesian economics and an ardent proponent of government interventionism during hard economic times, and Rachel Carson, the mother of modern environmentalism and the author whose work is credited for the eventual creation of the EPA, ever met during their lifetimes. But if current voter sentiment holds until November 4, their ideas could soon converge and form the basis of government policy for at least the next four years. Let me explain. First, John Maynard Keynes. There is no doubt that the deliberate and coordinated nationalization of financial services...

Cleantech Venture Capitalists Beware – What You Don’t Know About Energy Can Kill You

Oil prices quietly (at least in the cleantech world), slipped below $80 last week, off some 50% from their highs a few months ago. Did I say 50%? Yes 50%. And gas has slipped, too, as with some variations, natural gas historically trades at a roughly 10:1 price ratio of Barrels to MCF. It's easy to get caught up in the cleantech hype and forget that only 10 years ago this year oil prices fell two thirds, caught between rising supply from a decade of drilling and nasty Asian flu, triggered in part by, wait, a financial debt...

The Bailout Package & Renewable Energy

As most of you will probably know by now, the US Senate voted tonight to pass the $700 billion bailout package for the financial sector. As part of the this new version of the bill full of so-called "sweeteners", or measures meant entice certain individuals to vote in favor, lawmakers included a one-year extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind and an eight-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit for solar. Now the House must still vote on Friday, so this isn't a done deal just yet. However, although it probably won't get much attention in the...

Why Clean Energy Investors Need to Care About Politics

Tom Konrad I believe that investments in clean energy should outperform the market as a whole for two reasons.  First, the inability of fossil fuel supplies to keep up with demand will raise prices and improve the environment for alternatives.  Second, growing awareness of the seriousness of Climate Change will lead to increased regulation of greenhouse gas pollution, which should benefit clean energy relative to conventional energy. While I am certain that at some point reality will galvanize public opinion and political action on climate change, the sooner the politicians take action, the better for the planet, and the...

Power Plant Costs & The Case For Energy Efficiency

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a presentation that was given by FERC officials on the phenomenon of rapidly rising costs in US power generation (presentation link at the end of this post). The FERC, or Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is America's energy watchdog. The presentation begins by noting that across America's major electricity hubs, power prices are up significantly on last year (between 62% in the Midwest and 123% in NYC) and that, unfortunately, this probably isn't an anomaly. In fact, the presentation argues, there may be something secular at play. Two main trends are noted....

Getting in on Early-Stage Companies

Question from a Reader: (links mine, in case you have not read the articles I think he's referring to) Hi, I'm a very small time investor and I have a strong longterm belief in the alt energy sector. I have one gripe with the sector, though - the fact that it's hard to get in all the way at the bottom, ie: from the birth of companies. I have a feeling that much more growth will happen at that level, and investing in something like ICLN gets me into mature companies that have much less growth potential.  ...

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...

Alternative Energy & Conventional Energy: Is An Image Worth A Thousand Words?

It wasn't long ago that people still believed the price of energy commodities - and crude oil in particular - had a greater impact on alt energy stocks than did general movements in equity markets or even fundamental factors. The logic went something like this: even though oil and most of the sub-sectors that make up the broad alt energy space (e.g. solar) are not in direct competition with one-another, expensive oil is the number one driver behind governments searching for alternatives to the way we currently meet our energy needs. For a time, this theory may have...