De-Carbonizing Electricity – Will King Coal Finally Be Dethroned?

Charles Morand Last Friday, the WSJ's Environmental Capital blog noted how, according to HSBC, growing government efforts to de-carbonize the electricity supply across the developed world would hurt makers of power generation technology with high exposure to coal. Yesterday, the EIA released its Electric Power Monthly report for April 2009. In it, the agency notes the following: The drop in coal-fired generation was the largest absolute fuel-specific decline from April 2008 to April 2009 as it fell by 20,551 thousand megawatthours, or 13.9 percent  The April decline was the third consecutive month of historically large drops...

Oil’s Sesquicentennial; the Dream Becomes Nightmare

John Petersen On August 27th, we'll celebrate the 150th anniversary of Colonel Edwin Drake's completion of the world's first successful oil well near Titusville, Pennsylvania. That discovery and the many that followed planted the seeds of an industrial, economic and cultural revolution that transformed America from an agrarian backwater into a global superpower. For the next 114 years, oil was cheap, plentiful and the solid bedrock of the American Dream. Since the early '70s, however, the dream has gradually become a nightmare as domestic and global oil production began an irreversible decline. My first graph comes...

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...

Life After Coal: It’s Sooner Than You Think

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D.   A couple years ago, I began to see reports that coal supplies might not last the 200+ years we've all been lead to believe, so I wrote an article about what you could do to prepare your portfolio for Peak Coal. Now two years have passed, and Peak Coal is undeniably 2 years closer.  (Did you ever wonder why people who have been saying that we have 200 years of coal for 20 years aren't now talking about 180 years of coal?)  But more than being 2 years closer, the evidence continues to mount.  Caltech...

Dipping a Toe in the Black Stuff

I was tempted by greed, and I succumbed. Last week, I bought the iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return Index ETN (OIL), at $19.75 a share.   The Temptation I made the trade as a simple speculation.  I watch oil because the oil price is one of the key drivers of investor interest in alternative energy, although oil is only a true competitor for biofuel companies, not producers of wind turbines (at least until there are a significant number of plug-in electric vehicles.) With crude trading below $40/barrel, oil producers are cutting back on new drilling.  This is...

Oil Prices & Alternative Energy Stocks

The recent slump in the price of energy commodities that has accompanied slumps in the rest of the market has reignited an old debate: to what extent is the performance of alt energy companies (and their stock prices) linked to fossil energy prices? People who argue that the two are closely connected implicitly believe that policy-makers and other important economic actors view alt energy mainly as a hedge against high energy prices, and therefore believe that a drop in fossil energy costs will result in a fall from grace for alt energy (there is evidence that at least...

Peak Oil & Energy Efficiency In The News

A couple of interesting items in the news yesterday on topics dear to alt energy investors' hearts. Firstly, a new report (PDF document) by CIBC World Markets arguing that globalization could be reversed by high oil prices. The folks at CIBC WM contend that growing shipping costs driven by higher prices for transportation fuels could erase the Asian labor cost advantage, driving a renaissance in North America's manufacturing sector. What's the main culprit? Peak Oil, albeit not called directly Peak Oil. I watched an interview with Jeff Rubin, CIBC WM's Chief Economist, on Bloomberg's In Focus yesterday, and...

Jim Rogers: What Peak Oil Will Do for Cotton

The most recent issue of Fortune has an excellent interview with Jim Rogers, of Investment Biker and Adventure Capitalist fame, as well as an excerpt from is new book, A Bull in China.  Jim saw the start of the current commodities supercycle early (peak oil is just one driving force for this cycle), but it still has a long way to run, in my opinion, as well as Jim's.   Almost everything has some dependence on energy prices, because of either the embodied energy, or because if the embodied energy of substitutes.   As Jim says in the interview, ...

The Peak Coal Portfolio

Last week, we alerted you to a report from Germany's Energy Watch Group called “Coal: Resources and Future Production,��? which predicts peak coal by 2025.  Readers of AltEnergyStocks are doubtless familiar with peak oil, the inevitable fact that as we consume a finite resource (oil reserves) at some point the rate of that consumption must peak, and taper off.  Serious arguments about peak oil center around "when" oil production (and consumption) will peak, not "if."   The same it true for other finite natural resources, such as natural gas, uranium, and even coal.  The difference with coal is the received...