Election Does Not Spell Cleantech Doom

With the recent “shellacking” (as President Obama referred to the election results) of the Democratically controlled Congress, much of the buzz in the cleantech space has been doom and gloom.  Is cleantech doomed to a new dark age?  I do not believe so. Energy policy is one area where there is an overlap of goals between the parties.  Members of both parties largely agree that energy is critical to our economic and national security.  And most Republicans do not dismiss out of hand the risks of global warming. I suspect that energy policy will be...

McKinsey Report Hits The G(reen) Spot

by Sean Kidney and the Climate Bonds Team Working on climate change involves reading a lot of reports. A lot. My general view nowadays is “Enough already! Can you we just do now and stop theorizing?” But sometimes you come across a report and you find yourself sitting up in your seat and shouting “Yes Yes Yes” like that scene with Meg Ryan in the movie When Harry met Sally. It usually means the report is saying what you’d like to say, but much better; and so it is with the McKinsey Center for Business and...

The Utility Death Spiral: Beyond The Rhetoric

by Lynne Kiesling Unless you follow the electricity industry you may not be aware of the past year’s discussion of the impending “utility death spiral”, ably summarized in this Clean Energy Group post: There have been several reports out recently predicting that solar + storage systems will soon reach cost parity with grid-purchased electricity, thus presenting the first serious challenge to the centralized utility model. Customers, the theory goes, will soon be able to cut the cord that has bound them to traditional utilities, opting instead to self-generate using cheap PV, with batteries to regulate the intermittent...

The Worst Waste

Jim Lane Peter Brown of FFA Fuels, promotes his company these days with the pithy slogan, “Fuels from the Worst Waste Around.” Which of course raises the legitimate question, what is the worst waste, and can we find a use for it? Discussions of worst waste will usually focus on the obvious say, landfill or the odious say, medical or nuclear waste. Toxicity and longevity are typical concerns, and that’s one of the reasons why nuclear energy remains controversial to this day. No Waste in Nature As LanzaTech’s Jennifer Holmgren observed in a recent article by...

Tariffs on Chinese Solar Are Bad for Us All

Garvin Jabusch Trade War photo via Bigstock The United States Department of Commerce Thursday, and of all things at the behest of a German-owned company, SolarWorld AG (SRWRF.PK), imposed extreme tariffs on China-made solar panels and modules of between 31% and 250%, making them much less affordable for U.S. consumers. Commerce took the additional extraordinary step of making the tariffs retroactive for 90 days to prevent U.S businesses and homeowners from getting a decent price on the basis that their local...

Our Energy Bubble

Tom Konrad CFA Our energy policy looks like a bubble.   Bubbles are a social phenomenon at least as much as they are a financial phenomenon.  At the top of bubbles, participants ignore glaringly obvious risks.  In October 2007, Meredith Whitney pointed out the almost glaringly obvious fact that Citigroup was paying out more in dividends than it was earning in profits (i.e. it was being run like the US government, but without a friendly Federal Reserve to bail it out by printing money.)  She said that Citigroup would need either to raise capital,...
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The Environment Is On The Ballot. Vote November 6th

AltEnergyStocks.com first endorsed a presidential candidate in 2008.  We endorsed Barack Obama based on his more pro-environmental, pro-alternative energy stance compared to his opponent, John McCain.  Choosing between John McCain and Barack Obama took some research, since both candidates struck a somewhat pro-environment tone.  Our choice rested on the fact that Obama seemed to have a deeper commitment to environmental causes.  Our 2012 endorsement of Obama over Romney was also based on a comparison of their proposed policies. Fast-forward to 2016, and the decision between the candidates was no longer one that required much analysis.  The choice could not have...

Occupy Wall Street and the Next Economy: Clamoring for Solutions

Garvin Jabusch The Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS), now in its fourth week, is getting a lot of media attention. Opinions are divided. By and large, conservatives represent the protesters as 'a mob' (a notable exception is former governor of Louisiana and current GOP presidential candidate Buddy Roemer, who said on MSNBC that "politicians need to listen to these young people, it could change America"). Meanwhile, progressives view them as a justifiable, if not inevitable, reaction to the social inequity that results from a system rigged in favor of the ultra-wealthy. In their foundation document, the ...

Obama’s New Energy and EPA Appointments

Jim Lane   Ernest J. Moniz is the nominee for US Secretary of Energy In Washington, President Barack Obama nominated MIT professor Ernest J. Moniz as US Secretary of Energy, replacing Steven Chu, and nominated Gina McCarthy as EPA Administrator. Moniz is currently serving as the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems, as well as the director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. He was formerly undersecretary of Energy and associate director of the White House office...
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Creating a Climate Resilient America: A Green Investment Adviser Testifies To Congress

The prepared remarks of Garvin Jabusch, Chief Investment Officer of Green Alpha Advisors before the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in Washington, DC, July 25th, 2019. Chairwoman Castor, Ranking Member Graves, committee members, thank you for the opportunity to testify and contribute to this important conversation. Climate disruption and resource degradation present significant threats to and opportunities for American business. Every sector and industry are affected, and my industry of asset management, in its role deploying capital across the economy, is directly exposed to it all, risks and opportunities inclusive. First, risks. The purpose of investing is to preserve and...

Obama’s Climate Plan

James Montgomery Yesterday President Obama spoke at Georgetown University about his plans to broadly address climate change. Ahead of his actual talk, the White House released the gist of what he would propose. The EPA, working with states, industry, and other stakeholders, will establish new carbon pollution standards. "Tough new rules" will be established similar to those that exist for toxins like mercury and arsenic. These new rules, as anticipated, will target existing power plants as well as new ones. The federal government will make available up to $8 billion in loan guarantees for "advanced...

From Paris to Drawdown

by John Fullerton Yes, it was a shameful poke in the world’s eye by the dangerously narcissistic, temporary occupant of the White House. Like other unconscionable and unfathomable acts of the early 21st centurya period of historic great change alreadyTrump’s pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement has sent me searching for the deeper meaning of it all, while the pundits flail away.   The attack on the World Trade Center, an iconic symbol of globalization if there ever was one, triggered for me a period of introspection and a personal existential crisis as it opened up...
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Another Biodiesel Plant Gets The Axe. Here’s Why.

by Jim Lane In another small but sharp blow to the Trump Administration’s strategy for American manufacturing revival, news arrives from Texas of a second smaller biodiesel shuttering owing to “ challenging business conditions and continued federal policy uncertainty,” as Renewable Energy Group (REGI) phrased it in announcing the closure of its15 million gallons per year New Boston, Texas biorefinery.  The company is currently working with plant employees on relocation opportunities within the production network. The tax credit issue The forces impacting the US biodiesel industry at present are complex, but REG in this case is pointing the blame at the biodiesel tax...

A 10-Minute Guide to Obama’s New Energy Policy

Jim Lane   Stopwatch photo via BigStock A major push from Obama on energy. From DOE: “Liquid fuels demand can be sufficiently reduced so that biomass can meet all liquid fuel needs.” What’s up? What is an Energy Security Trust, anyway? The Digest’s 10-Minute Guide tells all. In an address at the Argonne National Laboratories on Friday, President Obama said: “You see, after years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future.  We produce more oil than we have in 15 years. ...

Why America Must Focus On Domestic Energy Solutions Instead of Imports

John Petersen On September 17th, the White House released a report titled, 100 Recovery Act Projects That Are Changing America. Since the report included eight companies that were awarded a total of $1.1 billion in ARRA battery manufacturing and vehicle electrification grants in August 2009, I created the following table to summarize the first tier job creation impact. As I pondered over the relatively high cost per first tier manufacturing job, I decided it might be better to look at the overall value chain including second tier job creation impacts (new jobs in companies that...

Trump Administration Flip-Flops On Oil Refinery Waivers Again, Farm Groups Protest Again

by Jim Lane In Washington, what must have become a weary if vigilant posse of the nation’s biofuel and farm advocates are out on the hustings again this week, over a fresh attack on the US Renewable Fuel Standard, this one led by officials in the Trump Administration, if a story reported by Bloomberg stands up against scrutiny. What has been described as a “misinformation campaign spearheaded by Senator Ted Cruz” is seeking to overturn a unanimous court decision that would halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s abuse of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard.   The backstory In a unanimous panel, the...