Green Jobs: Debunking the Debunkers

Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Energy markets are neither free nor efficient, so traditional economic arguments against regulation and other government interventions do not apply.  In response to my recent article digging into green jobs, a reader sent me a copy of a March paper by Andrew Morriss et al at University of Illinois that attempts to debunk green jobs myths.  While I see major flaws in most green jobs papers I read, many of the myths cited by this paper are irrelevant to what I consider the most important questions: Can government intervention to clean up the energy...

White House Reveals Its Own Fake News

Almost Everyone Believed It by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Press Secretary Sean Spicer reveals the joke. This morning, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer began an epic five-hour press conference with a one-word statement from President Donald Trump:  "Bazinga!" Spicer then launched into a detailed explanation of how the President (with help from many Republicans and conservative think-and-humor-tanks) had convinced the nation and the world how he did not believe in climate change.  In fact, efforts to roll back EPA regulations like the Clean Power...

A Cleantech VC Who is Unconvinced of Man-Made Climate Change

David Gold Go ahead call me a hypocrite.  I claim to be a cleantech venture capitalist yet I tell you here and now that I am not convinced of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change (aka global warming).  And I will audaciously tell you that my convictions on climate change in no way run contrary to my strong belief in the need for a cleantech revolution Many supporters of clean technologies make it seem as though anthropogenic climate change is an absolute fact.  To some of them anthropogenic climate change is almost like a religion where any debate...

Clean Energy Finance Experts United Against Trump

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA This website, AltEnergyStocks.com, endorsed Barack Obama for President in 2008 and 2012.  In those two elections, we based our endorsements on a point-by-point analysis each candidates' energy policies, favoring the candidate who expressed the strongest support for policies to transition our economy away from its dependence on fossil fuels. This year, the comparison is so stark a point-by-point comparison hardly seems worth the exercise. Here are a few quotes from the candidates' websites that drive the difference home: On Climate Change Trump: "I think it's ridiculous, we've...

Net Metering Is the Solar Industry’s Junk Food

Shoppers who bring reusable bags to the grocery store buy more junk food. This example is part of a growing body of behavioral psychology research showing that when we feel good about ourselves for doing one thing right, we give ourselves permission to be careless in other areas. The solar installation industry seems to be falling into the "reusable shopping bag" trap. Solar itself is the reusable shopping bag. The junk food is net metering. Net metering is a simple, intuitive way to pay for solar generation at retail rates. But it puts solar companies on...
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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...

The EPA’s Carbon Rule: Likely Stockmarket Winners

By Harris Roen Greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector   A seismic shift in the power generation landscape is starting to sink in. It has been two weeks since the EPA announced its new proposed carbon rules, one of the flagship efforts of the Obama Administration to address climate change. This shift is meant to move the country in the direction of inevitable changes coming to the energy economy. It is important for investors to know which companies and sectors stand to benefit from the...

Windpower: Focusing the Criticism Away from NIMBYism and Aesthetics

Michael Giberson Market-oriented policy analysts have not been shy about cataloguing the problems surrounding windpower development. But in the enthusiasm to oppose the government interventions accompanying wind generation, market-based analysts sometimes have strayed beyond principled defense of markets and unwittingly offered support to anti-market NIMBYism and other meddlesome sentiments. Policy analysts examining wind power issues should consider more carefully which issues ought to be pursued through the policy process. Two Images Wind power has two images. In one view, wind power is glamorous, hi-tech, future oriented and almost sexy. Advertisements for products from automobiles to...

US Crawls Closer to Energy Policy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week President Obama signed into law the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015.  The law is intended to reduce energy requirements in commercial buildings, manufacturing facilities and residential structures.  The law improves building codes, provides assistance to manufactures to achieve energy efficiency and paves the way for conservation activities by federal agencies.  It is the closest thing the United States has to an energy policy…..so far. It took years to get this small piece of energy policy through Congress.  Indeed, at one point in its convoluted travels through the House of...

The Farm Bill: 5-Minute Guide to the Energy Title

  Jim Lane Only 5 min BigStock Photo What’s in that Durn-tootin’ US Farm Bill, anyhow? For the harried taxpayer, some relief. For energy security and rural economic development, targeted investments that now head to the legislative floor. Here are the need-to-knows. In Washington, the House and Senate Agricultural committees have now passed their respective versions of the proposed 2013 farm bill, which would take effect for fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2018. Both bills have energy titles meaning that, should they find passage, as expected this summer,...

The Ontario Feed-in Tariff For Alternative Energy

Last month, I wrote about how Ontario, North America's 6th largest jurisdiction by population, had tabled a Green Energy Act to boost the alternative energy industry's growth in the province. In that post, I mentioned that officials would soon release the rules for a feed-in tariff (FIT) system. FITs, which pay fixed rates for renewable power, are all but absent in North America, although they are popular incentive in Europe. Germany's FIT is largely responsible for that country's dominance in solar PV today despite mediocre sun conditions.  Ontario released the draft rules and proposed prices for...

Chinese Green Subsidies: When Lifting All Boats Becomes Bailing Them Out

Doug Young Bottom line: Strong response to Tesla’s latest EV in China and a major new solar plant plan from SolarReserve reflect Beijing’s strong promotion of new energy, which is also creating big waste by attracting unqualified companies to the sector. A series of new reports is showing how Beijing’s strong support for new energy technologies is benefiting both domestic and foreign companies, as China tries to become a global leader in this emerging area. But the reports also spotlight the dangers that come with such aggressive support, which often leads to abuse of subsidies and other...

The Republican-Proposed Carbon Tax

by Noah Kaufman A group of prominent conservative Republicansincluding former Secretary of State James Baker III, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Walmart Chairman Rob Waltonmet with key members of the Trump administration on Wednesday about their proposal to tax carbon dioxide emissions and return the proceeds to the American people. Such an economy-wide tax on carbon dioxide could enable the United States to achieve its international emissions targets with better economic outcomes than under a purely regulatory approach. Attributes of the Republican Carbon Tax Proposal While the details on the...

How New England Can Eliminate Oil Use For Single Family Homes for Less Than...

Chris Williams We can use simple, effective, and proven policies that have been used to supercharge the New England solar PV industry to incentivize renewable thermal technologies and eliminate oil use for single family homes. Here's the best part, the policies will be cheaper than solar PV, they will create more local jobs per kW installed and displace more expensive fuel.  At Renewable Energy Vermont 2012, I delivered a presentation on how a production-based incentive for renewable thermal technologies, like the $29/MWh incentive in New Hampshire, would be cheaper than the current solar PV incentive in Vermont and...

Right About Tesla, Wrong About Yingli

Doug Young  Bottom line: Beijing should promote cutting-edge companies like Tesla that can help advance its new energy agenda, while abandoning ones like Yingli that use old technology to make cheap copycat products. Two green energy stories were in the headlines last week, spotlighting China’s drive to become a global leader in the new technology and also the right and wrong ways to achieve that aim. An item involving US electric vehicle (EV) powerhouse Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) represented the right approach, with reports that the company might near a deal with Beijing to build a manufacturing plant in China....

Cap and Trade: Right Debate, Wrong Solution

David Gold          As we have seen in just the past few years, fossil fuel prices can vary dramatically over very short periods of time.  Creating greater certainty regarding steady increases in fossil fuel prices over the coming decade would have an enormous impact on private sector investments in both alternative energy and energy efficiency.  Cap and trade is the right debate to be having because it focuses the discussion on how to change the fundamental economics of fossil-based energy.  But ultimately cap and trade is the wrong solution; superior means exist to achieve the results...