The Week In Cleantech (Aug. 24 to Aug. 30) – And The Tax Credit...

On Sunday, Technology Review showed us the first tidal power generator. Harnessing the ocean's power is the next frontier in utility-scale alternative power generation, but this has so far proven difficult given all that the sea can throw at what humans try to put in it. This installation produces power at a hefty 0.30 to 0.40/kWh, but scale can bring this down to 0.20/kWh. Cut that in half again and now you're talking. On Monday, Clean Edge told us that Schott was planning a partial spin-off of its PV unit through an IPO. Given the headwinds the Eurozone...

The Week In Cleantech (Aug. 17 to Aug. 23) – Do We Need An...

The Economist is currently running an interesting poll on whether we can solve our energy problems with existing technologies or whether we will need breakthrough innovations. Add your vote! On Sunday, Domenick Yoney at AutoBlog Green told us that electric bike sales were soaring world-wide. I'm not sure what's a good play on this, but an interesting trend to note nonetheless. On Monday, Matthew McDermott at TreeHugger told us about another biofuel feedstock we may not have considered. Earlier this summer, David Pauly at Bloomberg was telling us about yet another such potential feedstock, which apparently is...

The Week In Cleantech (Aug. 10 to Aug. 16) – Big Solar Getting Ready...

On Sunday, Tom Philpott at Peak Energy told us about The End of Food. The book, that is. While food is neither alt energy not cleantech, it is a key environmental theme in my view and will grow in importance as the effects of climate change are felt across the globe. On Monday, David McClellan at Solve Climate argued that the costs of nuclear energy were rising out of reach. A good attempt at coming up with a comparison of wind and nuclear prices, and interesting in the context of my earlier article on power plant costs. ...

The Week In Cleantech (Jul 27 to Aug 2) – The Era Of Economical...

On Monday, Michael Graham Richard at TreeHugger told us that Toyota was boosting production of the Prius by 70% next year. This follows on the footsteps of Ford announcing plans to nix production of trucks in North America and retool factories to make smaller cars typically sold in Europe. The thing to note about such commitments is that they have to be anchored in pretty credible forecasts. It's one thing for pundits on CNBC to tell you where they think the price of oil is going based on a 20-day moving average. It's quite another for a global business...

The Week In Cleantech (Jul 20 to Jul 26) – Will The US Solar...

On Sunday, Edgar A. Gunther at Gunther Portfolio provided some silicon updates from Intesolar North America 2008. Solar investors never get enough silicon updates, so here's another one! On Monday, Stacy Feldman at Solve Climate told us that China was now making increasingly more wind power parts. Actually, she is reporting on an article that was written last week and that I missed because I took a break from the Week In Cleantech last weekend. With regards to Chinese companies active in wind, we already list some in our Cleantech Stocks section, and will be sure to keep...

The Week In Cleantech (Jul 6 to Jul 12) – GE A Real Play...

On Monday, GreenBiz informed us that new cars in California would have to display a global warming score. This is interesting, and it would be good to see data on whether it actually impacts consumer behavior. On Tuesday, David Ehrlich at the Cleantech Group reported that cleantech investments had hit a record high. Interesting results, though I suspect that if problems in capital markets persist and VCs can't find acceptable exits things could change. On Wednesday, Katie Fehrenbacher at earth2tech outlined ten things we should know about nat gas vehicles. An ambitious proposal by Pickens, but I...

The Week In Cleantech (Jun 22 to Jun 28) – More Oil Sands, Please…

On Sunday, Ed Pilkington at The Guardian informed us that a leading climate scientist was going to push for oil company leaders to be tried. I'm not sure one will ever be able to draw exact parallels between fossil energy and cigarettes, seeing as the latter had no bearing on industrialization and economic growth. Nevertheless, alt energy investors would benefit greatly if fossil fuels were given the same treatment as cigarettes by local policy-makers. Are potential bans on drive-thrus a sign that such times are upon us? On Monday, Martin LaMonica at CNET News told us that...

The Week In Cleantech (Jun 15 to Jun 21) – Incentive Instability Rears Its...

On Sunday, Andrew Williams at Red, Green and Blue told us about one senator's attacks on the solar industry. Surprising for someone from a state with such a vast solar potential, but in line my claim that politics remains one of the biggest risks facing the sector. On Monday, Lou Schwartz & Ryan Hodum at Renewable Energy World informed us that China's wind power industry was blowing past expectations. An interesting discussion of the hot wind regions within China. On Tuesday, Neal at Cleantech Blog told us all about SpectraWatt, Intel's new solar play. Just when you...

The Week In Cleantech (June 8 – June 14) – Are Large Industrials Going...

On Tuesday, Eize de Vries at Renewable Energy World described the challenges of growth for us. A very detailed article on where the main tension points are in the global wind value chain. On Tuesday, Tate Dwinnell at Self Investors told us that wind ETFs were coming. At last North American can play wind directly. On Wednesday, Energy Tech Stocks informed us that a new FERC forecast indicates U.S. demand response firms should do well this summer. An interesting piece of insight from FERC, and noteworthy that demand response is increasingly seen as an effective peak...

The Week In Cleantech (May 24 – May 31) – Who Is Going To...

On Wednesday, Cramer at TheStreet.com inherited some wind stocks for us. The article begins by claiming that Cramer is a "longtime bull of the wind power business." I'm not sure what 'long-term' means for Cramer, but in January 2007 the extent of his knowledge on Energy Conversion Devices (NASDAQ:ENER), which is not a wind play but is nonetheless a good proxy for understanding of the alt energy sector overall, was that since oil prices were expected to trend down the stock was a "sell! sell! sell!", presumably because there was nothing more to this company than oil prices...oups...But I...

The Week In Cleantech (May 18 – May 24) – Is AMSC A Dog?

On Monday, Richard T. Stuebi at Cleantech Blog discussed the war for talent in cleatech. An interesting look into personnel recruitment issues in the cleantech/alt energy sectors, and perhaps a sign that the industry is maturing. My own experience in MBA school is that cleantech remains an industry that very few students seriously consider as a career option, even though there is a multitude of ways one can leverage an interest in this industry professionally. Hopefully this will change. On Tuesday, Tyler Hamilton at Clean Break argued that smart grid represents a new boom opportunity for IT. An...

The Week In Cleantech (May 11 – May 17) – Coal’s Clout

On Monday, Chris Baltimore at Reuters discussed how Democratic candidates were playing up "clean coal". It's always interesting to read about politicians courting different audiences. In this case, out of convenience, both candidates are avoiding substantive debate on energy policy, during which it would certainly emerge that clean coal is more dream than reality. On Monday, Julian Murdoch at Hard Assets Investor told us that it was in the wind. An interesting piece on one of my favorite sectors, wind, with a discussion of a few good plays. Speaking of wind, T Boone Pickens was responsible for the...

The Week In Cleantech (May 3 – May 10) – Big News For Energy...

On Sunday, Jim Fraser at Energy Blog reported a claim by Sungri that it can produce 5-7 cents per kWh CSP. This is quite the claim, and if true, would represent nothing short of big bang for the solar space. Nevertheless, I remain wholly unconvinced. On Sunday, John Laumer at TreeHugger told us that Waste Management was going to fuel Altamont (CA) area trucks with landfill-harvested liquid natural gas. Landfill gas (LFG) can be used for both power generation and for liquid fuel production. I did a bit of research into this a few months ago and, with...

The Week In Cleantech (Apr. 27 – May 3) – Competition In Thin-film About...

On Tuesday, Jennifer Kho at Greentech Media informed us that LDK's CEO was starting up a thin-film solar firm. Given thin-film's potential and the stock market successes of one thin-film maker in particular, the emergence of competition doesn't come as much of a surprise. And who else to do better than an already-successful solar entrepreneur. On Wednesday, Craig Rubens at earth2tech featured an interview where the CEO of PG&E painted the future of utilities for us. An interesting interview on the potential and challenges of plug-in hybrids and net metering. On Wednesday, Scott Krisner at Innovation Economy...

The Week In Cleantech (Apr. 20 – Apr. 26) – Are Alt Energy Stocks...

On Monday, Michael Kanellos at CNET's Green Tech Blog told us that cellulosic ethanol was to surpass corn...in 14 years. Turns out he got that info from one of the leaders in making enzymes to break down cellulose. So if it takes about 14 years for cellulosic ethanol to scale up production levels to about 15 billion gallons annually, or roughly 10% of current liquid fuel consumption in the US, could there be a risk that cellulosic misses the boat altogether? Most of the estimates thrown out there for the cost of cellulosic to be competitive with corn are...

The Week In Cleantech (Apr. 13 – Apr. 19) – Buffett Encore

This week, IMF officials voiced strong concerns over current biofuels policies in the US and Europe. On Friday, the head of the IMF claimed that biofuels posed nothing short of a moral problem for the West, and that he would support a moratorium on biofuels made from foodstuffs. Also on Friday, the IMF's Chief Economist called biofuels "a new form of protectionism" that is "now front and center in global geopolitics." For anyone who's been reading the news over the past month, you can't help but agree with this assessment. With food prices now rising in real terms for...