Archive for August, 2007

How to Sell Energy Efficiency

In my Alt Energy Stocks column this week, I take a look at what business needs to do to sell energy efficiency to the consumer. I look at the examples of the Prius’s sucess, despite only marginally imporved economics over non-hybrid vehicles, the CFL’s slow path to acceptance, and difficulties in selling geothermal heat pumps. I conclude that the economics of an energy efficiency measure have very little to do about how well it sells. To find out what does, you can read more here.

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CFA Level II Exam results: Two down, one to go

I passed the June 2007 Level II Chartered Financial Analyst Exam. As I said after I took it, this does not come as a surprise, but it’s nice not to have to wait any longer to find out. (it’s been 2 1/2 months since the exam… they like to take their time. )

So far, that makes me 2 for 2.

Pass rates for June 2007 were in line or slightly lower than recent years, although pass the pass rate for level 3 was at an all-time low.
40% for Level I
40% for Level II
50% for Level III

Links:
CFA Institure press release on pass rates
Pass rates since 1963 [pdf]

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Why the future of Big Biodiesel my not be so Bright

I’ve been out of town a couple days, but the article I left to be published on AltEnergyStocks while I was gone is causing some controversy… I look at
what might happen to the biodiesel industry if Big Oil starts to use animal fats and oils in their refineries. At least one reader didn’t like what I saw.  You may not like it, either, but you can read it here.

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CSP for Dictators

When I heard
France had offered to provide a nuclear reactor
to power a desalinization
plant in Libya, it knocked me for a loop.  I do believe in carrots to show
countries that we don’t always get along with that there is some reason to be on
our good side, but I fail to see any circumstances under which adding one more
batch of radioactive material (even if not bomb-making grade) in a troubled
region of the world is going to aid our long term security.

If we want to help Gaddafi (or
perhaps pay him off for returning hostages
,) wouldn’t it make more sense to
give him something just a little less dangerous?  Concentrating Solar Power
(CSP) is ideally suited for Libya’s hat and dry climate, and it works well for
desalinization… why not use this opportunity to advance CSP technology, and
not have to worry about proliferation to boot?

That’s the question I ask in my most recent Alternative
Energy Stocks
article.  And while I’m at it, I ask similar questions
about our relations with Iran and North Korea. 

Click
here to read the entire article.

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Two Utility Scale Electricity Storage Stocks

While many investors are excited about the potential of wind, solar power and ethanol, I am more interested in those technologies that will make it all possible. One of the oft-cited problems with wind and solar power is that they are not usually produced both when and where they are needed. Last year, I wrote an overview of large scale electricity storage technologies. Today, I take a look at two stocks that are well postioned to profit from these technologies.

You can read about VRB Power and NGK Insulators here.

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Economics of Carbon Capture and Storage

Both Carbon capture and storage (CCS) and Enhanced Geothermal Systems need research and development to reach their full pormise of baseload power without significant emissions. What will be the costs of this research, and what will be the costs of the eventual elctricity production?

I take a look at these questions in my AltEnergyStocks column. Given limited funding, what would you choose?

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