Archive for AES

Q3 Portfolio Updates

Both my Quick Clean energy Tracking Portfolio and my Ten Green Energy Picks for 2009 have shown strong out performance through Q3.

For a while, I thought I was on to something with the tracking portfolio (like mutual fund managers were smart, or something), but it turned out that they just put higher risk stocks in their top 5 holdings.

I’ll claim some skill for the 10 pick though. I recently published updates fro two of them: The Algonquin Power Income Fund, and New Flyer Industries.

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Investing in Biomass

I’ve recently said that the best way to invest in both Advanced Biofuels and Cellulosic Ethanol, and Biochar (aka terra preta) is to invest in Biomass. Here is one way to go about it: buying Forestry ETFs or Stocks.

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The Algonquin Power Income Fund

I recommended the Algonquin Power Income Fund as a renewable energy income investment back in January, and as part of my ten clean energy picks for 2009.

Since then, both the stock and the ten picks have been doing well in comparison to the market, but Algonquin has entered into a couple deals, while I look into in a recent update on the Algonquin Power Income Fund.

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Clean Energy Portfolio: Great Performance so Far & Ready for a Gamble

My Ten Clean Energy Picks for 2009 continue to blow the indexes away, although the ten gambles for 2009 have only kept pace.

Part of the reason the gambles have not kept up is the big drop in the price of Raser Technologies (RZ). Raser has fallen so for I now think it’s a bargain, not a gamble, and I increased my stake 3-fold.

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Green Jobs Demystified

I read a lot of Green Jobs reports over the last couple of months, and the research culminated in three articles. One is for the next issue of Smart Energy Living, and will be published in the Fall ’09 issue, but the other two are available now.

In the first, I look at the differences in the potential clean energy sectors to create jobs (they’re all a lot better than fossil fuels), while in the second I analyze the arguments against a green stimulus.

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Market Predictions

Predicting market moves is notoriouslly difficult, but I’m feeling pretty good about my recent efforts.
On October 11, 2008, I stoped being a permabear and said, “the market as a whole now seems to me to be fairly valued.” The S&P 500 closed the previous Friday just below 900; today it closed at 919.32. In the fear that abounded last October, it was a hard call to be even that bullish, bit it seems to have worked out.

On June 2, I said we were near a market peak/ The S&P 500 closed that day at 944.74, and is currently down 3% almost a month later, having only bearly exceeded that number by a fraction of a percent.

Since I’m currently short-term bearish, I’ve started a series of articles not to by now, but to buy when a market decline puts them back on sale. Here are may clean enrgy shopping list articles so far:

  • Transmission stocks
  • Energy Efficiency Stocks
  • Clean Transport Stocks
  • Why market timing makes sense
  • Two Landfill Gas and Three Geothermal Stocks
  • Five Solar Stocks
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    Renewable Energy and Grid Integration Strategies Compared

    Here is a comparison of the costs of various renewable electricity generation technologies, based on a California transmission study.

    Similarly, I also recently wrote two articles comparing the costs of various grid integration strategies: Electricity Storage such as Batteries, Thermal Storage, Compressed Air, and Pumped Hydropower, as well as Demand Response, Smart Grid, and Transmission. Both have some charts allowing visual comparison of the technologies.

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    Solar Stocks

    In May, I went to Solar 2009.

    One panel I attended led to a series of articles on Solar stocks:

  • The outlook for solar stocks
  • Why First Solar (FSLR) is a risky bet.
  • Why Solar Millenium may have what it takes.
  • I also particpated, with presentations on the best incentives for solar investments, and with an analysis of large scale electricity storage, as well as alternative renewable electricity integration strategies.

    Charles also attended, and took a look at the implications of the removal of the $2000 cap on the residential Investment Tax Credit.

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    Portfolio Performance Updates 2009

    My Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2009 has been beating the market and the clean energy sector handily, although the riskier Ten Clean Energy Gambles for 2009 has only been performing in-line with the sector
    John Peterson’s cautious approach to the energy storage sector ("Cheap before Cool") has also been performing well.

    In tough economic times, it goes to show that playing it conservative pays off, even when the clean energy sector is getting a political boost.

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    Concentrating Solar Power: An In-Depth Look

    I recently interviewed several industry participants and research scientists about Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and associated thermal storage. 
    Several articles came out of these interviews:

    Why Concentrating Solar Power Should not Try to be Coal

    The Solar Projects that Won’t be Built

    What the Future of Concentrated Solar Power Might Look Like (This one made the folks at Ausra uncomfortable, and so they asked to respond.)

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    Renewable Energy Funds

    I’ve posted an updated and more in-depth look at clean energy and renewable energy mutual funds. Also of interest may be an article on how actively managed clean and renewable energy funds compare to the passively manged/index variety.

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    Renewable Energy (and other) ETFs

    I’ve published an updated run-down of Clean Energy Exchange Traded Funds, as well as a look at those clean energy ETFs which have Exchange Traded options on them (and why you might care.)

    On the subject of ETFs, I was shocked when I took a closer look at Doubleshort and Ultra ETFs, and this led me to do a couple reshuffles of ETFs in my portfolio.

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    Five Top 10 Lists for 2009

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    Investing in Obama’s Stimulus Plan

    Since Obama’s election, my partent Charles and I have been looking at what Obama’s refreshing attitude towards Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, combined with the credit crunch, will do for some of our favorite stocks… here are the highlights:

    Companies that may benefit from a solar glut

    How Oil prices affect Alternative Energy Stocks

    Emissions trading stocks under Obama

    What might happen to Solar Photovoltaic companies if consumers pull back

    Charles and I expect divened paying companies to come back into vogue. He has a few dividend paying alternative energy companies and I have a couple dividend paying energy efficiency companies to consider.

    I also revisited my list of Blue Chip Alternative energy companies to see which ones might benefit from the expected stimulus package, while Charles looked at Smart Grid stocks that might benefit from a stimulus package. One technology I’m betting on is Geothermal heat pumps.

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    Trading Strategy During Financial Freefall

    When the current crisis began with the fall of Lehman, I decided to get out of my most speculative and worst capitalized Renewable Energy companies, and I wrote a series of articles on each. Now, I’m looking exclusively at companies involved in energy efficiency technologies, and technologies which help customers shift their demand to when or where it is cheaper (smart grid and transmission.)

    Here’s an index to the articles on the stocks I sold:

    1. Held: UQM Technologies (UQM)
    2. Sold: Carmanah Technologies (CMHXF)
    3. Sold: Pacific Ethanol (PEIX)
    4. Sold: Dynamotive Energy Systems (DYMTF)
    5. Sold: Nova Biosource Fuels (NBF)
    6. Sold: VRB Power (VRBPF)
    7. Sold: Electro Energy, Inc. (EEEI)

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    AltEnergyStocks.com Endorses Obama

    My partners and I received a couple angry emails because of what I consider very well reasoned arguments as to why Barack Obama would be better on Energy and Climate than John McCain. It still shocks me that anyone interested in alternative energy investing would even consider this controversial. If they support McCain, they might not like the fact that their candidate isn’t the best on energy issues, but simply consider other matters more important.

    YouTube Removes Clip of McCain mocking tire inflation.

    It’s a crazy world we live in. In the first draft, we had found a video where McCain was shown deriding Obama’s advocacy for energy efficiency in the form of well-inflated tires, but it had been taken down by YouTube a day later. We had to settle for a news story talking about the McCain campaign and their tire guages, not McCain himself.

    On what grounds was it removed, I have to wonder? It was a public appearance of a public figure, so you would think that it would not have been removed on copyright grounds, but your guess is as good as mine. Does YouTube remove all videos of public figures making fools of themselves?

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    Enery Efficiency And Utilities

    In addition to investing, I’m also a consultant for the Energy Efficiency Busisness Coalition for regulatory matters. This work has spawned a series of articles, looking into what it really takes to make an energy efficiency business work, and what constitutes progressive regulation. Here they are:

    Barriers to Selling Energy Efficiency

    There’s Much More to Energy Efficiency than Saving Money

    Demand Side Management Policies That Work

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    Flying too Close to the PetroSun

    Algae is the most promising source to produce oil in the quantities needed to displace any significant amount of petroleum. Can is Petrosun (Pink Sheets: PSUD) the company to fulfill this promise? I doubt it; follow the link to find out why.

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    Investments for Peak Oil

    I’ve written a series of articles over the past few weeks focussing on what a green investor can do to prepare for and profit from peak oil:

    Peak Oil and Your Lifestyle

    Behavioral Finance and Mass Transit

    New Flyer: A Stock to Hedge Peak Oil

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    Clean Energy Needs More Brawn, Less Brains

    We’re way behind the curve on climate change.  Only after we have a new President is the US likely to take action to limit greenhouse gasses.  Meanwhile the artic ice sheet is vanishing faster than any of our models predicted, and the world is emitting more carbon than even the most pessimistic IPCC projections.

    Given that backdrop, it’s too late to wait for some new technology to come along and save us, be it cellulosic ethanol or carbon capture and storage.  Investors should keep that in mind, too. 
    When the world wakes up to the urgency of Climate Change, more money will be spent on near term solutions than research into new technology.  

    The scale of the problem is daunting, which is why I believe there is such a temptation to invest our hopes in new technology, as opposed to investing our dollars in the technology we have today, which can take us most of the way we want to go, if only we can muster the political capital (the cost is negligible, because the efficient use of energy almost always than pays for itself and then some.)

    That’s why I’m calling for a Clean Energy Marshall Plan.

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