Archive for January, 2008

The Evidence of my Obsession with EVs

I’ve been obsessing about the best way to replace petroleum for transit fuels. Unlike venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, I think electricity will win the day over biofuels.. the cellulosic material can be put to better use.

This has lead to a series of articles over the last few months, and I thought I’d gather them all in one place, here:

1. Why Automakers may be blindsided by updtart EV makers.

2. How much are people really willing to pay for extra range?

3. How much is range worth, updated with new poll.

4. Why Cellulosic Electricity may Beat Cellulosic Ethanol

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Off topic: How Do the Candidates Stack up on Clean Energy?

A trip down to the local national party offices to participate in a press conference asking the presidential candidates to pledge their support for clean energy legislation got me thinking about the candidates… I wasn’t sure which candidate has the best clean energy platfom. So I spent a day reading thorough thier platforms, and came to a surprising (to me answer).2008 Election

You can read how I think the candidates’ platforms compare on clean energy here.

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Electricity Transmission & Distribution investing

Electricity transmission is one of my primary investing themes, as a reasonably priced way to benefit from the boom in renewable electricity generation… here is a lit of related articles, the most recent posted yesterday:

  • How should investors react to NIMBYs fighting transmission lines?
  • My top transmission stock pick for 2008 (plus battery and CHP picks)
  • A transmission stock pick from Fortune magazine.
  • HVDC and FACTs
  • Sector overview
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    Matt Baker appointed to Colorado Public Utilites Commission

    I had just written an articles for the Colorado Renewable Energy Society’s e-newsletter CRES Clips about goings on at the Colorado Public Utilites Comission (PUC), when a piece of big piece of PUC related news came out:

    Governor Ritter appointed the current Executive Director of Environment Colorado to fill a recently vacated seat on the PUC.

    Why should every advocate in Colorado care? Because it’s great to have another sympathetic ear!

    What follows is the article I wrote for CRES Clips, to give readers unfamiliar with the PUC an idea of why I think this is so important:

    The Colorado Public Utilities Commission: Where Energy Policy is Implemented

     2007 was a banner year for the


    lawmakers when it comes to energy policy, and with all the successes.  While it would be tempting for clean energy advocates to declare victory and go home, getting good laws passed is only the beginning. When it comes to implementing laws that pertain to investor-owned utilities, the responsibility falls on the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to interpret the legislation and ensure that our state’s public utilities comply with that interpretation.  Here, “public utilities” means Xcel and Aquila , since rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities are generally exempt from PUC regulation.

     The PUC accomplishes its business in a series of “dockets” in which various “interveners” submit testimony (and respond to other interveners’ testimony) for the PUC to consider.  Individuals can become interveners, but it is time consuming and requires
    knowledge of PUC procedure.  Public interest groups with an attorney can also intervene, with various expert witnesses submitting testimony on behalf of that group.

     CRES is not currently intervening in any dockets, although several members of the Policy Committee (including myself) are involved in one way or another.  Given those inherent conflicts of interest, CRES is not currently endorsing any particular intervening group. 

     What follows is a quick summary of some of the most important dockets before the PUC this year, and the groups who support Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency who are intervening, and whom you can support or contact for more information about their activities. Also, it is possible that the PUC will combine some of these dockets. 

    07A-447E Xcel Resource Plan.  These dockets will determine the mix of new generation and energy efficiency resources with which Xcel plans to meet our anticipated electricity needs in the coming years.  Anticipated/ current interveners: EEBC, IEA, RUC, SWEEP, WRA.

    DSM Plan
    in which the PUC will review Xcel’s proposals for electricity DSM policy including energy savings and DSM budget goals, DSM program cost recovery, and incentive to the utility for implementing effective DSM programs. This docket was initiated in response to DSM legislation enacted last year, HB 07-1037.

    Renewable Energy Plan
    in which the PUC will review Xcel’s plans for complying with the recently doubled Renewable Energy Standard.  Interveners: CoSEIA, WRA.

    Plan on Transmission
    .  Transmission is essential to bringing the power from renewable energy sources to population centers.  This docket will determine much of when and where transmission is upgraded or built, and so will have a long term impact on what Renewables can be developed. Current Interveners: IEA, WRA.

    DSM Rules.
    This docket will determine the key policies governing gas utility energy efficiency programs, including energy savings goals and how utilities will be compensated and rewarded for reductions in natural gas usage.  Current Interveners: EEBC, RUC, SWEEP.


    to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advocacy Groups intervening at
    the Public Utilities Commission (alphabetical.)

    CRES has not reviewed the testimony of any of these parties, and their
    opinions are their own.  Their
    information is included because they are known to be aligned with CRES’s
    mission of promoting Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in









    Solar Energy Industries Association

    Lynn Hirshman, Executive Director

    lynn at coseia dot org


    Trade association for the Solar industries in




    Energy Efficiency Business Coalition of


    Paul Kriescher, President

    PaulK at lightlytreading dot com


    Industry Association of Energy Efficiency Businesses,
    dedicated to promoting Energy Efficiency in



    Interwest Energy


    Craig Cox, Executive Director

    cox at interwest dot org

    Group of RE businesses and advocacy groups promoting RE project
    development in the West.



    Ratepayers United


    Gina Hardin, Attorney

    ginahardin at msn dot com


    Nonprofit advocating for responsible and accountable
    energy at the PUC.


    Southwest Energy Efficiency Project

    Howard Geller, Executive Director

    hgeller at swenergy dot


    Promotes Energy Efficiency in Southwestern States


    Western Resource Advocates

    John Nielsen, Energy Project Director jnielsen at westernresources dot org  


    Nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the
    natural resources of the states of the interior west.

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    Top Ten Lists: My Stock Picks for 2008 and Most Blogged Stories of 2007

    I did two top Ten lists to bring in the New Year. First, I picked ten speculative plays in renewable energy and energy efficiency that I think will do well. This was a 3 part series:

    Part I: LED Stocks and Ultracapacitor stocks
    Part II: Batteries, Distributed Generation, combined Heat and Power, and Electricity Transmission
    Part III: Geothermal, Wind and Wave Power stocks, and a Solar Short

    My second Top 10 list is plain fun… we used an algorithm to see what stories cleantech bloggers were linking to in 2007, and I did a short summary of each. Here is my Ten Most Blogged Cleantech Stories of 2007


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