Archive for AES

Two Renewable Energy Penny Stocks

I asked my readers at Alternative Energy Stocks what companies they wanted to know more about, and the two most requested were a transmission and wind company (CPTC.OB), and a company looking to make oil for biodiesel from algae (PSUD.PK)

Click through the links to read the results of my research.

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Ten Renewable and Energy Efficiency Companies To Buy In a Downturn

I Just completed a series on Ten Renewable and Energy
Efficiency companies to buy when the market hits bottom.  These are solid
companies, and a market downturn is a great time to aquire any and all of them.

I also mentioned a few more which almost made it into the
list in the introduction and also here.

Note: I and/or my clients have positions in all the stocks mentioned.

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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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    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

    Enjoy!

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    How to look for an Energy Efficient Rental (or resale home)

    Does it seem totally unfair to you that the young, who are typically much more environmentally aware, are often stuck living in cold, drafty, unhealthy, and expensive to operate rentals, while it’s the old and the wealthy splash out on gigantic mansions with multiple low efficiency furnaces and air conditioners?

    It does to me. Well, if you’re one of those green renters, you can do something about it. I’ve put together a checklist to use that can help you sift out the efficient buildings from all the cold, drafty ones.

    Since it’s not really about stocks, I sent it over to Jetson Green as a guest post. But if it’s stocks that might benefit from the trend in energy efficient homes you’re looking for, I list several in the intro I wrote for it at Alternative Energy Stocks.

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    Top Five Environmental Stocks for Gifts

    For the Shopping season, I’ve just publised an article on a gift that’s greener than just giving more “stuff.” Help your young ones prepare for their future (and the future of the planet) with my Top Five Stocks to Give as Gifts this Holiday Season.
    Green Gift

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    October Investing Articles Index

    I’ve been writing a lot about how we’ll get around in the face of much higher oil prices. Several articles this month deal with how we can best invest in the eventual solutions.

    October 2nd: Efficienct Transit and Transmission Stocks from Fortune Magazine.

    October 7th: Alternative Energy Mutual Funds and ETFs

    October 14th: Better Ways to Invest in Peak Oil: Bikes and Public Transport

    October 21st: An In-depth look at Geothermal Technology

    October 24th: Presentations from Montrose and the Keiretsu Forum Academy

    October 25th: What we can learn from the Arizona Renewable Energy Assesment

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    Updated Alternative Energy Investing for Beginners

    New Alternative energy Mutual Funds and ETFs have been popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm, so I’ve updated my previous Introduction to Investing In Renewable Energy, whith a new one which also considers the new ETFs CELS and GEX.

    As it turns out, I like some of the new options.

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    Transport Fuels and Solar Technologies: Bird’s Eye View

    For my last couple AltEnergyStocks Columns, I’ve been taking a step back and looking at how we can get an understanding of the broad trends of energy technologies. Last week, I added to the Visual comparison of Electricity Generation Technologies I did last spring with a new Visual Comparison of Transport Fuels.

    Following up, today I published a look at the varius solar technologies through the lens of their applications.

    Before we go back to looking at trees, I hope you enjoy this look at the forest.

    (and don’t miss the National Tour of Solar Homes next Saturday)

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    War, Regulation, Finance, and Renewable Energy

    So far this month, I’ve been thinking a lot about regulation of the electric sector, in large part because I’ve been getting ready for the next Resource Planning Docket at the Colorado Public Utilities commission, and have been participating in the various actions and negotiations the lead up to it.

    On September 2, I speculated about the effects of a war with Iran on Alternative Energy Stocks

    On September 9, I looked at why coming up with a good net metering law for distribute generation is so difficult, and made my recommendations.

    And on September 12, I looked at the implications of structured finance for Concentrating Solar Power.

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    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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    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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    Corn is For Ethanol, Grass is for Cows

    Last year my wife and I read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s
    Dilemma
    , and it changed we eat.  My wife was greatly affected by how animals are mistreated in production farming, while I was attracted by the health
    benefits of eating grass fed beef
    and other foods grown in the manner to which they are evolutionarily adapted, as well as by the lower degree of harm to the environment.  We haven’t become all-natural, all-organic, all-the-time at the Konrad household, but we’re now much more willing to pay more when we have the opportunity to do so for food which we consider healthier and more environmentally and morally sound.  For a world-class tightwad like myself, being willing to pay more is a considerable step.

    In any case, the book also got me thinking more sympathetically about the ethanol industry, because it serves as a relatively benign outlet for the mountain of corn produced by America’s insane farm policies.   I find rising price of corn and other grains is more a cause for celebration than despair, because I see current prices more as a return to sanity rather than a likely cause for starvation.  Even in the third world, low agricultural productivity is (in part) due to a lack of incentive to compete with subsidized first world production, rather than an inability to grow enough food.  The market for corn has been massively distorted by oversupply caused by too many subsidies.  Ethanol represents a new source of practically inexhaustible demand which is restoring balance to a market too long out of kilter.

    One practice which the massive flood of cheap grain begat was feeding corn to cattle.  In my AltEnergyStocks
    column this week, I look at one way I think the market may be starting to find its equilibrium again.  As corn prices rise, there will be less incentive to fatten cattle in feedlots (or Concentrated Agricultural Feeding Operations, CAFOs ad Michael Pollan calls them), and more to feed them grass.  I believe that long before we can perfect the art of using energy crops such as switchgrass to make cellulosic ethanol on a commercial basis, the rising price of corn will make it economic to feed those same energy crops (i.e. grass) directly to cattle, more than doubling the amount of corn currently available to the ethanol industry.

    Click here to read the entire column.

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    Energy Efficient Homes & Performance Contracting

    I have now posted the last two articles in my series on the WGA Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop.

    The third article (here) talks about some of the “above code” standards, such as Energy Star and Built Green, why I feel the code should resemble these standards a lot more than it does now (above code should mean measures that are not viable on a pure economic basis, but that people want because it makes them feel good… when total cost of ownership is taken into account, these “above code” standards actually produce homes that are cheaper to live in and own than houses built just to code.)

    I also talk about several companies that my benefit from a move to wide adoption of these above code standards, as well as from energy retrofits of existing homes.

    Article number four (here), talks about the trend to performance contracting, where a building owner contracts for a certain level of service (lighting levels, temperature, etc.) with a third party, and that party upgrades the building’s efficiency, with the savings from efficiency gains not only paying the energy bills, but also paying for the upgrades (which can include solar panels and other renewable energy projects as well as energy efficiency upgrades) as well as a profit for the contractor.

    Investing in Energy Efficient Homes
    Investing in Performance Contracting

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    Western Governor’s Association Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop

    This week, I’ll be covering the WGA’s Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop, which took place in Denver on July 17 and 18. I have drafts of 4 articles, the first two of which are an overview of the workshop, and a Western States Energy Efficiency Political update, which I just published on AltEnergyStocks. I’ll be publishing articles on Homebuilding and Performance Contracting later this week.

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