Invest in Cleantech

Invest in Cleantech

Monday, November 28, 2005

Diversifying Renewables

A viable energy source that is gaining momentum in the renewable/alternative energy arena is Biomass. To highlight this resource, Biomass is defined as plant matter such as trees, grasses, agricultural crops or other biological material that can be used as a solid fuel, or converted into liquid or gaseous forms, for the production of electric power, heat, chemicals, or fuels. This type of energy cn potentially mnimize greenhouse gases, a problem that has plagued fossil fuel production.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Biomass Program is working to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil through the development of technology for conversion of biomass to valuable fuels, chemicals, materials and power. According to the DOE, it also provides the only renewable alternative for liquid transportation fuel. In addition to helping to establish energy independence, it is believed that the use of biomass helps to solidify rural economies, avoid use of highly toxic fuel additives, assist in the reduction of air and water pollution, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The DOE's Biomass Program has made the development of biorefineries a key priority.

The potential for biomass is undeniable as it can help protect the environment while contributing to the overall energy supply and preservation of domestic energy security; however it is but one piece of the puzzle. Solar, wind, and wave energy are others to be considered in the overall enery solution. I find that we hear more about a single technolgy than about a comprehensive and integrated solution that combines several viable renewable sources. As in the financial world, diversification is key to securing a long term and successful return on invesment. I look forward to presentations of portfolios that place bets on a variety of innovative technologues to help meet the growing energy demands and the drive for energy security.

Monday, November 07, 2005

World Energy Demands -The Future with Renewables

The International Energy Agency predicts in its 2005 World Energy Outlook that Global energy needs will grow by approximately 50 percent by 2030 with a continued rise in prices unless supply is increased substantially. The Agency also mentions that if countries put into place the action plan outlined by the G-8 Summit implementing more environment-friendly policies, the anticipated results should translate into a 25% lower demand for coal, a 27% growth in renewable energy sources and a 16% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

As renewable energy technology becomes more affordable as the price of equipment and components are reduced, this area of the energy arena continues to demand attention as a viable alternative solution to the growth and unmanageability of global energy demands. I am not sure that there can be a more obvious choice when the nation and the world has seen the vulnerability of current energy infrastructure with two hurricanes, terrorist attacks, the security risks of energy dependence, especially in areas hostile to the U.S., and the record high energy prices - all felt within 2005. This direction is anticipated to continue until solutions are implemented that steer consumption along a different path.

The world, however is changing as more consumers, corporations, politicians and even utilities are recognizing the value in energy independence, long term cost savings and protecting the environment. Developing countries such as China are representative of a global shift towards alternative energy sources and the implementation of a more diversified energy portfolio with the nation's recent announcement that it has raised its target for usage levels of renewable energy. While coal will remain China's primary source for electricity, renewable energy, with the recent 5% increase, will account for an estimated 15 percent of national consumption by 2020.