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Davos World Economic Forum

Clean Energy Takes Center Stage in Davos

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted February 4, 2009

Dear Reader,

Jeff Siegel and Nick Hodge are at the World Money Show in Orlando, Florida, this week, filling eager investors in on clean energy progress and the opportunities it presents. You'll hear all about their new contacts and plays from Orlando in next week's Wealth Daily, but today I want you to read an important article from Jeff and Nick's colleague at Green Chip Stocks, International Editor Sam Hopkins. It originally appeared in their free newsletter Green Chip Review on January 30.

As Sam points out, clean energy consensus emerged as a keystone to global economic recovery last week at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. The gears may seem to be turning slowly from day-to-day in world capitals, but a select group of companies and investors are already in pole position to profit from a new energy economy that will unfold in the coming months and years. 

Good Investing,

Brian Hicks

President, Angel Publishing

Davos World Economic Forum Points to Clean Energy Profits

From its yearly meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum just released a report saying that global clean energy spending needs to at least triple from 2008's $155 billion.

In order to combat climate change and bring sustainable fuels to parity with fossil fuels, some $515 billion per year should be spent through 2030.

Those funds won't just fend off global warming—they'll generate "significant economic returns," the WEF said on January 29.

Now, over the past half-decade we've seen clean energy as a whole grow by leaps and bounds. In stock market capitalization terms, international renewable energy companies like geothermal heavyweight Ormat Technologies (NYSE:ORA) have doubled in value since year-end '04. That 100% overall gain, among other companies and funds, comes despite the recent financial contagion and downturn in oil prices.

The report names 8 specific clean energy sectors that will account for the bulk of WEF transitional energy targets:

  • Onshore wind
  • Offshore wind
  • Solar photovoltaic
  • Solar thermal
  • Municipal waste-to-energy projects
  • Sugar-derived ethanol
  • Cellulosic ethanol
  • Geothermal energy

First off, notice that corn-based ethanol is not on the list. Despite the best lobbying efforts of corn-belt farmers and politicians from my native Midwest, energy experts outside Washington see the yellow feedstock as chaff when compared to other biofuels.

The time I've spent researching biofuels in South America only solidified GCR's editorial position that feedstocks like sugar cane and cellulosic plant fiber would win out. It didn't take long for investors to figure out the corn-fuel folly, and hopefully Barack Obama will complete his break from the strong corn lobby in his home state of Illinois and push forward with the cultivation of better native resources for fuel.

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A Gilt-Edged Challenge

But even though corn isn't ethanol gold, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says the transition to sustainable energy is a moral imperative with a golden upside:

"Climate change threatens all our goals for development and social progress," Ban told a convened gathering of world political leaders and executives. "On the other hand, it also presents us with a gilt-edged opportunity."

"Gilt-edged opportunity." We like that. Clean energy is, at its core, a proposition for making lives better and economies healthier. Yet the sheer amounts of money that will be spent on the front end mean that many entrepreneurs and investors will make a mint.

In the near term, every country is dealing with recession and trying to stave off depression conditions. The late-January week when the Davos meeting took place was dismal in the U.S., with six-figure job cuts to start things off and more reports of corporate excess sinking hopes like lead.

In the same panel where Ban spoke, former President Bill Clinton forecast an "explosion of jobs" from a public clean energy buildout, which is exactly what millions of Americans now need.

So it's no surprise that California and other states have moved their 2020 emissions and energy mix targets up significantly, to 2016 and even earlier. Time is quickly fading and the consequences of past inaction are already in our faces.

Another decade of dawdling could well do us in. Let's hope all the big-picture talk at Davos brings concerted, focused action in world capitals this year.

Regards,

sig

Sam Hopkins

P.S. - Our stock recommendation service Green Chip International has had a bead on global clean energy advances for over a year now. While the Davos forum of 2009 may be thought of in the future as the catalyst that kicked clean energy into overdrive, GCI subscribers know the stock advantages for international renewable energy investors are already here. To learn more about going green, globally, try GCI risk-free today: http://www.angelnexus.com/o/web/10827
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