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Wind Energy Investments

Written By Nick Hodge

Posted October 22, 2008

In the true October spirit, there are a lot of skeletons coming out of the closet.

Not in the negative sense that most closet skeletons conjure up, but in a good way, a cleansing way, a reconciling way.

Yes, these skeletons are green skeletons, being released from some of the most unlikely corners of the industrial world.

Here’s what I mean…

There seems to be more than a few stalwart firms initiating and participating in green projects, especially with regard to wind energy investments.

For example, John Deere (NYSE: DE), notorious for its monstrous green farm equipment, now also has an extensive wind portfolio.

Most recently, the agriculture leader has purchased the Noble Thumb Windpark in Huron County, Michigan.

But that’s only a fraction of Deere’s activities when it comes in wind energy investments. In fact, a large chunk of their website is now devoted to just that.

Per the site, John Deere is involved in the following wind investment activities:

  • wind energy land leasing

  • wind farm siting and design

  • comprehensive wind project management services

  • wind equity investment

  • wind turbine supply

  • wind debt financing

Who knew?

I certainly didn’t. So just imagine the renewable energy skeletons other unrelated companies have in their closets.

Clandestine Investments in Wind Energy

Perhaps this one isn’t so secret, but Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has been literally dumping money into wind energy investments.

Late last year, the company issued a press release titled, "Google’s Goal: Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal."

What was Google’s plan? Here’s a snippet from the release:

In 2008, Google expects to spend tens of millions on research and development and related investments in renewable energy. As part of its capital planning process, the company also anticipates investing hundreds of millions of dollars in breakthrough renewable energy projects which generate positive returns.

And how are they going to do this? Well, concerning wind energy, Google is working with Makani Power Inc.

According to the release, Makani is "an Alameda, CA-based company developing high-altitude wind energy extraction technologies aimed at harnessing the most powerful wind resources. High-altitude wind energy has the potential to satisfy a significant portion of current global electricity needs."

But million dollar wind investments from companies far removed from the renewable scene don’t end with Google and John Deere.

Indeed, there are literally hundreds of companies jumping on the wind band wagon.

Consider these headlines:

  • Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) Runs Plant on 100% Wind Power

  • Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) Headquarters Powered with Green Energy: 97% Wind

  • Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) Creates Its Own Electricity Company, Eyes Wind Power

And the list goes on. Millions of wind energy dollars continue to change hands.

Even Big Oil Makes Wind Energy Investments

It’s not just non-energy companies that are making a bid to employ increased amounts of wind energy.

Energy companies, or specifically, Big Oil, has also become very interested in wind power.

BP (NYSE: BP) has partnered with Clipper (LSE: CWP) to build the world’s largest wind farm, South Dakota’s 5.05 gigawatt (GW) Titan field.

They’ve also joint ventured with NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) (which is being purchased by Exelon) to complete construction of the 150-megawatt Sherbino I Wind Farm project in Pecos County, Texas.

BP has also built a 40 MW wind farm in Dhule, India, and has built or is building another 1.13 GW of wind energy capacity in the U.S.

Chevron (NYSE: CVX), for its part, announced earlier this year they’d be building a 20 MW wind farm on 880 acres of land in Evansville, Wyoming.

According to a Chevron representative, "We realize that this (wind energy) is going to be part of the energy mix in the future, so we’re investigating ways that we can participate in that energy space."

And apparently other oil companies do, too.

Shell (NYSE: RDS-B), for example, has an equity stake in 11 wind projects with a total capacity of about 1,100 MW or 1.1 GW.

Of course, when it comes to your personal wind energy investments, you don’t want to mess with any of the aforementioned companies.

Even though they’re involved in the sector, it would be ill-advised to invest in BP or Dell for the purpose of gaining exposure to wind assets. Wind, no doubt, is only a fraction of these companies’ investments.

You see, while all these companies scramble to get a piece of the burgeoning industry, other pure play companies have already established a firm lead.

I’ve been covering the wind companies that will gain the lion’s share of this young industry for years.

And I’ve prepared a full report on it for you.

It chronicles how Big Oil is secretly investing millions in wind and other renewable energy projects, and outlines how you can get a piece of the action by investing in the true companies behind this wind revolution.

Be sure to check it out. There’s a free book in it for you.

Call it like you see it,

nick hodge