Saturday, September 29, 2007

Nice target!

"Portugal has targeted that 45% of the country's total power consumption be from renewable energy by 2010."


Portugal buys 500 megawatts of wind power from GE through 2009.

Kinda Pointless Post.

Norsk Hydro rose 3.25 to 234.5 and Statoil was up 1.75 at 183.75. Sanford Bernstein repeated its 'outperform' rating on Norsk Hydro, while Credit Suisse said it was worth a buy as an aluminium producer.

Oslo shares close higher, led up by Pertra, Revus Energy

I'm pretty sure that it's supposed to be spelled the same everywhere...

Oh, and Go Norsk Hydro! Ok, so I don't own and ASTI right now, but I likely will soon, and Norsk Hydro is a big part of the reason. Asti's building efficient solar, and Norsk is a strong backer, and likely a strong customer, too.

Hydrogen from GM algae

Monday, September 24, 2007

Interview of Richard Heinberg

Author, "Peak Everything Waking up to the Century of Declines."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Notes for 9/23/07 - CPTC, AKNS, FSLR, ASTI

I've been mostly tied up in CPTC for the last couple of months. That may or may not change soon. If they put out good news quick, then I'll likely stay in for awhile longer, but at the very least they'd better announce their 60Hz Certification this week, or else I'm likely going to find a good spot to exit (at least mostly exit).

I moved an amount from LDK to AKNS, and considering Akeena's recent performance, I'm not so unhappy about that. However, LDK has also been moving very nicely, and it's a shame to not be benefitting from that.

I'm glad to see FSLR doing well, even though I only own a miniscule amount. I'm wondering after friday whether they are going to make a new run forward.

Potential future trades might involve ASTI, or Ascent Technologies. They've got very strong support from Norsk Hydro, and are planning to start selling some product in November. I'm thinking it might be ok to wait a few weeks on this one, as the price relaxes from the recent spike. Of course, the risk would be that they'll put out more news and drive the price up further in the meantime. They manufacture thin-film products, and it's quite possible that they're going to be very price competitive in the long term. Having European backing gives me some confidence that the company will survive a meltdown in the US Economy. Norsk is going to keep it alive in order to keep control of its technology.

Anyway, there are some thoughts for the day.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Imagining the not to distant future... worse case.

Things are looking pretty ugly out there these days. Recession is on the way. By cutting rates to keep businesses going, the Fed invites Inflation. On the other hand, not cutting rates invites a market crash. The ultimate risk, of course, is that the US Dollar becomes incapable of buying anything of value in the world, in other words, the US Dollar becomes worthless, or near worthless.

In china, inflation is increasing as well. The economy in China is booming and growing quickly, but the Chinese are increasingly unable to provide the basic needs for their economic players (the people). The cost of basic necessities are increasing, but for a great many, the income is not. It's increasingly the fewer elite that reserve the goods for themselves. This is true in America, also.

Hmm. I got out of LDK Solar the other day, but I'm pretty sure that that was an incredibly stupid move. LDK is a Baby Elephant in the Solar Industry. More on LDK later.

No matter what happens to the US Economy, the Chinese will stick together and keep an economy going. In fact, no matter what happens to the US Economy, the World Economy will continue. The Euro stands to become a very powerful currency, there are relatively few of them compared to the US Dollar, and they'll be accepted in exchange for oil, certainly by Russia and likely by OPEC.

A large part of the world's pressure toward inflation is in the increasing cost of energy. All goods produced with Energy (which is all of them) cost more to produce, and China is not going to be willingly dependent on others for their own Energy Security. They're using everything at their disposal to develop their Energy Production Capacity, and they aren't going to look down on Solar, particularly since the current development of their solar manufacturing base is being financed by European Clean Energy Goals.

Back to LDK, their growth is astounding, and even in the event of an economic recession they will be able to continue to produce solar panels, because the Chinese Government will move resources to make sure that that purpose is achieved. Also, whereas the US thin film manufacturers have some exciting potential technologies, they are also dependent on a very high tech and expensive infrastructure in order for them to produce their products. The Chinese, though, have the people, the knowledge, and the basic resources needed to build solar capacity even without advanced technology and infrastructure.

Obviously I hope it doesn't come to any desperation in our markets and economy, but I can't help but think that now is the time to hedge where possible. Gold is up to $711, and the dollar is sinking compared to pretty much every other currency. It seems to me that a few Euros on hand is a quite reasonable thing to sit on.

Cross posted to Ytterbius.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Misdirection by Exxon.

While wind and solar power are expected to grow rapidly, they will account for about 1% of global energy demand by 2030, while 80% of the energy needs will be met by oil and gas, according to Robert C. Olsen, chairman and production director of Exxon Mobil International Ltd. (XOM) Wind and solar power will grow an average of 10.5% a year through 2030, compared with 1.6% average annual growth for coal, gas and oil combined, Olsen estimated. "It will be the conventional energy sources -- oil, natural gas and coal -- that will need to meet the bulk of the world's energy requirements over the coming decades," he commented at the Offshore Europe energy conference in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Standard bullshit here.

Prices of many of these technologies are going down RIGHT NOW. Manufacturing of these technologies is ramping up. Early participants have already passed the 1% mark (Germany), and they did so at a premium. Followers will benefit by the investments of the early adopters.

I'd put my target closer to or above 30% by 3030, which includes an explosion in the energy biotech market which is coming within the next three years.

Exxon will buy in, that's for sure, but the last thing they want to do is telegraph future interest.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Nice product by Applied Materials

Applied Materials Revolutionizes Solar Module Manufacturing with Breakthrough SunFab Thin Film Line

Applied Materials, Inc. today introduced its revolutionary Applied SunFab(TM) Thin Film Line, the world's first and only integrated production line for manufacturing thin film silicon solar modules using 5.7 square meter (m2) glass panels. These ultra-large substrates, sized at 2.2m x 2.6m, are four times bigger than today's largest thin film solar production panels. The Applied SunFab Line defines a new standard for the industry that can be replicated by customers around the globe to rapidly establish solar panel manufacturing capacity and achieve the lowest production cost per watt to drive down the cost of solar electricity.

I'd like to see what the costs work out to, but this seems good on first look.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Late night Notes: LDK and Hoku.

LDK is hot!! Not only is the stock doing great right now, but the underlying company is producing good news like nobody else in the business. Ignoring the US Solar producers, I think it's reasonably safe to say that LDK is the best bet out of the Chinese manufacturers. I've heard rumor that they have a good Government connection, which goes a very long way in Chinese Business. Of all the Chinese companies, LDK feels like the behemoth of the group.

Hoku is not! I bought and sold hoku on the news of the Suntech contract, and I made money off the deal. I'm not in Hoku right now, and if I were, I'd be cutting my losses and getting out. I recently read an article stating that Hoku was having trouble getting the financing that is critical for them to get their Idaho operation up and running, which pretty much says to me that the key of their success is at great risk. Hell, the fact that this demonstrates that all this time after announcing their contract they're still not breaking ground at their installation, says to me that something is wrong at Hoku. If they do manage to put it together, then there will still be future profit potential for them, but until they break ground on a fully financed facility, then the risk of collapse is too great, and better investment options can be found elsewhere for a time.