Thursday, January 31, 2008

Expect Increasing Oil Prices - OPEC

OPEC Plans to Maintain Output, Consider Cuts in March

"The leaders will delay until March deliberations on a supply cut to bolster prices, which have slipped 8 percent from a record $100.09 a barrel on Jan. 3.

``If prices continue to fall as we've seen in Venezuela until now, then we'd probably be prepared to propose a cut at the next OPEC meeting in March,'' Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters in Vienna yesterday."


Awwwww, poor OPEC Oil Producers have suffered an 8% decline in the price of their product from peak.


Thank goodness we have GW to travel over there and ask them nicely (and fruitlessly) to increase supply.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Renewables - 100,000 jobs, Tens of Billions of Dollars in Investment.

Extending tax credits for renewables would create more than 100,000 jobs and attract "tens of billions of dollars in investment" within the next year

Statement by AWEA - American Wind Energy Association

Wind energy industry statement on tax credits in Senate stimulus package

Letter to Editor / Congressperson...

Feel free to copy and paste if you like. It's 199 words, so should be admissible to most newspaper opinion pages. Also feel free to post your own creations in this thread. Add a greeting and signature, and it's a letter to a Congressperson.

--------

On January 30th, the Senate Finance Committee agreed to add an extension of existing Renewable Energy Tax Credits to the Stimulus Package currently under consideration. I strongly support this action, and look forward to seeing this Bill receive the signature of President Bush.

This is a great addition to the Stimulus Package.

By offsetting the cost of Purchase and Installation of Renewables, this Bill will provide a similar kind of short-term investment incentive as other portions of the Package. However, because this is a focused investment in new Energy Sources, it provides mid- and long-term Economic benefits by placing downward pressure on Energy Prices, which, in addition to an increase in money supply, are a primary source of inflation.

Lately, we see the Federal Reserve forced to take Inflationary action in order to support a teetering Economy. Congress and the President must support the Fed’s action by smart Legislation, such as this, to counter these Inflationary forces over the long-term.

Make no mistake; President Bush will not welcome this change to the Package. Supporters of this Bill in Congress, both Republican and Democrat, will have to be strong to pass this. It will be the right thing to do.

Senate Adds Alt-Energy to Stimulus Package!

Dow Jones: Solar, Wind Energy Tax Credits In Senate Stimulus Plan


After an unpleasant day on the Market, this comes as great news! Thanks to Sope1971 of Yahoo for the find!


After GW's disappointing State of the Union, there wasn't much on the horizon to look forward to for the rest of this year as far as US Alt-Energy.

The problem is that having made this statement on Solar Credits (in Committee, at least), they MUST follow through, or we're going to get killed in the markets. They MUST get it through the Senate, and the MUST get Bush to sign it. The stakes are incredibly high, and not just for investors.

However, this is the best opportunity for them to force such a measure through Whitehouse resistance, and if GW chooses to stall the Stimulus Bill, then the pressure will be on Bush to make it happen. Why? Because the arguments support this addition as one of the best ways to stimulate economic growth. Americans can be made to understand this, and there are Republicans up for election this year.

For one thing, giving businesses a 30% tax credit for investment in Alt-Energy creates not only immediate spending and investment, but it focuses that spending on additional Energy Supply, which directly acts counter to inflation. Bush will have a difficult time arguing against this. There are no spending increases, only tax cuts, and also, this is an existing program that is being extended; it is not a new program.


Look for a bounce in Solar tomorrow on speculation of passage. Contact your Congresspeople and let them know of your support for this (particularly Republican Congresspeople).

Monday, January 28, 2008

Davos - Speech by Rajendra Pachauri - IPCC Chief.

Speech by the IPCC Chairman, Mr. Rajendra Pachauri, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 23, 2008

I caught this on CSPAN yesterday. It's packed full of information; definately worth a read.

Here's the official website for the IPCC. Oddly enough, it doesn't have a name, just an IP Address.

Time to update the Watchlist: Renesola

Renesola IPO on the Way

First off, let me say, I wish the folks at Renesola well, and wish them luck in getting their products out there and generating power.


However, I think that in the end, Renesola is not in a strong position. The issue is in the scale.


Renesola does not stand to become independent of the Global Polysilicon Market through their own production. This year they expect to produce 200 to 300 metric tons, which is equivalent to about 20-30 MW of wafers. Well, they're planning on 585MW this year, of which 5% will be based on their own Poly production. Next year (and presumedly afterwords), they expect to produce 150 MW worth of Poly to support future wafer production. This may be enough to take some of the pain of high Silicon prices away in the short term, but it doesn't appear to be scaled to provide much benefit after say, 2012, when everybody and their neighbor has spare Silicon production capacity. At that point, the benefits of owning and maintaining a small-scale Silicon production facility decrease significantly, and possibly become a liability (lack of focus, continued requirements to compete on production costs with other market players).


According to the article "In the first nine months of 2007, sales nearly tripled over the prior year to $153 million. Net income rose from $15 million to $25.5 million." Renesola says that they are in competition with LDK. The article goes so far as to say that the competition is "fierce." Well, LDK's profit for the 3rd quarter of 2007 was almost twice that of Renesola over the first nine months of the year, and LDK's IPO was $400M compared to SOL's $127M. Really, the timing of this IPO is unfortunate for Renesola, but time is of the essence, and they clearly needed the money right now, even though it cut deeply into their incoming cash.


As usual, I wouldn't be selling this Solar company short, because there's no telling what kind of price explosions we could see here, but I will say that this IPO does nothing at this point to convince me that LDK isn't still the best bet in the industry.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thriftville and Squanderville

If you haven't read it before, check out an essay by Warren Buffett on the dangers of the trade deficit.

America's Growing Trade Deficit Is Selling the Nation Out From Under Us. Here's a Way to Fix the Problem — And We Need to Do It Now.

Posted in response...

Question:

"I have always voted Democrat except for Reagan's second term.

I'm really wanting to vote Democrat this time but I am coming to the realization that energy is a national security issue (may be a bit late to the party there but I am there now).

Anyway, can someone tell me what Mr. Obama or Ms. Clinton are going to do to get us off of the "oil standard" as I call it?

Do you think it will work?"


My Response:

I'm less sure about Obama on this, but he does support Energy reform of some sort. I just wonder where it sits in his priorities. In his victory speech after Iowa he used the phrase "Tyranny of Oil." It's only words, though. I don't know well prepared he is with a workable plan, and how dedicated he is to doing battle to make it happen.

Hillary is particularly strong here (as I see it). She's done several major speeches on the subject, and is very knowledgeable. Healthcare is her first priority, I think, but I'm confident that Energy won't wait until she's done with our Healthcare system.

I watched Bill Clinton talk about this subject the other day on CSPAN, and he mentioned a program that he's got going on right now between NY Developers and Banks, so that the Banks will lend the Developers the money to upgrade their properties to Green properties, and the banks would basically not charge more in payments every month than the Developer had saved in Energy Costs.

So, with Hillary, we also have Bill. They could get things done. Bill has been working very hard in the last few years in putting together and working with NGO's and Businesses to accomplish beneficial projects. He's got skillz and connections.

That said, I'm supporting Obama. HAHA! It's a tough choice. I'd like to see fresh blood, and Obama seems very solid. He's thoughtful and inclusive. Bringing Americans back together may very well be more important than having experience-based plans ready to go. There's no reason that President Obama can't tap Hillary, and Bill, or even Gore, for that matter, to help pull together and implement a solid plan.

Here are the official statements from the Obama / Clinton websites:

Obama's Official Energy Position

Clinton's Official Energy Position

Will it work? I'm confident that it can work, because there is little other choice in the matter. There are a growing number of people that are ready to jump in and take whatever efforts are required, and not only that, there is a boatload of money to be made in making it happen. This is the world energy market, and it's a big one. It does depend, however, on a level of stability in the world that is not assured right now.

The pieces are being put into place right now, however, that will lower costs dramatically in many of the "Alt-Energy" techonologies, and there is great potential in the capacity of conservation programs to pay off for American energy consumers. We just need a leader willing to let it happen.

Sanjay Shrestha Interview on CNBC.

The Solar Trade

Sanjay is debating a joker from The American Enterprise Institute. Sanjay puts up a strong defense of FSLR and SPWR's potential to become price competitive with Coal. In particular, he points out that the typical price given for Coal-generated power is at the "point of production" rather than at the "point of consumption."

As for the opponent, he's a senior fellow at the American Enterprise institute. These guys are Neocon and Big Oil all the way.


Kudos to ibcnu2day69 of Yahoo for the find.

Update on Coal Prices and Supply - Bloomberg

Coal May Extend Gains as Australia, Africa Exports Disrupted

Friday, January 25, 2008

More news from South Africa.

S. Africa declares electricity emergency


In addition to driving up the price of Gold, the Energy Shortages in South Africa are actually causing Coal Mining operations to shut down, thus further driving up Energy prices.

EDIT: Here's a brief article on South Africa's involvement with a German Thin-Film (CIGS) manufacturer called JST.

Example: Ramifications of an Energy Shortage.

South African Mines Halt Production on Power Shortage - Bloomberg

AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., Gold Fields Ltd. and Anglo Platinum Ltd. shut their South African mines as the nation's power shortage worsened, threatening growth and investment in the continent's biggest economy.

"Power is like oxygen, it's essential for any half modern economy," said Goolam Ballim, chief economist of Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa's biggest lender. "If you're shaving growth, then earnings generation, stock market potential and wealth creation is being eroded."



I see that right now Gold is at $921.20/oz, up $15.40.


Just goes to show, if you've got Energy, you can produce wealth. If you've got no Energy, you stop.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

From the MEMC Conference Call.

On a potential polysilicon glut:

"if and when that sort of an environment occurs again if prices drop then the demand based on the elasticity of this market would rise pretty dramatically and it takes less time to install or actually consume solar module capacity then it does poly and so what would happen basically is you get solar module guys consumer in the poly, jack up the demand... price might fall, jack up the demand poly gets constrained again and your back in the same situation and maybe its 6 months later maybe it's a year late but I think that might be what happens."

Exactly. This is when Solar takes off like few could possibly imagine. It all hinges on poly supply.

Bloomberg - Vehicles, Oil, Oil Sands, Peak Oil, Environmental Impact.

Prius Designer Says Industry Must Lose Oil Addiction

Meanwhile, at Fort McMurray's pit mines, it takes 2 tons of sand, 250 gallons (947 liters) of water and 1,400 cubic feet (39.6 cubic meters) of natural gas to produce one barrel of synthetic crude, says Peter Wells, director of research firm Neftex Petroleum Consultants Ltd. in Abingdon, England.

Schlepping Sand

That's enough water for a day's use for a U.S. family of four and enough natural gas for 5.6 days. The gas is burned to power a process that extracts a tarry substance called bitumen from the sand and then refines it into synthetic crude.

In turn, each barrel generates as much as 110 kilograms (240 pounds) of carbon dioxide equivalents, the same as refining three barrels of traditional light crude.

``When you're schlepping around two tons of sand for a barrel of crude, it shows that conventional oil is already well into depletion,'' says Jeffrey Rubin, chief economist at CIBC World Markets Inc. in Toronto.



Excellent article from Bloomberg. Lots of facts and info about Oil Production, Peak Oil, and Current Events in the Auto industry.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Interesting Republican Action...

Vitter of Louisiana tried to bring in an amendment, which was what he called the "Warner Bill," which would have opened up the Continental Shelf off of several southern states to Natural Gas Development.

He was told by Boxer that that Amendment didn't belong in this Bill, because it had nothing to do with Global Warming, and because it would kill the Bill.

Vitter did not relent.

Warner spoke, and said that yes, it was his Bill, he had written it and it had failed in Congress. In fact, it had been voted against by several of the States that were on the coastline affected. He said, No, it shouldn't be in this bill. Warner is in strong support.

Futures are painting an ugly picture for tomorrow...

Let's see how it goes. They lie all the time. If they told you what was up, they couldn't take your money.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Imhoffe Nuclear Target,

James Imhoffe mentions a nuclear energy target of 150GW by 2030.

If LDK is able to double production from 2009 to 2010 to around 2MW output per year, then by 2030 they, themselves, would have produced 40GW of Solar Wafers by 2030.

Ok, so Nuclear has the advantage of generating power 24 hours per day, but those Solar panels will be a fine addition to keeping daytime power costs out of control. Think Air Conditioning.

CSPAN showing Climate Change Committee Debate.

Sounds great!

Republicans and Democrats WORKING TOGETHER.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My idea of stimulus. Just a couple of points.

One, Extend Unemployment Benefits. This is a no-brainer. It does nobody any good for families to make desperation sales of their homes, and end up living in their cars. In fact, it does alot of people bad for this to happen. Every desperation homesale puts downward pressure on all property values, and puts additional pressure on others to follow up by selling out at a loss.

Two, Increase Energy Efficiency Spending. My household is using less power this year than same time last year, but we're paying more. We're not alone in this. I'm not suggesting investment in Energy Development here, that's a separate subject from quick stimulus. In this case, programs similar to those brought about under the Clinton Administration should be brought back, and expanded. The Government should support individuals, families, and corporations in running more efficiently, and using less energy. Investment should be supported at all levels on energy efficient buildings, transportation, and business practices. This would benefit everyone by cutting demand, and thus, lowering prices. Remember, inflation isn't caused simply by increasing money supply, but also by increasing costs of production, particularly by way of increases in the cost of energy.

This kind of program has immediate effect by supporting new, targetted investment, but also long term benefit to participants by saving them money over the long term, which then can lead to additional investment over time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Video: Head of the Asian Development Bank (Japanese)

Here's a video from Bloomberg:

Kuroda of ADB Says Asia Slowdown Would be `Constructive'

He spends 16 minutes or so talking about general Asian/World economic growth, and then goes to politics.

The interviewer points out the US Presidential race, and the candidates, and asks the guest about it. The guest says that the Bank is a non-political organization, but goes on with a special point.

CLIMATE CHANGE.

This is the item that this banker has brought up as a primary point that the US has to work to resolve.

Don't let bashers fool you. This thing is going to be big.

Hartford Mutual Funds reports having bought 4,593,400 Shares of LDK!

Thebuylist.com

Date Updated: 1/15/2008 1:20:30 PM

Big!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Financial Times: GE to double its investments in renewable energy to $6bn by 2010.

GE to double its investments in renewable energy to $6bn by 2010



The market for renewable energy is worth an estimated $60bn a year and is expected to expand rapidly as governments and utilities strive to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and turn to cleaner energy.

Alex Urquhart, chief executive of GE's energy financial services unit, which has total assets of more than $16bn, told the Financial Times that renewable energy was the division's fastestgrowing business.

"We are really attracted by the size and potential of this market," Mr Urquhart said. "This sector is proving to offer a lot more opportunities than we first thought."

Guess Who's Building a Green City"


The whole effort is being dubbed Masdar—"the source" in Arabic—a reference to the sun. The city is also called Masdar and will look like a cross between The Arabian Nights and The Jetsons. It will draw on traditional Arabic architecture, using wind towers to funnel air through the city as natural air conditioning and splashing fountains in courtyards to dampen the dry heat. Like an ancient casbah, the buildings will be huddled close together on narrow streets to reduce demand for cooling power during Abu Dhabi's 120-degree summer days. But Masdar will also incorporate the most advanced technology available for refrigeration and other systems. "We will need the most extreme energy-efficiency standards from the beginning," explains Al Jaber.

Power will come mainly from solar, not wind—a logical choice given the region's blazing sun and fickle breezes. Visitors will have to park their Ferraris and Porsches outside the city walls. Once inside, they will walk, bicycle, or ride small, driverless vehicles running on paths underground.

Good News in Electric Cars...

Toyota Plans Plug-In Hybrids for 2010, Matching GM


Competition is starting right now, targetted at 2010. Battery manufacturing is expanding and will take off like gangbusters in the next couple of years.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Peak Oil...

This is modified from a discussion on the Yahoo board.



OPPONENT: "It is about economics. If we need 100 units of cheap energy to develop one unit of energy with a higher value (both in energy density and financial terms) then guess what -- we spend the 100 units. Peak oil doesn't properly assess the economics of energy development."


ME:

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

One unit of energy is one unit of energy.

Say you have 1000 units of useful stored energy and it takes 100 units of energy to develop one unit.

Let's say each person requires 1 unit of energy to stay alive for some amount of time (supporting the basics like food production, shelter and infrastructure maintenance, etc).

Let's say you have 100 people to keep alive.

Ok, so in the first unit of time your people use 100 units of energy.

You have 900 units remaining.

At this point think of this as a story problem. What combination of support for the population vs. gathering energy at a 100:1 ratio will keep the people alive the longest? Is there any possibility of keeping a sustainable population of people? Will any number of little green pieces of paper be of any help in this situation?

...

Economics is irrelevant. It is trumped by physical reality.

There is no economic activity without energy. In order to grow an economy, you either need to use energy more efficiently (waste less), or increase the supply. They supply of oil-based energy is no longer capable of growing at rates required to support the growing world economy over the medium term. If we want to keep growing the economy, then we have no choice but to produce alternate sources of energy in a big way, right now, while we have available fossil sources to make use of.

And some say that it's the alt-energy movement that wants to destroy the economy. These people don't understand the stakes. They just figure that if energy gets scarce, then they will get to control more little green pieces of paper.

...

On loss and inefficiency:

It's true that converting energy from one form to another ultimately involves loss. However, it's entirely possible to use 1 unit of energy to release 2 units of energy IF THOSE 2 UNITS are available in nature to be released. For instance the amount of energy required to tap a vast oilfield is much less than the amount of energy stored in the oil that is extracted. Remember, we did nothing to actually produce the oil itself, nature did that. Oil is the product of solar energy shining down on the ancient ecosystem, which then got buried and refined by millions of years of geologic processes. Yes, more energy went into the oil production over that time than we can release in the end, but that is irrelevant to us; we're just taking that stored energy and releasing it to do work. For us, it's a net positive, but only because we didn't actually have to produce the energy in the first place.

As oil supply shrinks, we'll be depending on less convenient sources like Solar. If we fail to establish an efficient infrastructure to make use of alternate sources of energy like sunlight before "peak oil" then we're in big trouble.


Original Yahoo Discussion

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Incredible Solar Nanotech!

Nanoparticle Treatment for Photovoltaic Cells

A day or so ago, someone posted on the Yahoo board about the company Octillion. Well, it appears that this company is likely a fraud. See: Seekingalpha

However, their technology isn't. It's patented out of the University of Illinois.

"Existing solar panels are treated with an ultra thin film of silicon nanoparticles that convert unused UV light into usable visible light, which can then be converted into electrical energy through the established photovoltaic process."

See also: Science Daily



This is incredibly cool, and very well might be an efficient way to upgrade today's technology. They'll have to look carefully at the details, and decide whether it will truly be worth scaling up, but if it is, then watch out!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Some quotes from the Conference: Sarno.

On Sunways and 1000 MT plant:

"These reactors we purchased because they were available and ready for delivery to LDK, in fact they are now in china and our plan is to include these reactors in a new facility that will come on line sometime early in the first quarter, uh, the second quarter of 2008."

"Poly is not as easy as wafers. It's a very complicated process and it requires an awful lot of experience."*

"We have GT Solar. GT has got a tremendous amount of experience specifically in reactors."

"TCS by a company called CDI also a great deal of experience, and gas recovery systems by "Chemical Design" a company located here in upstate New York."


From around Minute 20:00.

Sorry, it's all I got.

I have alot of speculations, but that's about it for the evening.

I'm felt today, I guess, a kind of serenity mixed with fear. The volume was solid on a day of crazy market losses, and the comparative movement of FSLR and CLEN was confusing.

LDK held up very well, considering, but the movement on FSLR was outrageous. Down 20 points and back up with gains? How does that happen?

It was a day in which the perception was that "the Solar Bubble" was bursting, and yet a major sell-off of the heavily Institutionally owned First Solar, completely reversed and went positive. Early on it went down, and added to the impression that, for Solar, the end was nigh, but it's pretty clear that somebody really didn't want it down for long, or to do too much damage to its momentum. I'm sure they ate some shorts in the process.

For one thing, you can bet that there's alot of money in First Solar that doesn't want to come out until at least a year after it went in.

The Market was ugly, too. The big fish making the movement are perfectly aware of what they're doing, I'd think. Is this an attempt to blackmail the fed for cuts? Is this a big move to begin the rotation of money from poor companies and sectors into good ones? Who knows. They do, I suppose.

Well, I don't know what's going on, but I've been following politics long enough and carefully enough, to get some idea of when the Institutions are lying to me.

Remember, this is just me, and I don't know anything.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Even in a recession money is going to look for value... A thought today.

So you think that in a recession there's no money to be made?

I don't think so. Maybe I'm wrong, tell me why.

The money supply is bigger than ever, and that money has got to find a home where it can grow. Are the controllers of that money going to set it all in bonds, or whatever, that won't even keep up with inflation over the next few years?

Sure, some of it will go there, but if I understand right, the more money that goes into bonds, the less yield that those bonds produce.

Energy is at the root of economic activity. Sure, maybe overall demand for energy will decrease in a recession, but those with money will find themselves willing to pay whatever it takes to keep the power flowing.

LDK is in a golden position in the industry. Their poly plans put them at a key niche in the industry as suppliers of wafers to a large section of the booming Chinese Solar industry.

They are a gem, and will do well over the next few years.

WS lies because they depend on suckers to lose money so that the liers can take it away from them. Don't trust WS. Do your own DD and in the long term (if you're correct) you will benefit. WS traders have no will of their own, they follow profits. If you know that profits are on the way, then you can bet that WS money will follow.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Just a thought...

The market appears to be crashing, the "Solar bubble is popping," and LDK and its supporters are suffering*.

Let's see, LDK was at $70 just a couple of weeks ago.

Is Solar dead? Not a chance.

The articles about global warming, peak oil, and general energy woes will keep being written about in news and popular media (around the World). The special TV episodes on Global Warming and green tech will continue to be produced. Commercials of numerous products will have images of solar and greentech, because it's cool, and it feels good to think that something could be done better, and cleaner. The Olympics will be very big. States, cities and towns in the US, and Nations elsewhere will make the news with new energy programs. I could go on for chapters.

Solar is alive and well. Don't forget so easily.

So, right now it feels like we're losing. Like we're being screwed by forces outside of our control. There's Alpha telling us why it can't be done**.

The fact is that we're in good shape.

There are forces arrayed against LDK and Solar. They are perfectly aware that the market for Solar Energy is incredible over the next many years.

They're stuck.

I can put all of my wealth into a Solar Stock. I don't even have to set a limit order. Boom. No change in the price.

The big money can't do that. If a big fish wants to invest a sizable chunk of money into a little Solar company, they move the price and every extra share costs more and more money. The last thing they want to do is actually express or demonstrate interest.

But, they must have a stake in future energy, and there is some indication that LDK is set to be a major player.

The floats are so small. Solar is HOT! It doesn't take too many big buys to take up the price. Eventually competition for LDK will come into play, and then the lid is off.

Maybe it won't happen tomorrow, but two years is an incredible stretch. They all have to worry constantly that one of their peers will buy in and jack up the price before they can.

Just a thought...

*The market as a whole is sucking. It's manufactured. It's not like the big sellers aren't aware that they're bringing the price down by their action. It's not just LDK that's have a rough year (a week, that's nothin').

**Alpha is a shill for "Big Fossil" I'm convinced. In Politics he would be considered a "Concern Troll."