Saturday, November 29, 2008

Residential thinking..

I mentioned housing back in December of '07, and though the idea behind the post hasn't become reality, I stand behind what I said.

The question right now is, how is Obama going to help to create this scenario. As it stands, we have the 15% Investment Tax Credit, but this isn't enough to give the market a sense of direction.

One item that I'd like to see would be a kind of a Government loan guarantee to banks that would support the financing of alt-energy projects. Domestic Energy Installations pay for themselves over time, and so the guarantee itself, would likely cost the Taxpayer very little. If the Government were to guarantee lending on some limited time and scale basis, banks would be incented to start to produce the lending programs that will benefit both, the banks, and the borrowers over the long term.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

GT Solar Company Profile (pdf).

From November 19th

There are various factoids about GT, and the World Polysilicon Scene.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sit down and watch some Alt-Energy Documentaries.

Kudos to Aholdd of Yahoo for the find, for both of these videos.

Here Comes The Sun
Directed by: Rob van Hattum

The Gospel of Green
Directed by: Neil Docherty, Gil Shochat

(This image links to external page with video)

Both of these include conversations with Hermann Scheer, who is apparently one of the primary architects of German Solar Policies. Quite an interesting and persuasive fellow. He has the kind of vision about the future that should definately be spread. On the other hand, he also sees the conflict, between the present Entrenched Interests and Alt-Energy, very clearly. He rightly talks about their eventual destruction in the face of changing technology, and their interest in delaying the onset of the kind of change that people like myself and so many others are interested in bringing about, each in our own way. I happen to believe that the moment that "Big Fossil," and "Big Nuclear" are particularly looking to delay, is that moment in which one of the biggest industry players decides that for their own survival they must no longer suppress the Alt-Energy Industry, but must own it.

The First Video, in particular, is an excellent discussion of the big picture in Solar, and gives several good examples of the Corporate Interests in Solar, with mentions made of of Applied Materials, Solarfun, Schott, Sunpower, BP Solar, and others. Projects and Ideas from across the World the are described by various industry players.

The Second video has a greater focus on Canada and Germany, but includes some great examples of how Germans are making money off of this industry, as well as some of the outrageous hurdles faced by technology developers in Canada.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Letter to my Representative - 11/10/08

Dear Representative XXX,

I'd simply like to voice my support for the replacement of Dingell, on Energy and Commerce, by Henry Waxman.

I'll say that I do not strongly dislike John Dingell, from what I've seen of him, but I do strongly support Waxman's consistant demonstrations of willingness to battle for what is important. Dingell is too close to US Auto Manufacturing Behemoths, and has not shown that he has any ability to stand up to those Lobbies. By doing so, he has abetted their present state of finance. Example: when US Auto Manufacturers wanted to avoid improved CAFE standards, Dingell has been their ally, and yet, modernized standards would have been exactly the incentive that our Domestic Manufacturers could have used to support not only the production of efficient vehicles for domestic use, but also to produce vehicles that would stand a greater chance of being in demand outside of the US, where people don't have money to throw into their gas tanks like Americans have had.

So, yes, I think that an independent fighter would be of great value in this environment of great change. We need to help our Auto Industry, but not by simply throwing cash at them, at the whim of their lobbies. We need new standards and incentives to empower and to direct our manufacturers in a sustainable direction, and we need leadership to back it up in Congress. Bailing out the companies, and then supporting their Lobbies in defense of the status quo, is exactly what we can't afford to do.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Eve Thoughts - 11/3/08.

Obviously this election is critical in many ways, but the direction of Future Energy Policy is at the top of the list.

In the last few months we've seen Billions of Dollars come out of stock holdings of Exxon and other Big Oil Companies. We've seen literally Trillions of Dollars get pulled out of the markets as a whole, as fear of losses AND uncertainty in US policy direction has weighed on Investors' sense of security. This has been in addition to, and in part, caused by, massive losses and fear of losses in the Derivatives Markets, which will likely continue.

On the other hand, while Trillions of Dollars have been pulled out of the Stock Market, rather alot of it has been converted to various forms of Cash and Bonds. The money doesn't want to stay in these forms, it wants a place to grow. Without direction from the top, though, there has been no safe place to park this money; no safe place, at least, in which long term growth has appeared likely no matter who would take the Presidency.

Across the Globe, Governments and Central Banks have been dumping money on the immediate problems; to try to cover losses; and to try to stop the selling; but what is missing is an overall plan to stabilize housing prices, and get Americans (and Europeans, and Asians) back to productive and sustainable work. Obama has a plan in the US to do this through middle-class tax cuts, infrastructure / energy investment, and other common sense measures such as extension of unemployment insurance. The goal is to help keep as many people as possible in their homes while they find a way to adapt to the changing Economy, as well as to provide an overall stimulus for smart growth. In addition, an Obama Presidency will likely bring some confidence to Investors around the World that the US Markets will be regulated, open, and fair to all investors. The long term Naked Shorting of stocks is an example of a reason for Foreign Investors to be wary of investing in US Securities, or of offering their shares on US Exchanges. We've recently seen the shinking of the Naked Short Threshold List down to a very few companies, and in fact, LDK has fallen off. Now we just need a President who will assure that these regulations are enforced.

Overall market conditions aside, this election will mark a turningpoint in the direction taken in US Energy Policy. Though the immediate need for Fossil Energy will be unchanged no matter who wins, the future under Obama will be clear, and it will be green. The Markets must move to reflect this once the decision is made.

Under McCain, for instance, you'd want to be invested in Fossils and Nuclear. The fact that McCain has paid lip service to Renewables does not counter his history of inaction, nor his active opposition to these technologies. His prioirities as President have been quite clearly demonstrated by his Campaign Activities. A great symbol of the McCain Camp's Antipathy towards renewables is Sarah Palin's recent visit to a US Solar Manufacturer, and her entirely inappropriate and uninformed littany of sales pitches for Coal, Nuclear, and "Drill, Baby, Drill." The term "Solar" was used twice.

Obama represents a sharp departure from this position, and he's stressed over and over that Energy would be his TOP Priority, and at the top of this list will be investment in a "Smart Grid," which will modernize the US Power Grid. The modernized Grid will provide High Efficiency transport of Electricity across the Nation, irrespective of start and end points. This is critical to supporting a Decentralized Power Production Infrastructure, such as we will see with the implementation Green Energy Production. For instance, if T Boone Pickens wants to install a Billion Dollars worth of Wind Turbines, then Obama would let him do it, and would make sure that when Pickens sets up a farm, he'll have access to Electricity Markets all across the US, without the limits imposed by todays outdated grid. Simultaneously, Obama supports moves to get as many cars off of gas as soon as possible. The end result of this will be lower demand for gas and oil, and higher demand for electricity.

Is it any wonder that big money has left the market, and stayed on the sidelines? Who's going to bet Billions of Dollars that a black man would become President of the United States? And then again, who's going to bet their Billions on a 72 year old man backed up by an(other) Incompetent Dominionist? I think we know the answer. Nobody is making either bet, but they've got to be getting edgy.

The big decision is tomorrow, and the markets will respond appropriately to whatever certainty follows. I can't wait!