2 August '10
9:23 AM UTC
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The Alternative Agenda: Kill the well, kill the subsidies, kill coal

Kill that well!

BP is of the formerly gushing Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.  The containment cap over the well has held but officials say it isn’t a long term solution.

Still, the job won’t be finished until the relief well is finished. Read More »

23 July '10
2:05 PM UTC
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The Week In Green Energy: The End of Cap -and-Trade… (For Now)

The decider....Convinced he didn't have the votes for a cap-and-trade bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has set his sights on passing a weaker energy bill.

It was a bad week for the renewable energy sector and the environmental community as a whole. For almost a year, since the House passed the historic American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), there was optimism that the senate would pass its own measure and finally bring forth the long-awaited comprehensive energy and climate change law. Yet, after months of negotiations, compromise and outreach the Senate Democratic leadership on Thursday afternoon decided not to push for legislation capping carbon emissions. They killed the Kerry – Lieberman American Power Act and its controversial cap-and-trade proposal.

This is a setback for the environmental community but also investors in cleantech and renewable energy companies. Indeed as key stimulus funding programs from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) expire, the green industry has been hungry for the sort of long-term certainty a cap-and-trade regime would bring. Some of the proceeds raised from the sales of carbon permits would have provided a sustainable funding stream to support greentech and renewable energy infrastructure. More importantly, pricing carbon would lay the groundwork for a market supported green industry rather than one largely supported by government handouts that were subject to the shifting winds of politics. Read More »

22 July '10
1:35 PM UTC
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Cornerstone Conversation: Edward Guinness, Guinness Atkinson’s Alternative Energy Fund

Edward Guinness, portfolio manager with the Guinness Atkinson Alternative Energy Fund

While many  cleantech investors these days are seeking venture-type investments, London-based Edward Guinness of prefers to back profitable renewable energy companies with established track records (yes, those do exist.) The firm’s Alternative Energy Fund (GAAEX), which Guinness helped launch in 2006, has been underperforming lately, (down nearly 30 percent year to date), but he remains confident that the sector and his fund will grow over the long-term, bolstered by an improving global economy and cheaper solar and wind power. Guinness shared with us his views on the BP spill and how  it will impact the U.S. renewable energy sector for our Cornerstone Conversation series.

Green Energy Reporter: Is cleantech a trend or a long-term investment opportunity?

Edward Guinness: First off, we wouldn’t be investing in the sector if we did not think we could unearth value for our investors so, yes, we believe renewable energy offers long-term value. Various factors have, in a relatively short time, helped turn renewable energy into a vital global industry. One is the growing cost of extracting oil, both in dollar-terms and, as we’ve been witnessing in the Gulf, environmental. Also, there is the the fleet of coal-fired power plants, especially in the U.S., that continue to age and which will have to be replaced, most likely in this carbon-constrained world, by wind, solar or even biomass power plants.  A constant backdrop to the rising clean energy investment flows are concerns of human-made climate change and energy security. Particularly in the U.S., where  renewable energy is largely understood as being a key way to cut overseas oil imports. Read More »

12 July '10
9:16 AM UTC
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The Alternative Agenda: BP, Exxon, Italian Solar and Solar By The Bay

BP Oil Spill: Progress In The Gulf

All eyes will be on the Gulf this week, closely following BP’s latest attempt to squash the massive spill. The British oil company announced over the weekend that it would be installing a tighter cap over its busted well, which if successful, could finally capture all of the oil spewing out of the well. The crude would then be funneled to containment ships at the surface. “The hope is that we can slowly turn off the valves, close the capping completely and then test pressure to see how the well is performing,” said National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen on CBS’s “The Early Show,” .
Read More »

9 July '10
4:32 PM UTC
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The Week In Green Energy: During Summer Doldrums Renewable Energy Funding Heats Up

The sweltering heat that has hammered the East Coast for the better part of the week did not dry up the renewable energy deal flow, as some developers managed to clinch crucial funding. And as is often the case these days — especially in the cleantech and renewable energy sectors — Washington was the de facto deal maker. Hence, as we headed into the Fourth of July weekend, some $2 billion in Department of Energy loan guarantees supporting solar developers.

Of the $2 billion announced by the President, Spanish company Abengoa Solar got $1.45 billion for the construction of the 250 megawatt Solana Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant in Arizona. Colorado-based start-up Abound Solar also scored a $400 million guarantee to scale production of its thin-film, photovoltaic modules from a current 67 megawatts to nearly 1 gigawatt over the next three years. Read More »

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