Alternative Energy Scam

Jeff Siegel

Written By Jeff Siegel

Posted February 7, 2011

If you watched Green Bay defeat the Steelers last night, chances are you also caught a glimpse of the new Chevy Volt commercial…

I certainly did. And of course, after it ran, all eyes were on me.

Friends, family, and a few people I don’t even know that well waited for me to chime in.

But what was I going to say?

This stuff isn’t new to me — or to anyone else who follows alternative energy trends. But not everybody in my living room last night follows these trends…

In fact my neighbor asked me why we don’t hear much about alternative energy these days, other than what we recently caught from the State of the Union Address.

Truth is, if you’re not an energy investor, you probably don’t know what’s going on in the world of alternative energy.

But that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening — especially when it comes to new deals.

Take a look at some of these new contract headlines from just last week:

  • Hanwha Solar to Supply 54 megawatts of PV to SunEdison in 2011
  • GE Signs Wind Services Agreement with Cobra Energia in Spain
  • Recurrent Energy Secures 180 MW Solar Module Supply for Projects in Ontario
  • Norsk Hydro Wins Orders for Tubing for Solar Collectors
  • Tempress Systems Receives $32 Million in new Solar Orders in January, 2011
  • JA Solar Signs Agreement to Supply 400 megawatts of Solar Modules
  • MKS Instruments Receives $10 Million Order from Chinese Solar Cell Manufacturer

And this only a very small sampling.

Truth is, last week — just like every week for the past five or six years — we saw hundreds of new alternative energy deals make headlines in industry and finance reports.

And we often look to these deals to get an accurate read on which direction this industry is heading.

In other words: It’s these kinds of deal announcements — not Washington rhetoric — that provide the quantifiable indicators we use to profit from the alternative energy sector.

Now, why am I telling you this?

Because of all the deals that I see week after week, rarely do any include “clean coal.”

Your tax dollars will fund this pig

As the bureaucratic chickenheads huddle up in Washington to put together a new energy plan, they’re going to push “clean coal” hard.

And who knows… Maybe if Senator Rockefeller and Senator Inhofe get their way, they’ll be able to take a few more of your tax dollars to fund these pig projects.

Interestingly enough, Senator Rockefeller has said in the past that we must take serious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; yet just last year, he spearheaded an effort to prevent the EPA from regulating carbon emissions.

And Senator Inhofe, who has probably been the most vocal in calling climate change a hoax — and whose list of 400 scientists who doubted global warming turned out to be about as credible as Lindsay Lohan’s 12-step program — all of the sudden wants to push “clean coal.”

Apparently, fat campaign contributions are enough to trump his take on climate change

In any event, if these guys are able to help the Obama administration waste a few more billion on this scam, then we’ll probably start to see some significant “clean coal” deals in the future.

But don’t get me wrong — I’m no fan of “clean coal.”

The whole thing is a lobbyist-funded illusion that does nothing to address the issue of peak coal; it basically helps us burn through our remaining reserves faster, because the carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) process ultimately ends up consuming a portion of the energy that’s actually produced at a plant.

According to peak energy expert Richard Heinberg, if CCS is implemented, it will increase the amount of coal required in order to produce the same amount of energy we rely on today. He estimated the “energy penalty” for CCS at 40 percent!


Pay attention to the Real Opportunity

The truth is, if you’re looking to make a few bucks in coal today, hold off on “clean coal” and pay attention to Crisis and Opportunity editor Chris DeHaemer…

He’s been making a fortune in coal by playing the trends — not the latest Washington scams. Take a look at what Chris wrote last week:

If you don’t own a thermal coal company, buy one today. The price is set to double.

Massive floods in Queensland, Australia — followed by the mother of all cyclones last week — have taken the majority of Australian coal off the market.

Australia is a larger supplier for China’s steel mills.

China has loads of poor quality coal used for heat and cooking, but is constantly locking up supply for high quality coking coal.

Heavy rains also dampened production in the strong coal-producing countries of South Africa, Indonesia, and Colombia.

In fact this demand is
so strong that Warren Buffett bought a transcontinental railroad to ship Appalachian coal to the West Coast and on to China.

West Virginia-based ICG is getting $110 to $230 a ton for met coal currently. Coal sold to electric power plants sells for far less than metallurgical coal, or around $73 to $77 a ton.

In other signs of high demand, Escom— the large South African utility — is lobbying hard for price controls.

In India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh created a ministerial level panel to sort out coal production.

The demand/supply shortage in India is expected to hit 142 million tonnes next year. This is after they set a record for coal imports last year. The Financial Times reported India’s imports are up 10 times in the past decade and will be up another 20% next year.

Chris is currently playing a thermal coal stock that’s trading around $17.

Just one month ago, that stock was going for roughly $8.50 a share. And Chris tells me that by the end of summer, it’ll easily be going for no less than 33 bucks.

You can read more about Chris and some of his other top picks here.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to play the alternative energy juggernaut today, stick with what works. Stick with what’s been making us a fortune over the past six years: solar, wind, geothermal, and energy efficiency & conservation.

This is no-brainer action that continues to help us make a ton of cash.

To a new way of life, and a new generation of wealth…

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Editor, Energy and Capital

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