Tag Archive | "renewable solar electric energy"

High Voltage International Investing


Here are some international investing ideas that could bring a shock.

We can add energy to our international investment portfolios with investments in green energy!

electric-car

Will the new Chevy Volt add energy into an investment portfolio?

But which green investments make sense?

Ecuador for example is regreening the Galapagos. We’ll see why and how in a moment.  Does investing there provide an opportunity?

Green and alternate energy is important because the world has a lot of wasted energy in modern lifestyles…. that the environment can no longer afford.

Investing in electric energy not always simple though.

One main rule of good investing is to invest in what you know.  Yet the nature of the next new era of productivity is unknown.

In the computer era, who knew anything about Windows when Microsoft began?  In the .com era who knew what impact the internet would bring?  How can we imagine the unimaginable?

Who knows what will be …”the thing” of sustainability in the future?

For example, a recent message Investing in Chaos looked at the ideas of investing in new battery technology.  The idea looked pretty good to me… but a reader just sent me this note:

Hello Gary,  Your columns are a daily joy to read for me, including yesterday’s “Investing in Chaos” and the article it referenced about Ceramatec’s ‘wonder battery’.  Being a specialist in renewable solar electric energy, I’ve read hundreds of articles over three decades written for purposes of sensationalizing hardware equivalents of software ‘vaporware’, and this one fits the bill perfectly.

Identifying truly new technologies possessing wide ranging, paradigm-busting potential, is not easy, especially for readers and investors depending upon what they read in popular sources like newspapers as being bona-fide journalism.

Having received a great deal of very high value from your writings, I thought I’d send back a few words given this topic is so near and dear to my own heart and personal passion for purity in all things energetic (physical and otherwise).

Because breakthrough technologies involving renewable energy – especially solar-electric (photovoltaic) power, including batteries of all types – is core and central to my own life career work as an electrical engineer and research scientist in this field, I believe I can offer your readers a bit of technical feedback:

First and foremost, it is valid that storage of electricity generated by photovoltaic solar power sources – in batteries of many types, sizes and costs – is nearly as vital a technology as the solar cells that charge them. The claim in this article, though, that Ceramatec’s battery ‘concept’ (NOT a product yet, by a very long shot)”… could be the single most important breakthrough for clean, alternative energy since Socrates first noted solar heating 2,400 years ago.”

This is a huge overstatement, to say the least.

In no way would their technology, if and when ultimately developed into a useful product, compare to any one of a long list of truly authentic alternative energy breakthroughs, such as: silicon semiconductors (solar cells), electronic devices (MOSFET transistors, integrated circuits galore), power conversion methods (inverters), optical lenses (fresnel and others), super-insulators (thermal barriers), or even plain old window glass (for passive heating and active heat collectors).

Although several errors and misstatements fill the article, one in particular really stands out.

Readers may recognize its error quickly when explained economically: …”With the batteries expected to sell in the neighborhood of $2,000, that translates to less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour over the battery’s life. Conventional power from the grid typically costs in the neighborhood of 8 cents per kilowatt hour”

Re-read that last paragraph and let the information really sink in.

Knowing that batteries, like bank accounts, only store what’s put into them, the essential question  is: where do deposits come from, and what do they cost?

In solar energy systems, it’s solar energy in that equals energy out.  With the battery being not a SOURCE of energy but simply a ‘bank’, or RESERVOIR in which to temporarily store what’s generated by day for use at night.

Stating the daily cost of a battery (“less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour”), which, remember, supplies NO power (it only stores it) while in the same sentence making NO mention of the cost of what DOES supply the power, whether it be solar panels, wind turbines or just the normal electric-utility grid, implies at best and misleads at worst that the battery cost is all that counts, as if it were the SOURCE of the power itself.

And then comparing it so favorably to the cost of electricity from the utility (8 cents per kilowatt hour) which DOES SUPPLY ALL the power, is obviously grossly misleading; the TOTAL cost would be the sum of BOTH, or 3 + 8 or 11 cents per kilowatt hour!

Either the author has near zero understanding of what batteries do (store energy) and do not do (generate it), or as is often the case in local newspapers writing about local businesses, another agenda is being served.  To tell readers that “buckets deliver water cheap without being refilled”, can only cause misplaced interest.   Unfortunately, every bucket and battery and bank account must be refilled at some cost. The cost of the bucket should be, and usually is, nearly negligible. Cheap buckets do not mean cheap water.

Many thanks for all you do to bring so many new ideas, concepts, tools and awareness to all of us readers who tune into your thinking regularly.

The reminder from this reader provides a good lesson that we always have to use diligence in understanding the future. And aren’t we thankful when readers can come forth with information on these complicated subjects!  When we invest in new ideas and technology that we do not know… go slow!

The same questions can be raised about electric cars.

electric-car

The picture above is from a USA Today article entitled “Plug-in Fisker Karma car is stylishly environmental” by Chris Woodyard.  Here is an excerpt: Even as Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Rolls-Royces prowled the avenue, the obscure silver sedan parked at the curb gathered its share of stares and curiosity.

The Fisker Karma, as it is called, has looks that rival a Mercedes-Benz roadster. Yet the key to what makes it different is emblazoned on the sides in chrome letters:

The maker, Fisker Automotive, is trying to carve out a niche in what is fast becoming a crowded field of next-generation electric vehicles: a high-performance eco-car loaded with style.

The company has taken more than 1,400 refundable deposits so far for the Karma, which has a starting price of $87,900 and can top $100,000. The car can be driven for 50 miles on electric power alone before its auxiliary gasoline engine fires up to generate more juice and extend the range to up to 300 miles. The engine never directly drives the wheels.

The point never mentioned is the cost of electricity to charge the Karma.

This cost may not be much… I do not know and this is the point.  Use diligence as we move into new technologies.

See Jyske TV for an interview with Henrik Fisker the head of this company

Galapagos Green

Even Galapagos is turning to solar and wind power. Every year, more than 140,000 tourists descend on Galapagos and the island’s population has tripled to nearly 30,000 in the past two decades. To support all those people, 10 million gallons of diesel fuel and gasoline are shipped to the Galápagos annually, a fifth of which is used just to generate electricity. Regular tanker traffic in one of Earth’s most fragile ecosystems is a disaster waiting to happen (just ask an Alaskan), so the Ecuadoran government is trying to go green. Naturally, the remote location involves challenges, but several projects to cut fuel use and boost protections are up and running, with more in the works. See how Galapagos is becoming more green here.

Gary

The greatest asset of all is the ability to earn wherever you live, which brings everlasting wealth.

This is why we offer our course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business.

A clear mind and healthy body are also a vital assets… plus a second language is a powerful diversification tool.

This is why I am willing to pay you $300 to attend either our Ecuador Super Thinking plus Spanish seminar in September or our North Carolina International Business & Investing seminar in October.  Sign up for either seminar and I will email you our Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course (offered at $299) free plus I’ll knock an extra dollar off your seminar fee…. to round up the $300 savings.

Here are comments from a reader about the way we help:  Merri, I am sitting here with a smile on my face.  I am always amazed at the turn around that I get from my emails to you.  I know you are busy with all of the projects that you and Gary address on a daily basis and appreciate very much you making time for mine.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and diversification in Ecuador at the seminar.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina with our webmaster  David Cross & Thomas Fischer of JGAM

October 16-18 Ecuador Southern coastal tour (early sign up before Sept. 1, $499 per person).

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador seminar or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799

Read the entire USA Today article Plug-in Fisker Karma car is stylishly environmental

International Investment Purification


What is the difference between health and wealth? Not much, just WH.   They are very connected. Without good health, wealth may not last long…  nor is wealth very important when health fails, except to regain health.

We can apply an idea about having better health through purification, to enhance our wealth.  We can improve our wealth by removing toxic investments from our portfolio.

In a moment we’ll also look at investing in sustainable timber and see an Ecuador visa update.

sustainable-investment

Sustainable Timber.

First, let me begin with a purification health tip.

The tip is in the summer eat a watermelon.  Many ancient healing traditions (including Andean) view the body as having several elements including water, fire and air. Imbalances of these elements reduces energy, vitality, even leads to illness. The seasons too contain elements of fire, water and air. Water is predominant in spring, fire in summer and air in autumn-winter. Our bodies tend to accumulate these predominances during the season. In winter we have air imbalances (leading to dry throat called colds). In spring we pick up too much water (runny noses we identify as allergies, etc.). So at the beginning of each new season, it’s a great idea to clean the system out.

Watermelon is a cleanser of heat. During the summer the body accumulates heat.  Eat a whole, big watermelon if you can. This works in the summer when the flushing action removes excessive fire, water and air. The melon must be fresh, cut and eaten within 20 minutes. Watermelon is a sponge that absorbs and flushes free radicals from the system. If you let the melon sit after cutting, it oxidizes and loses its cleansing capacity.

Sound crazy? I thought so but tried it after watching a Shaman prescribe it for a woman suffering a severe rash (a summer fire imbalance). I felt so good, I make this a regular habit each summer. About once a month I eat only watermelon… three in a day if I can.

So how do we purify our investment & business portfolios?

One really simple tip for detoxifying your investment portfolio is to sell your losers and keep your winners.

This sounds awfully simple but forty years of working with investors has shown that most investors do exactly the opposite… except the pros. They all know… sell the losers.  Next time you invest, set a limit you will allow the investment to drop before you sell.  Stick to it!

The second trick is review your portfolio now. Are there any investments you hold that you would not buy right now?  Consider selling them. Take the loss and look for something better.

Another way to purify business and investments is to simply take a holistic long term view with expanded horizons.

Since we were looking at watermelon purification, let’s take investments in nutrition as an example.

Here is an excerpt from an article in Time magazine entitled “The Real Cost of Cheap Food” by Bryan Walsh:

Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won’t bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He’s fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he’ll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That’s the state of your bacon — circa 2009.

The U.S. agricultural industry can now produce unlimited quantities of meat and grains at remarkably cheap prices. But it does so at a high cost to the environment, animals and humans. Those hidden prices are the creeping erosion of our fertile farmland, cages for egg-laying chickens so packed that the birds can’t even raise their wings and the scary rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among farm animals. Add to the price tag the acceleration of global warming — our energy-intensive food system uses 19% of U.S. fossil fuels, more than any other sector of the economy.

And perhaps worst of all, our food is increasingly bad for us, even dangerous. A series of recalls involving contaminated foods this year — including an outbreak of salmonella from tainted peanuts that killed at least eight people and sickened 600 — has consumers rightly worried about the safety of their meals. A food system — from seed to 7‑Eleven — that generates cheap, filling food at the literal expense of healthier produce is also a principal cause of America’s obesity epidemic. At a time when the nation is close to a civil war over health-care reform, obesity adds $147 billion a year to our doctor bills. “The way we farm now is destructive of the soil, the environment and us,” says Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

First Lady Michelle Obama’s White House garden has so far yielded more than 225 lb. of organic produce — and tons of powerful symbolism. But hers is still a losing battle. Despite increasing public awareness, sustainable agriculture, while the fastest-growing sector of the food industry, remains a tiny enterprise: according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), less than 1% of American cropland is farmed organically. Sustainable food is also pricier than conventional food and harder to find. And while large companies like General Mills have opened organic divisions, purists worry that the very definition of sustainability will be co-opted as a result.

But we don’t have the luxury of philosophizing about food. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil — which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills — our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy — demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 — but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs — and bland taste. Sustainable food has an élitist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants — and as every farmer knows, if you don’t take care of your land, it can’t take care of you.

Big problems create opportunity and investments in apparently obscure but sustainable food and energy ideas can help take toxicity out of your business as well as investment portfolio.

Sustainable may not seem profitable now… but neither did Microsoft when the idea of individual PCs began.

Sustainability is vital to our future. Sustainability is a huge problem and hence opportunity so though it will not arrive overnight…this is a sector we can invest in to detoxify our wealth.

Since we are connected to our investments… this process will also help us learn to eat and live better and help purify our health as well.

Sustainable Tables

Another way to purify your portfolio is to look for opportunities where you invest your own energy as well as your cash… like we are doing with our value added sustainable timber below.

Here is one little idea we are trying in our new little Blue Ridge Crafts business.

For years I have written that timber is a great investment.  Timber is the only commodity where the supply increases even when demand is down.  All you have to do during bad times… of low demand… like now is don’t sell.  Your timber continues to grow!

Now we are doing a business using dead timber and adding value!

We are turning dead wood, like this poplar log, into a business.

sustainable-investment

This poplar sitting right behind our house died a few years ago and dropped branches on the house all winter. This spring we trimmed off the branches and last week brought it down… cut it in three pieces and dragged them to one of our fields.

We set up a portable mill and…

sustainable-timber

cut over a thousand board feet of nice poplar planks.

sustainable-investment

We also…

sustainable-timber

cut one huge 13 foot long slab for a table top so if anyone is interested in a 12 foot poplar table… that you help design yourself… let us know.

This is a pretty small step towards sustainability but if we all think about ways to purify our investments, our business and body, our health and our wealth…at the big level and small will improve.

Ecuador Visa Update

A reader who travels frequently in business asked how to handle  the fact that Ecuador immigration policy does not allow a new resident to leave for more than 90 days a year for the first two years.

We checked with one of our Ecuador Living advisers, an attorney who specializes in immigration, who replied:

Please notice that in theory all resident visas come with the obligation not lo leave Ecuador for more than 90 days a year in the first two years.

Nevertheless, please be advised that authorities until now have not automatically removed a resident visa for this matter.

We have noticed that once the visa is stamped and if the passport is valid for more than two years, then you do not need to go to the Ecuadorian immigration authorities for anything else. This reduces the risk of the authorities reviewing how long you have you been outside of Ecuador during the first two years.

A good number of our clients have obtained the resident visa and have been outside of Ecuador far more than the 90 days with no complication whatsoever.

Anther option is to travel into Ecuador on a tourist visa which allows a stay in Ecuador for up to 90 days every year and this can be extended  for 90 days more.

Whether you want to live, do business or and invest in Ecuador, Smalltown USA or anywhere in the world… if you think sustainable, you are thinking… the future. This is a great place to be.

Gary

How We Can Serve You

Read the entire article “The Real Cost of Cheap Food” here.