Tag Archive | "oil and gas"

More Electric Investing Ideas


Will the Volt put voltage back into General Motors shares?

electric-car

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

Probably not… because small is beautiful.

In this era of rapid change a company’s value is its idea… less its size and experience.   A monster organization like GM… even trimmed down comes from the muscle car experience. Changing course from the “Giddiyap 409” attitude to “Go Green” requires enormous effort.

Yet who will come out ahead?

Chinese? South Koreans…. even Japanese?  Europeans?

The Japanese and Europeans have the benefit with their small, crowded nations, narrow and winding roads. They have always had to think smaller than in the US, where soft big and fast were the norm.

Japan’s gas prices are almost double those in the US and Europe’s are sometimes triple…. so when America’s cars were getting bigger… Europe’s and Japan’s were shrinking.

The Chinese and South Koreans are relatively new to the game so their mindset may not be as formed.

Americans did not learn much from the 1980s oil crisis.  Americans made pretty crappy, small cars at that time… the Dodge Reliant…  yuck!  No wonder Chrysler went broke.

non-electric-car

The Ford Mustang had fallen from its great beginning to a miserable low and the Chevy Malibu wasn’t any better.  We should not be surprised that the Japanese grabbed so much market share.

non-electric-car

GM rebounded with the Suburban.  Ford watched F150 pickup sales soar. Chrysler  made the minivan an every day affair and American drivers moved from gas guzzling muscle cars to gas guzzling SUVS and trucks.

Here are reader comments from our last message about green investing.

Greetings Gary, Thank you for printing the electric engineer’s letter. He is a smart guy, and used good illustrations. In his passion for reminding us that a battery is like a bucket [of course he is right] he managed to throw out the benefits of the battery out the window.  I hope he doesn’t impede you from reporting on new tech you hear about in the future. We all knew what you intended. The real point is reducing our grid use [via wind solar, whatever] and being able to store it economically. If this battery works it is the breakthrough you reported.  Please don’t lose your passion, tell us as many of the details of the vision you see, please. Happy Trails, and keep up the good work.

No chance I’ll lose my passion! I have grand kids and my children are really passionate about this so they push me right along. From the investing point of view, I know that big problems create big opportunity and there are few bigger problems than environmental pollution.

Here is another reader:  In response to the solar battery section of this post, it may interest you to access National Geographic’s August’s “Picture of the Month”.  Scout around the site until you find the series of photos from their recent article on the current state of solar power technology.

You may know that the WSJ recently had an article about a meeting Correa had with a Russian delegation to discuss Russian help building a nuclear energy plant in Ecuador. The WSJ (which hates Correa) was on red alert. But the general feeling in other media is that the Russians are meddling in “our” backyard in response to us meddling in “their” former sphere of influence, particularly those missiles in Eastern Europe.  I continue to be puzzled why no one in Ecuador, or interested in Ecuador, is looking at developing a solar power industry. Apart from the obvious abundance of stable and intense year-round solar radiation, a distribution system along the north/south axis of the Andes would avoid all the problems of moving oil and gas through mountains and volcanoes from the eastern Amazon basin west to the Pacific ports for trans-shipment.

The lack of solar would seem a puzzle until one thinks it through. Solar power is still costly and poor nations tend to go with the least expensive choice.   Plus who would help?  Solar could make Ecuador independent and no one seems to have that on their agenda.

Mankind must become greener. This is a huge problem and because problems create opportunity, demand for electric cars that help the environment may continue to grow.

When looking at investment ideas in electric cars think small… the winners are not likely go come from America’s… big (mostly busted) three.

See Jyske Bank’s Financial Friday including an interview about electric investing in cars.

Gary

The greatest asset of all is the ability to earn globally in many currencies.

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October 16-18 Ecuador Southern coastal tour

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Join us with Peter Laub of Jyske Global Asset Management in Ecuador. Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business at the seminar.

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Electric Investments


Yesterday’s message looked at high voltage investments ideas.

In a moment we’ll see an Ecuador income idea.

First, here are some more electric thoughts about investing in energy.

wind-turbine

Investments in alternate energy can be profitable.  For example in 2006 we introduced the idea of investing in the Vestas Wind Turbine company.  The chart below from finance.yahoo.uk shows that this share has done really well… up four times even after the great 2008 correction.

Vestas-shares

Jyske can buy the VESTAS WIND ADR (VWDRY) of this share for US investors by the way.  Here is a chart from finance.yahoo.com of the ADR since it was introduced.

wind-turbine-chart

Jyske Bank currently has a buy recommendation with the current price of 378.50 Danish kroner  and a target price of 550 Danish kroner. Jyske considers this a HIGH RISK share and says:  Thanks to its market share of about 23% in 2007, Vestas Wind Systems is the world’s largest producer of wind turbines. The company began its production of wind turbines in 1979, and was listed on the stock exchange in 1998. Today Vestas produces and sells wind turbines in sizes from 850 kW to 3.0 MW. The company’s vision is to turn wind into an energy source equal to oil and gas.

They believe the shares are available at an attractive valuation. The company’s streamlining will continue to the benefit the earnings margins and despite the financial crisis, Vestas is facing high growth past 2009, and the management is experienced and strong.

You can get more details from Thomas Fischer at Jyske Global Asset Management at fischer@jgam.com (US investors) or Rene Mathys at Jyske Bank (non US investors) at mathys@jbpb.dk

Yet we must understand that not all alternate energy investments will go well.  See what I mean here.

Of course one malfunction does not mean much… this was just a dramatization… pointing out that we have to invest in a future…that we cannot truly see.

What can we do?

First, we can understand that we may not know the technology but we can know the trends.  Part of the future is in the here and now and we can pick up these trends.

Here are seven trends we can use to reflect upon when looking at new ideas for the future.

Trend #1: The rate of change will increase. This is self evident. Change is speeding up… so new products will not remain “in” as long.  This means bigger is not better. Ian Pierson, a futurist whom I know and respect, said that the value of a company is its idea… less its size and experience.  Fast and small have an advantage now.

Trend #2: The rate of private consumption will grow. From 1884 to 1995 private consumption just about doubled, but increased 25% in the past ten years. This means that the amount of money spent per person will continue to grow. This also means that the amount of discretionary income per person is growing.  There will be more people producing more.

Trend #3: There will be more automation. In the process of automation, mankind supplements muscles first, brains second and feelings third.

Trend #4: Age, gender and wealth are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Trend #5: There will be a shift of attitude from our brain to heart.

Trend #6: Families will turn more and more of their responsibilities to the market place.

Trend #7: The growth in markets will be for stories, not products.

When looking at new technology… run it past this list.  This will not tell you if the technology is best… but may help you understand if the product fits the trends.

Take electric cars as an example.

We have been thinking about electricity here at the farm for some time as we have great hydro potential.

Mark Owen has been helping us research this and sent us this note about electric cars.

Electric Car Idea

Those readers who were able to get to the final paragraphs of my Electric Bicycle article might remember that I myself wondered what the Electric Bike Industry might lead to. I questioned how the industry could become more mainstream, how could it address safety concerns, convenience, and of course speed. I also pondered the question: “Two wheels or Three?”

Aptera answers “Three.”

electric-car

Aptera

After completing the article I researched a new electric “car” named the Aptera Typ-2e. This is an extraordinary vehicle on many accounts. The reason I italicized the word car when describing this vehicle is that it will be considered a motorcycle by the US government. It has three wheels, two in front, one in back. The cockpit is teardrop shaped cocoon with airbags, two comfy-looking seats, and a very sophisticated dashboard. Many have said the interior of the cockpit makes it seem like you are in a small airplane.

I have seen this car featured by videographers, and it is purported to have extraordinary acceleration and top speed. Please visit the Aptera Forum for the latest specifications sheets

I am sure it will be faster, safer, and more convenient than my electric bike.

It will cost a little more, though. Aptera reports they will be delivering the first of their vehicles in October of 2009, for an estimated cost of between $25,000.00 and $40,000. This vehicle is by far my favorite of all the electrics You may see the Aptera and 26 other electric cars reviewed here

If any reader has access to the Aptera, please invite me for a test drive, no matter where you are.

Maybe in a few years, when Aptera gets their initial “bugs” worked out, and the price slides down a bit due to enhanced production, you will see me and my daughter grinning behind the wheel of one of these cars.

This car differs a lot from the Fisker Karma we reviewed in yesterday’s post.

Will people buy the stylish Karma or the more functional Aptera?

Each of these technologies may help a bit.  Some solar… some wind… hydro… better batteries and such plus most importantly energy use reduction.

Perhaps micro production and savings will be the in thing instead just as the PC overwhelmed the mainframe computer.

Mark for example has been looking at micro wind power for us.  Wind energy is normal considered expensive… but Mark shows here that it does not need to be.  He writes:

Gary, I was at the farm a couple of times this winter. I went to the top and felt the consistency and strength of the wind up there. I have done lots of research on the cost-effectiveness of installing a windmill system. These pre-made windmill systems are expensive. Even with consistent wind, it takes a long time for a windmill system to pay back its initial investment costs.

I researched making our own windmill. It will be easy and cost eight cents on the dollar. I have already purchased a 33 foot aluminum sailboat mast. It is quite strong and will handle a medium-sized windmill. I would like to purchase the remaining components. The motor would cost about $200.00 (motor/generator, they are both the same thing). I would also like to purchase a fan blade kit. I think after the initial purchase, I will be able to manufacture our own fan blades. I will produce a template from the purchased blades, then manufacture future blade systems from the template. I think I can purchase the blade kit for another $100.

Perhaps the way of we receive, store and use energy will evolve into many inexpensive, small devices each saving a bit… as PCs and then lap tops and now hand helped devices have altered the way we receive and transmit information.   

We can see a bit of this at Neuton Power.  I have used a Neuton Electric lawn mower for five or six years and finally the battery died.  When I called to get a new one, I discovered they also have electric weed eaters, chain saws, hedge trimmers, blowers and power carts. The rep explained that when they introduced their weed eater they were overwhelmed with 1,500 orders.

I have mine on back order. It will take months for them to fill demand… so electric replacing gas is in… perhaps for now in small ways… but watch for this trend to grow.

Here is another nifty idea that saves energy and could create a business opportunity in Ecuador… the solar or sun oven.

sun-oven

Sun ovens cook with the sun… no electricity… fossil fuel, wood, charcoal or any pollution are required.   This may offer a  business opportunity in Ecuador or anywhere sunny.  Learn more about solar ovens here.

Whether the savings are large…

wind-turbine

Worlds-Largest-Wind-Turbine-Generator

or small…

energy-saver

Neuton electric weed eater.

Investing in alternate energy is wise for the future.

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.

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Here are comments from a reader about the way we help:  Thank you for your inspiration and information outlining foreign banking and retirement.  Your comments and suggestions are welcome for planning the steps to evaluate the early stages of living abroad.

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