Earth Equity Advisors and other Institutional Investors Call on Duke Energy to Mitigate Coal Ash Risks

Solar Tariffs: It Could Have Been Worse

Solar cells imported into the United States will now face a tariff. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it could have been worse.

Here comes the most “dog bites man” news flash of all time. Ready? The President of the United States made headlines this week.

President Trump concluded the Suniva and SolarWorld tariff petition process by imposing a tariff on silicon solar cells and modules that are imported into the United States. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it could have been worse.

I’ve written about this situation before, see parts one and two if you want more of the backstory. And, you can find additional details on the tariff here, but I can give you the highlights as well. The tariff is for four years, and it starts at 30%, declining 5% per year to 15% in the last year. The first 2.5 gigawatts of imported solar cells are exempt from the tariff.

When the International Trade Commission recommended a tariff to the White House a couple months ago, the commissioners’ recommendations were slightly more severe. One commissioner suggested a 30% tariff on solar cells that declined by 1% per year for four years. Two others sought a 30% tariff on solar cells declining by 5% for four years (as the White House decided), but with a 1-gigawatt exemption amount. The fourth commissioner recommended a quota, outright restricting the gigawatts of solar cells that could be imported.

See! Could have been worse.

Look, it’s still unfortunate. The decision will cause more jobs in America to be lost than gained, simply because the majority of solar jobs in America are in the installation of panels, not the manufacturing of them. With an artificially higher price, fewer panels will end up being installed over the next four years.

Even still, this article by Bloomberg suggests the impact on installed prices won’t be crippling. According to Hugh Bromley, one of their analysts, the tariff will “increase costs for large solar farms by less than 10 percent and for residential systems by about 3 percent.” The reason is because solar cells make up only a fraction of the total costs to install solar panels.

If I’m a betting man, and I admit that I am, I would bet that declining costs in solar will continue to make it the smart play for our long-term energy future. Even though American solar energy did just have a protectionist tariff slapped on it, the last time I checked, the Sun was still blasting the Earth with free electrons on a daily basis. Fear not, fellow fans of a future with fossil fuel free energy (hehe, alliteration), solar still looks bright (hehe, pun).

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John Anderson Lanier is the Executive Director of the Ray C Anderson Foundation. Serving in this role has been an immense honor, and he feels privileged to work with his family to advance the legacy of Ray, his grandfather. Lanier’s passion for environmental stewardship was sparked by Ray’s example and story, and he never tires of sharing this story with others.

5 Eco-Friendly Smartphone Apps That Are Worth Your Time

Many of us try to make more sustainable choices on a daily basis, but sorting out how to go about making the best choices can be complex. There are so many eco-friendly smartphone apps to choose from that consumers risk being even more overwhelmed as they wade into the world of apps aimed at making environmentally friendly choices more accessible.

With the right technology on your side, you can streamline your efforts to live a more sustainable life. Our team picked five practical eco-friendly apps that meet the complex needs of consumers by making sustainable processes more streamlined and easy to understand.

For Product Evaluation, Go To GoodGuide

GoodGuide assists consumers in finding ethical, environmentally-friendly and ethical products. The company provides science-based ratings of personal care, household and food products. GoodGuide has rated over 75,000 products, and has teamed up with Target to provide ratings for many of the products sold in their stores. It’s important to note that GoodGuide provides independent, third-party ratings.

GoodGuide independently evaluates ingredients and delivers a detailed product rating based on criteria the user can personalize. Users can select the issues they find most important- organic or fair-trade certifications, for example- and evaluate products based on that criteria.

To learn more, visit GoodGuide online.

Leafully Helps You Understand Energy Usage

Do you want to understand your own energy usage, but have trouble knowing where to begin? You’re in the same boat as most consumers! Leafully is one of our favorite apps for those concerned with their eco-footprint and reducing carbon emissions.

Leafully is all about helping people understand energy usage. This app takes complex data about your energy usage and simplifies it into the understandable structure of a tree. Rather than just focusing on electricity usage, this app tries to offer the user a “total tree footprint,” or the amount of trees needed to offset the pollution created by your energy consumption.

The app uses consumers’ connection to social media to create environmental change. From their website: “Given this knowledge of the global impact of their behavior, people will start making habit changes. Our goal is to encourage them through connecting them with their friends. Through Facebook, people are rewarded by their peers for being a good global citizen by allow them to work together on key tasks.”

You Don’t Always Know Whether You Can Recycle That. IRecycle Does!

One of the reasons to download sustainability app is to make eco-friendly processes more habitual and easy to understand, so that people are actually able to integrate behaviors that reduce their carbon footprint.

IRecycle is a tool to help users understand what to recycle, how to recycle it, and what community resources exist for recycling items that you may not be able to toss in the bin.

Keep in mind that being a “bad” recycler can actually create a lot of unnecessary work and emissions. IRecycle can help you stay on top of your recycling game by connecting you with more than 150,000 ways to recycle products and materials ranging from glass to hazardous waste.

Carma Carpooling

Carma is a great option for reducing the environmental impact of your commute while saving money on tolls for opting for a high-occupancy commuting option. The app locates nearby commuters with a space in their vehicle using bluetooth, and then connects you to ride together.

When the vehicle passes through a toll plaza with two or more occupants, you receive discounts. Carma works with local governments to encourage high-occupancy commuting around the world, so if the service isn’t yet available in your area, you can ask them to set it up!

Waze: Get The Best Route Through Community

If you don’t know about Waze, you definitely should! The app evaluates your route for traffic, and automatically calculates routes that will help you save time and avoid wasting energy idling in a traffic jam.

The app works through peer-to-peer information sharing, so you get quick, real-time updates on the traffic conditions in your community. When everyone on the app works together, everyone saves gas, time and money.


Have you found an eco-friendly app that helps make your life more sustainable? Let us know your favorites!

Renewable Energy 101: Say Hello To Geothermal

Geothermal energy is simply the use of the heat from the earth we live on.

Generally, it’s captured by pulling hot water and steam from beneath the surface and once the heat energy is utilized, returning it in the form of warm water to be heated again.

Many regions of the world are already capturing geothermal heat for a sustainable source of energy to replace our reliance on fossil fuels. Geothermal plants account for more than 25% of the electricity produced in both Iceland and El Salvador (source).

Like other sustainable energy sources, the main cost for geothermal power is in the initial investment phase of building the plants.

However, running and maintenance costs are minimal because there’s no fuel used, and therefore no purchasing, transport, or cleanup costs involved in the operation of the plants. The cost can be recouped in a few years via a 30%-60% heating bill savings and a 25%-50% savings on cooling costs. (source) Because the hot water and steam utilized is renewable, scientists have surmised that with proper reservoir management of the steam and water levels, the energy potential in geothermal reservoirs will last literally billions of years. (source)

Because geothermal energy is predictable, it is an excellent resource for a base load of power which can be relied upon with remarkable accuracy.

This is not the case with solar and wind, which are weather dependent.

Geothermal capabilities can be harnessed on a grand scale, such as in Reykjavik, Iceland (pop. 118,000), where virtually every building is heated with hot spring water from the earth.

Both large and small systems can be installed depending on the needs of the property owner, and such a reliable source can reduce traditional energy costs significantly. (source)

Geothermal plants are not only beneficial as utility suppliers, but as direct power refineries for industries such as milk pasteurization and agricultural processing, and gold and silver mining facilities, and temperature regulation at fish farms. There’s also the potential for crop irrigation improvements around the western half of the United States, relieving a burden on rural water co-ops, private water conveyors, and the Western Area Power Administration. (source)

Benefits to local and rural economies are also realized through federal and state royalties paid by geothermal plants.

The Department of Interior’s Office of Natural Resources reported in 2013, geothermal power suppliers were responsible for around $15 million in royalties and rents from federal lands used for geothermal production. (source)

While geothermal power may not be as widely available due to location specific requirements such as proximity to volcanic and geyser activity or tectonic plate movement, the areas that are conducive to geothermal power can significantly benefit from the infrastructure advantages of well-paying jobs, influx of property taxes, and reduction of traditional power usage and savings on traditional utility bills through a resource more reliable and potentially more sustainable than fossil fuels—the earth itself.


PETER KRULL IS A REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISER. INFORMATION PRESENTED IS FOR EDUCATONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT INTEND TO MAKE AN OFFER OR SOLICITATION FOR THE SALE OR PURCHASE OF ANY SPECIFIC SECURITIES, INVESTMENTS, OR INVESTMENT STRATEGIES. INVESTMENTS INVOLVE RISK AND UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED, ARE NOT GUARANTEED. BE SURE TO FIRST CONSULT WITH A QUALIFIED FINANCIAL ADVISER AND/OR TAX PROFESSIONAL BEFORE IMPLEMENTING ANY STRATEGY DISCUSSED HEREIN.

Renewable Energy 101: The Power of Wind

As an option for sustainable alternative power resources, wind energy is in the forefront as a viable choice. It is a renewable resource, so the supply will never deplete, and unlike conventional power plants, wind turbines or wind farms produce no pollutants or greenhouse gases.

Wind energy is captured by windmills or wind turbines, which look like large fans with blades that can be as large as a football field. The wind turns the blades, which generates kinetic energy used to turn turbines attached to generators. The generators convert the motion of the turbines into electricity and feed into the power grid.

Small businesses or private residences can also harness wind energy with much smaller turbines connected to the power grid.

If the business or resident uses less energy than the wind turbine produces, it can actually result in credit from the power company.

Because wind energy is a drought resistant crop, farmers and ranchers have been taking advantage of its production as a way to supplement income alongside their planted crops and keep the land their families have worked for generations.

According to the Department of Labor, “wind turbine technician” is the fastest growing job in America.

As of January 2016, wind energy supports 88,000 high-paying American jobs, 21,000 of which are manufacturing.

The initial investment in a wind turbine, while having drastically decreased in the last 10 years, is still significant, with site preparation and installation of the machinery responsible for 80% of the cost. However, on a life-cycle cost basis, wind turbines are much more competitive than other technologies because there is no fuel to purchase and ongoing operating expenses are minimal.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of all is the projected health benefits of wind energy.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, as of 2015, wind energy produced $7.3 billion a year in public health benefits by cutting pollutants that contributed to asthma attacks and other lung diseases.

Drawbacks, however, include the weather-dependent nature of wind. The wind doesn’t always blow when electricity is needed, and the way the energy is harnessed, there’s currently no way to store power in times of surplus to be used in times of shortfall.

It is also not feasible for the power to be supplied over long distances. Those benefiting from wind farms are limited to the location where the wind blows strongest.

This, however, isn’t necessarily prohibitive, given highly populated coastal communities can benefit from offshore wind farms, like one being built off the coast of Long Island, just recently approved by the Long Island Power Authority in January 2017.

The goal is to add low-carbon energy sources to the power mix by producing 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind, enough to power 1.25 million homes and add high paying jobs while combating climate change. (Source)

With current estimates putting wind energy potential at ten times greater than the current US electrical consumption, wind energy, in combination with other forms of renewable energy, could be the wave of the future.


PETER KRULL IS A REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISER. INFORMATION PRESENTED IS FOR EDUCATONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT INTEND TO MAKE AN OFFER OR SOLICITATION FOR THE SALE OR PURCHASE OF ANY SPECIFIC SECURITIES, INVESTMENTS, OR INVESTMENT STRATEGIES. INVESTMENTS INVOLVE RISK AND UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED, ARE NOT GUARANTEED. BE SURE TO FIRST CONSULT WITH A QUALIFIED FINANCIAL ADVISER AND/OR TAX PROFESSIONAL BEFORE IMPLEMENTING ANY STRATEGY DISCUSSED HEREIN.

Renewable Energy 101: Hydro Power

Hydroelectric power, or hydropower, is the kinetic energy created by moving water captured by turbines and converted to electricity by generators.

Hydropower is actually one of the oldest forms of power production on earth, dating as far back as ancient Greek farmers using it for mechanical tasks such as grinding grain.

Paddlewheels were used in everything from mills and factories to boats built to cruise down the Mississippi River.

Hydropower is the product of damming up a river or lake and controlling the flow of that water through the dam. Used in conjunction with rainwater storage and proper management of the flow, hydropower harnesses a renewable resource that can’t be depleted.

Unlike wind and solar power, hydropower can be stored for times when the burden on the power grid is greatest.

Water can be pumped from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir during times of low power usage—like overnight, when power consumption is at its lowest—and released again to the lower reservoir during times of high consumption, where the volume of water released can generate more kinetic energy to transfer to the power grid via the generators.

While the infrastructure to build hydropower is extensive, maintenance and technological improvements over time are easily done, making it a heavy investment up front but cost effective in the longer term. With an average lifetime of 50 to 100 years, hydroelectric plants can benefit generations, and have the ability to go from zero power to maximum output very quickly, making them ideal backup systems for sudden changes in demand, such as power supply interruptions due to weather.

All 50 states have some form of hydroelectric capacity already in place, with places like Washington State getting 70% of their entire power supply from hydropower.

Eleven other states get more than 10% of their capacity from hydropower. (source) Dams can also produce recreational opportunities, with the lakes formed by the reservoirs providing ideal destinations for fishing, boating, swimming, camping, and other outdoor activities. Reservoir water can also be used for irrigation, and the dams themselves are often considered tourist attractions, like the Hoover Dam.

While the environmental impact of the placement of dams is a very important consideration, teams of environmental engineers can be brought in to assess how to minimize this impact. The implementation of fish ladders and fish elevators help reduce or eliminate changes to the migratory and feeding habits of those dependent on the water being used in the dam system.  Dams can (and do) control flood prone areas to keep people safe.

Less than 3% of the United States’ dams are set up for hydropower (source).

This leaves room for expansion of already existing infrastructure through renovation rather than new construction that will further impact the environment, and in the long run, hydropower runs far cleaner, is more controllable, and has the potential to provide much more than the 16% of total electricity function it produces today (source).


PETER KRULL IS A REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISER. INFORMATION PRESENTED IS FOR EDUCATONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT INTEND TO MAKE AN OFFER OR SOLICITATION FOR THE SALE OR PURCHASE OF ANY SPECIFIC SECURITIES, INVESTMENTS, OR INVESTMENT STRATEGIES. INVESTMENTS INVOLVE RISK AND UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED, ARE NOT GUARANTEED. BE SURE TO FIRST CONSULT WITH A QUALIFIED FINANCIAL ADVISER AND/OR TAX PROFESSIONAL BEFORE IMPLEMENTING ANY STRATEGY DISCUSSED HEREIN.

Renewable Energy 101: Get to Know Solar

The first thing to come to mind when the words “clean energy” are used is solar power.  Solar power simply means taking the energy emitted by the sun and converting it to electricity through the use of solar panels. Harnessing the power of the sun was one of the first ways people considered as a power alternative to the traditional power sources derived from coal and natural gas for the purposes of lowering greenhouse gases and our dependence on the finite stores of fossil fuels.

The sun’s rays produce two possible power alternatives to fossil fuels: heat and light.

Heat is best used in thermal systems reliant on temperature to run. The heat produces both hot water and hot air for commercial and residential heating, and can also be used to generate power through steam or sterling engines.

Light is used in photovoltaic (photo = light, voltaic = produces voltage) systems, which convert the light to energy. This conversion is the main area industry leaders are turning to for advancement of the solar power industry today.

As with wind energy, the investment in solar power is heavy upfront.

However, advancements in the technology used to produce more efficient solar panels, coupled with the current tax incentives, energy bill cost savings, and increased market value of the property once panels are installed, the cost is an investment worth considering.

According to The Appraisal Journal, the selling price of homes has increased by more than $20 for every dollar decreased on the energy bills of the properties. Additionally, studies in California through Clean Power Research show over the lifetime of a solar energy system (30 years), homeowners will save an average of $40,000, and the cost of installation of a solar energy system has come down 75% since 2009. The national average purchase and installation price of a solar energy system is between $12,000 and $20,000, with a 25-year warranty. (Source) Maintenance, once the system is installed, basically comes down to cleaning the panels once a year.

Considering the sun emits enough energy in one hour to power the global population for a year, solar energy is perhaps the most obvious way forward in the initiative to replace fossil fuels and our dependence on them. A new report by the US Department of Energy (source) states that solar power employed 43% of the Electric Power Generation sector’s workforce in 2016, while all three fossil fuels (coal, gas, and oil) combined for only 22%. Slightly less than 374,000 people were employed in solar energy, while fossil fuel generation had a workforce of slightly more than 187,000 jobs. The boom in the solar workforce can be associated with construction work focused on expanding solar power. Coal employment has fallen 53% over the last decade, while during the same period, electricity generation from natural gas has increased 33% and solar generation has expanded 5000%.

Solar energy is rapidly becoming the future when it comes to powering our increasingly electronic lives.

Next Economics and Investing: 2017 Message from Green Alpha Advisors

Guest article by Earth Equity’s friend and colleague, Garvin Jabusch of Green Alpha Advisors


Happy New Year & Welcome to 2017! 2016 was an interesting year, to say the least, and 2017 probably won’t be any less so. We [at Green Alpha Advisors] like to send out an update to clients and investors in our LLC at the beginning of each year, and we think long and hard each year about what is most important to convey in the overwhelming sea of information in which we swim.

When thinking about Next Economics™ and investing, it’s worth asking two questions: “What will the world’s economy look like in 10 and 20 years?” and” What would I like it to look like by then?”

Our answers should, at a high level, inform how we invest. In arriving at a well-informed thesis hinged on the efficient economy’s ongoing evolution-rather than the economy of the past-we can position ourselves to take advantage of high-growth areas, and have the effect of advancing a far more efficient economy, one with a better chance of thriving indefinitely. As a pop star once wrote (not the one who won a Nobel Prize), “If it’s a future world we fear, we have tomorrow’s seeds right here.”

Every year since founding Green Alpha, we’ve observed innovations emerge and compound like a fast-rolling, rapidly-accumulating snowball. Each innovation, improvement and tool in the economy is smarter than the last and is immediately put to work in the development of a new generation of smart tools. We’d write a book with a title like Special Topics in Next Economics 2017, but the pace of progress is so fast that it would be out of date before we could get it done. Still, within the larger context, there are a few trends and observations that stand out. Here are some of our focus areas for the coming year and beyond.

Renewable energies

They’re cheap and getting cheaper. In 2016, we saw the price of solar-generated electricity fall below that of wind, making it the least expensive source of power generation available – half the price of new coal. Wind and solar, being tech-based energy (as opposed to commodity-based), will continue getting cheaper, and generate more and more of the world’s energy until they ultimately have most of the energy market share. At some point, markets will understand solar for what it is and begin to value it appropriately. Companies like First Solar, Inc., and Canadian Solar Inc. are leading the transition in world energy, and if they continue to work on innovation, growth and maintaining strong fundamentals, they could find themselves among the world’s leading power companies.

Is renewable energy adoption at scale for real? President Obama just wrote about the “irreversible momentum of clean energy” in Science, and many of the world’s largest companies are on the same page, working towards running all operations on wind and solar. The poster firm for this is Geegle Alphabet Inc., which says it will hit its goal of 100% power from renewables this year. The company is a huge consumer of power, and its transition to wind and solar is resulting in large emissions cuts for the economy, as well as business stability and cost controls for their operations.

China is doing more to develop and install renewable energies than any other nation. Already the world leader in wind and solar capacity, China now says it will “plow $3618 into renewable power generation by 2020, and create more than 13 million jobs,” (via Reuters) leaving the U.S. in the dust. According to The Guardian, “China now owns five of the world’s six largest solar-module manufacturing firms and the largest wind-turbine manufacturer.” It’s also far and away the world’s leader in electric vehicle production and sales. What else? China is spending over $500 billion to expand high-speed rail. Its war on pollution and commitments to mitigating global warming are real, and China clearly is happy (and even excited) to accept the leadership mantle in sustainable economics, a title many perceive the U.S. has abdicated. Having taken the reigns on renewable energy and technology leadership, China is now shoring up its moral leadership as well, made apparent by Beijing’s recent announcement that it will now ban all imports of ivory.

Renewable energy – adoption, transportation, storage

What about renewable energy adoption, plus zero-emissions transportation, plus energy storage? Well, Tesla Motors, Inc. We don’t mention this company as a stock or investment recommendation, but rather as a primary catalyst and the firm at the nexus of the Next Economy. It’s close to impossible to overestimate Tesla’s importance. Tesla re-introduced, made sexy and popularized electric cars at a time when major automakers and oil companies were trying to prevent that from happening. Tesla’s ambitious approach to battery storage for cars and renewable energy has resulted in their Gigafactory, capable of doubling the world’s current annual output of lithium-ion batteries and lowering costs commensurately.
Don’t think storage is a particularly big deal? Consider just one example: after the massive Porter Ranch natural gas leak, the city of Los Angeles decided to invest in battery backup for its electricity supply instead of gas, and has hired Tesla in part to provide the systems. This is safer, more cost effective and promotes the use of renewable electricity generation. LA was among the first big cities to make this move.

Further, Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity and subsequent launch of the solar roof-which will generate power for your house and cost about the same as a traditional high-end roof-may result in far more widespread adoption of distributed solar generation in the U.S. and finally break our dependence on coal and gas electricity generation. Who knows what innovations Tesla will announce next, but it is already safe to say that Tesla’s emergence has been a watershed event for the future of the global economy.

What of Tesla’s plan to scale up mass-market electric cars? Will that become huge or remain
niche? Consider these developments: Germany, Holland and Norway have all taken steps to ban internal combustion engine-driven passenger vehicles between 2025 and 2030; more major economies surely will follow. India, for example, is now considering a similar move. Yes, these are ambitious goals that could easily be missed, but even if these nations get only halfway to their targets, it is not only incredibly bullish for any car maker selling EVs, it’s bearish for oil since ground transportation is its primary source of demand.

Farming

A New Yorker article said it best, “Vertical farming can allow former cropland to go back to nature and reverse the plundering of the earth.” Vertical farms are revolutionary for a number of reasons:

  • They use a fraction of the water required for traditional farming.
  • They’re close to or within urban centers meaning no need for long-haul transport.
  • Their indoor location eliminates the need for pesticides and herbicides, thereby mitigating multiple systemic risks (e.g. ocean pollution from agricultural runoff).
  • They can be maintained at a lower cost than conventional farming.
  • They’re more resilient to climate change.

No question, vertical farming is what’s next. Business Insider has posted a nifty photo essay of an indoor farm in Brooklyn if you’re interested in how that looks.

Additional key areas

Computing power. It’s becoming so massive that our collective ability to assimilate data is now and will increasingly be unprecedented. The question will become, what can we do with this power? And let us not forget the key related areas of cybersecurity and fast-emerging artificial intelligence and robotics, all of which are ushering in an era of heretofore unimagined economic efficiencies. What about the Internet of Things? After a slow start, it is coming into its own: “The falling cost of sensors and connectivity means the internet of things is finally a reality.” Lots of opportunities there. In medicine? Don’t even get us started on CRISPR-Cas9, a technique to edit genomes, thus opening up endless possibilities in medicine and biology, with equally endless humanitarian, ecological and commercial applications.

Okay, enough. We’re overwhelmed with innovations and breakthrough after breakthrough. We get it. For those of us trying to assimilate these changes and find the best path forward, the most important point is this: it’s in seeing the world for what is is becoming and not for what is was that investors and markets are going to allocate capital to manage risks and profit from new opportunities. This all leads, not accidentally, in the opposite direction from fossil fuels.

Lord Nicholas Stern recently said, “Strong investment in sustainable infrastructure–that’s the growth story of the future. This will set off innovation, discovery, much more creative ways of doing things. This is the story of growth, which is the only one available because any attempt at high carbon growth would self-destruct.” More pointedly, the Investment Bank division at Morgan Stanley in 2016 advised clients that long term investment in fossil fuels may be a bad financial decision, writing, “Investors cannot assume economic growth will continue to rely heavily on an energy sector powered predominantly by fossil fuels.”

What both Lord Stern and Morgan Stanley understand is that the world has changed and our approaches to investment need to change with it. This is the heart of Next Economics and Next Economy Portfolio Theory.

It is funny and yet poignant that some astrophysicists classify humans as constituting merely a Level Zero Civilization, with nearly infinite scientific and technological prowess yet to be realized. Well, we’re not qualified to evaluate that theory, but what we do know is there is so much progress being made in so many areas, that we wake up every day excited to think about the world anew and uncover opportunities.


This article should not be construed to be investment advice. At the time we’re distributing this article, some Green Alpha client portfolios hold long positions in First Solar (FSLR), Canadian Solar (CSIQ), Alphabet (GOOG), and Tesla (TSLA). These holdings do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended for advisory clients. You may request a list of recommendations made by Green Alpha in the past year by emailing a request to any of us. It should not be assumed that the recommendations made in the past or the future were or will be profitable, or will equal the performance of the securities cited as examples in this document. Not all Green Alpha separate accounts or our sub-advised mutual fund hold the stocks mentioned in this article. No Green Alpha investment portfolio holds a position in Morgan Stanley (MS).

Three Investment Strategies To Tackle Climate Change

We’re proud to be featured in a new article at U.S. News and World Report, “Three Investment Strategies to Tackle Climate Change.”

EXCERPT:

In a post-election climate where much of an incoming White House administration is filled with anti-climate change proponents, some investors are trying to take a public stance.

Peter Krull, president of Krull & Co., a socially and environmentally responsible investment firm in Asheville, North Carolina, says he’s seen a surge in investors who are interested in investing in more sustainable companies since the election in November.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Guest Blog – Next Economy: Election Aftermath

If you believe in the continuing evolution of the economy towards innovation-driven sustainability and economic coexistence with our fragile earth systems, then this has been a rough week.

So, what happened? We can cite a number of likely reasons behind Trump’s victory, but here are the ones that stood out to us.

  • First, people are extremely angry about the ever-widening economic and social inequality and inequity they have been experiencing the last couple decades, and they can see that the main beneficiaries of this inequality are never held accountable (only one banker jailed after 2008, for example).
  • Second, half of the nation – or 47% of the electorate anyway – has been convinced by an ideology that claims the best way to fight inequality is to pass policies that actually cause more inequality. Jane Mayer’s book Dark Moneydoes an excellent job of explaining how this happened.

Unfortunately, this ideology has negative implications for the Next Economy. Next Economics at its core reflects the ongoing process of de-risking the global economy of its most serious long-term threats, those being the worst outcomes of climate change, resource scarcity, and widening inequality. The risk of inequality itself has now driven an election result that will slow progress on managing all real systemic risks.

We’ve always said that U.S. political risk is one of the scariest things about managing for the Next Economy, because so much policy and business is driven by the owners of legacy economy energies, utilities, transportation and so on. “The next president has questioned the science of climate change, vowed to withdraw from the Paris agreement on global warming and pledging to stimulate production of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel,” is how Bloomberg put it. Meanwhile, many of the world’s leading institutions (the World Economic Forum at Davos, for one) still cite climate change and the erosion of social cohesion as the most dangerous and pressing economic risks confronting the world. The global economy can, must and will rise to meet these challenges.

The transition to an economy based on businesses that are more efficient, less risky, and more profitable remains inevitable; and the realities of the global economy’s exposure to climate and social risks remain the same. Much of the world still understands this, and a Trump presidency will set back U.S. technological and political progress behind the rest of the world, at least temporarily. As Michael Liebreich of Bloomberg New Energy Finance tweeted, “So this is interesting. I will continue to inform decision-makers about the world’s unstoppable transition to clean energy and transport.” Our economic evolution continues, but which nations and regions benefit first and most by taking advantage of the most incredible advances may now be an open question.

Critically as well, America’s most economically powerful states – led by New York and California – will continue to support sustainable technology and renewable energies in pursuit of greater economic growth. Indeed, we did see some bright spots the other night: Florida solar advocates celebrated a major win as voters rejected a utility-backed amendment to limit solar energy development. It is unlikely that wind energy in America will suffer much either: “Seventy percent of U.S. turbines are in low-income rural areas,” according to Bloomberg, saying, “Wind Is the New Corn for Struggling Farmers.” In fact, the five states generating the largest fraction of their electricity from wind all voted for Trump. The economic, health and other benefits of clean, renewable energies are winning despite political rhetoric.

We need to continue investing in the zero-risk economy, and we still stand to earn outsize returns as the Next Economy gains market share away from the legacy economy. The investment decisions affecting climate change we make collectively and globally in the next few years will reverberate for centuries and affect billions of people. A Trump presidency does nothing to change that.

In the long run, economics drive the future and policy follows, not the other way around. Coal isn’t in terminal decline for any reason other than it is no longer economically competitive; solar isn’t the fastest-growing energy source in the world because of the Paris Accords, but because it is incredibly economically competitive. No administration can change that. They can only make it more or less timely.

The road ahead may not be as smooth as we once imagined, but we still got this.

Garvin Jabusch is the Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer at Green Alpha Advisors. At Green Alpha, he is responsible for managing the firms’ four Next Economy portfolios. Garvin has appeared numerous times on CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com and other media outlets and publications on green and clean tech investing. Visit www.greenalphaadvisors.com for more information.