Doubting Renewable Energy

big wind photo

Last week I spoke to a small group of investors about renewable energy, and the potential we see for certain renewable energy stocks in 2009. Now I don't typically do a lot of these types of meetings. Maybe four or five a year. To be honest, I'd rather these folks just read my weekly updates. This way, I don't have to jack up my carbon footprint by flying all over the country. However, for investors that are new to this sector, certainly it helps when you can ask direct questions and get direct answers.

Now over the years, I've come to expect two things from these types of meetings: A genuine interest in renewable energy investing, and the always-present disruption from some guy who thinks global warming is some kind of liberal trick or that more coal and more drilling makes more sense then building out a large-scale sustainable, renewable energy infrastructure. So it was really no surprise when, during my most recent meeting, the first question I received was from a gentleman who wanted to know why I would be so bullish on solar when there was no way it could ever generate more than just one or two percent of our overall power needs. Instinctively, I pointed to the NREL study which indicated that enough electric power for the entire country could be generated by covering 9 percent of Nevada with parabolic trough systems. This is a plot of land roughly 100 miles on each side. His eyes rolled, and a snicker followed.

Despite the overwhelming amount of objective, peer-reviewed data that essentially spells out the potential of renewable energy, some investors just don't want to be convinced. And that's fine. But it is a bit mind-boggling. After all, here we are today with an enormous opportunity to invest in something that's going to change the entire landscape of the world. Yet some just choose to remain stubborn, continuing to doubt the validity of renewable energy — just like those before us who doubted many of the things we take for granted today. Take a look:

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a practical form of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us" - Western Union internal memo, 1878

"Radio has no future" - Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, 1897

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value" - Marshal Ferdinand Foch, French military strategist, 1911

"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home" - Kenneth Olsen, president and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

Of course my favorite comes from the president of the Michigan Savings Bank who told Henry Ford's lawyer, Horace Rackham, "The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty — a fad."

Fortunately, Rackham didn't listen, and invested $5,000 in Ford stock. He later sold it for $12.5 million.

As Green Chip investors, we have chosen not to accept the premise that renewable energy is merely a novelty or fad. Instead, we are embracing what we believe is an industry that will offer the greatest investment opportunity of the twenty-first century.

Certainly there will be those who disagree. But we can't waste our time on those who refuse to look to the future while muddling around in the past. This is too big. The renewable energy revolution is not only upon's actually being strategized right now by the President-elect. The final straw, my friends, was the U.S. And after eight long years of fiscal irresponsibility and failed energy policies, we're now about to move this country, and the world forward.

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

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