This November 2004 Gary Scott message shows how an alert reader shares international business ideas and potential international investments by spotting trends in the energy field.
He wrote: “Gary, I thought I'd offer a bit of perspective that came to me as a result of the Cocoon concept.
“In this world of high anxiety about war, terrorism, flu vaccine shortages, global warming, environmental degradation and the suspicion that politics as usual will prevail and that it will not address these concerns, there comes a feeling of helplessness. For some, moving to a safe haven is helpful.
“For most, they are probably locked into locations because of jobs. Personal habits of inner peace and healthy eating and living are another area where people exercise self-control in this time where they might other feel out of control. All this is a kind of extension of a megatrend that John Naisbett called High Tech- High Touch, a kind of action-reaction to the impersonal world pushing in on us and our natural tendency to push back in ways that make personal sense to us. You have experienced these reactions in your own orientation to the farm, healing principles and investment activities that make sense in the overall context of a world seemingly going in the wrong direction.
“In all this, I think I have articulated a megatrend that fits in to everything above and will probably become the Next Big Thing, as microchips were in their day, computers in theirs, and the Internet was in the past decade: Energy. Perhaps it is just my spin because I live in the world of people's personal empowerment in the taking control of their own energy future. However, I think it's more than that. The price of oil is headed to $100/ barrel and more. Natural gas is an eyelash away from an all-time high. Electrical blackouts have occurred around the country. When analyzing why my clients buy solar power systems from me, I conclude that it is not strictly as a short-term investment. It's a means of personal empowerment in a world where they have little control over energy wars in Iraq, global warming, environmental degradation and an aging energy infrastructure that is vulnerable to terrorism or just sheer incompetence or complacency.
“Consider a few facts: There is a world-wide shortage of photovoltaic products, as Germany, Europe in general and Japan lead the charge to build a solar photovoltaic infrastructure as rapidly as they can. For PV materials I order now, I can't get delivery until next spring… maybe. In the past several years large corporations have been getting into the renewable energy business like never before: Sharp Electronics has gone from no presence in the US market a few years ago to one of the major players now. British Petroleum has a major market share with its a BP Solar division. Shell has created a solar division, has purchased Siemens Solar and now Shell Solar is one of the major players. Just last year, a promising company called Astropower built an interesting product, a solar PV shingle, used when integrating a solar PV system into new construction. They ran out of money, went through bankruptcy and their assets were purchased by GE Solar. I think the bug guys have spotted a megatrend here as well!
“Want to do more research on the future of oil supplies our food chain and energy/ environmental concerns? 'Eating Fossil Fuel,' by Dale Allen Pffeifer – www.fromthewilderness.com or how about 'Plan Now for a World Without Oil,' by former UK Environment Minister Michael Meacher, published 1/5/04 or 'The Party's Over,' by Richard Heinberg, New Society Publishers, March 2003 www.hubbertpeak.com, www.peakoil.com and www.oilcrisis.com This is a website we maintain on our solar powered server.
“Conclusion: I suggest to you and your readers that a personal investment in your own energy systems (as you and I have been talking about) is a better bet than putting more money away into gold or silver. It will yield immediate savings no matter what happens in the world. A prudent investment in companies that compete in this marketplace (like Vestas as you already suggested) will probably yield strong, positive results over the medium term future.
“Good investments in land off the electrical grid are possible with solar systems with battery back up. The savings in the cost of such land for being off-grid is likely to exceed the cost of a solar (or other renewable energy) system.”
I could not agree more with this reader and Merri and I are working toward these goals.
More on this tomorrow. Until then, good investing.