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Renewable Energy Handwriting is on Walls all around the World

By Peter Lynch
Exclusively for InvestorIdeas.com
July 07, 2007

However, there is “Good News” and “Bad News”

The good news is that the handwriting is positive, progressive and clearly shows the way to a bright solar and renewable future for the US and the world.

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The bad news is that either there are no walls in Washington DC or our “leaders” need new glasses or worse still, cannot read.

Below are a number of headlines that I have collected over the past couple of weeks. These are from many different publications and newspapers, with NONE of them coming from solar or renewable energy publications. In addition, it is especially interesting to note the three surveys at the end showing clearly and with overwhelming percentages what the American public WANTS.

What is amazing is the widespread nature of these headlines and the clear trend that they are showing. Americans are finally starting to wake up to the fact that we need to start to take concrete actions to:

  1. Address global warming and climate change and
  2. Get America off of its incredibly dangerous dependency on foreign oil and on to clean, green renewable energies.

Unfortunately there does not seem to be many of these “WALLS” in Washington DC for our “leaders” to see and realize that the rest of the world is wide awake and fully engaged in moving forward and actively addressing these critical problems. Meanwhile, they continue with their “energy politics”, as usual, instead of moving forward with an “energy policy”.

State governments, major corporations, foreign governments and individuals see the “handwriting on the wall” and are embracing change. They realize that the end of the oil era is at hand and a bright new era of clean renewable energy is approaching – with or without any assistance from Washington.

2007-06-15
SEN. HATCH, CANTWELL, OBAMA INTRODUCE PLAN TO PROMOTE PLUG-IN HYBRIDS
Senate Finance Committee members today introduced a bill to help develop commercially viable plug-in hybrids and other electric-drive vehicles, which would shift the nation from its dependence on liquid fuels and toward much cleaner - and cheaper - electricity for transportation.

2007-06-15
Hertz, Avis to add hybrid cars to fleets
Hertz Global Holdings Inc. said Thursday it will spend $68 million to add 3,400 Toyota Prius hybrids to its fleets by 2008.

2007-06-15
Renewable energy funds are booming
Many outperform the S&P 500. 

Jamaican Flourescent Bulbs and Solar Water Heaters
Philip Paulwell, Jamaica's energy minister, declared that by the end of 2007 all Jamaican households will be outfitted with compact flourescent light (CFL) bulbs. Preceding the news out of Jamaica was an announcement by the Canadian Government that import of incandescent (filament) light bulbs into that country will be banned by 2010. Government-owned hospitals in Jamaica are all outfitted with solar water heaters. More than 85 percent of Barbados' households have solar water heaters.

Climate Resolutions Get Big Support from Shareholders
Votes for shareholder resolutions that would force General Motors and ExxonMobil to take action on greenhouse gas emissions received record levels of support at the companies' annual meetings.  

Wachovia Announces Plans for Green Building, Banking
From GreenerBuildings.com
The company will build 300 LEED-certified banks nationwide, starting with eight in California this year, and constructing new, green headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.

Dell Makes Plans to Be the Greenest Tech Company
From GreenerComputing.com
Dell has launched a long-term, global effort to reduce the carbon emissions of its operations, suppliers and customers, with the goal of manufacturing the 'greenest P.C. on the planet.'

G.E. to Double Investments in Renewables to $4B
With its purchase of a Canadian hydroelectric plant and investments in two wind farms, G E's Energy Financial Services has begun a plan to double its investments to $4 billion by 2010.

G.M. Plans to Accelerate Production of Electric Cars
The automaker announced two new contracts designed to speed up the production of electric batteries for its Chevy Volt, and its CEO said alternative fuel vehicles were a high priority for the company.

July 3, 2007 Delaware Passes RPS with Solar Carve-out The Delaware General Assembly passed a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) early Sunday morning that will require 20% of the state's electricity to come from renewable resources by 2019, with 2% of that energy coming from solar.

July 3, 2007 Oregon Approves 50% Solar Tax Credit Oregon's legislative session has ended -- and June 2007 will be remembered as one of the sunniest month on record. Building on the momentum of its new Renewable Energy Standard, Governor Ted Kulongoski recently signed several key solar policies designed to encourage solar manufacturing and the installation of solar hot water and photovoltaic (PV) systems in the state.

Recent Surveys Overwhelming Show that the American Public wants Solar

Consumers Want Energy Independence, Still Say 'NIMBY'

Source: ClimateBiz.com

NEW YORK, June 8, 2007 -- A new study by RBC Capital Markets finds that almost all Americans say the country needs to be self-reliant in its energy production, but don't want traditional energy plants in their hometowns.

On the issue of alternative energy, a resounding 87 percent said the U.S. government needs to act immediately to encourage and reinforce the development of alternative energy sources with subsidies and incentives. Six in ten people said they would sanction the construction of a solar plant in their hometown and 57 percent would endorse the construction of wind turbines in their hometowns.

Among the other highlights of the survey are:

  • 74 percent of Americans said they would consider a candidate's stand on energy issues when voting in the 2008 presidential election, up from 49 percent who did so in 2004
  • When asked, "Will the United States find a solution to its energy problems in your lifetime?" 57 percent said no. Even the survey's youngest respondents (18 to 24 years old) did not believe the nation would find a solution to its energy problems in their lifetimes, with close to half (48 percent) expressing disbelief
  • Three-quarters said that companies who adopt and comply with environmentally friendly and energy efficient standards should receive a meaningful reduction in corporate taxes
  • One-third of SUV drivers said the publicity surrounding energy consumption and climate change has caused them to second-guess the benefits of owning an SUV

New Solar Homes Outpace the Market Over 2 to 1 – 30 May 2007

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 30, 2007 - For eight communities in the Whitney Ranch residential development in Rocklin, Calif., outside Sacramento, an average of 1.9 homes have sold each month since 2006. A ninth community, Grupe Homes' Carsten Crossings, stands out with more than twice as many sales, or an average of 4.6 homes sold per month over the same time period.The notable difference between the communities is that the community selling homes more than twice as fast, Carsten Crossings are solar powered.

American Public Solar Home Survey – 1 June 2007

Majority of Americans Favor Solar on New Homes.According to a recent Roper survey commissioned by Sharp Electronics Corporation, nearly 90 percent of Americans think that solar electricity should be an option for all new home construction, up significantly from one year ago (79 percent). Three-quarters of survey respondents perceive solar power to be more important than ever, evidence that Americans recognize the value of solar as a clean, renewable form of energy.

The Trend has Shifted to Renewables

These headlines are certainly encouraging and the surveys are overwhelmingly clear that the trend has changed and that the time of transition to renewables has begun. It is unfortunate that the US government is moving so slowly. We should be “leading” the transition, not being dragged, kicking and whining, toward a future that is good for all of us. The government will eventually catch on, perhaps with the next administration, and hopefully be able to accelerate the transition even more. The direction is obvious and the timing is now.

As one of the great men of the 20th century and one of our greatest Presidents once said:

“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources and we have just reason to be proud of our growth. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils shall have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields, and obstructing navigation…The natural resources I have enumerated can be divided into two sharply distinguished classes accordingly as they are or are not capable of renewal…The minerals do not renew themselves. Therefore in dealing with the coal, the oil, the iron, metals generally, all that we can do is try to see that they are wisely used. The exhaustion is certain to come in time”. Theodore Roosevelt

The progress may seem slow (especially to impatient people like me) but while it is slow, it is slow and steady and it is important to remember that: it is only the very beginning of the “solar boom”. This will be good for the world, good for America and also good for investors in solar stocks.

More on solar stocks in the next article, but for now, we all need to be thankful for this positive change in trend and the beginning of a bright renewable energy future.

J. Peter Lynch has worked, for 30 years as a Wall Street analyst, an independent equity analyst and private investor, and a merchant banker in small emerging technology companies. He has been actively involved in following developments in the renewable energy sector since 1977. He is currently a financial and technology consultant to a number of companies. He can be reached via e-mail at Solarjpl@aol.com.

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