Obama Highlights Energy as Sector for Innovation in State of the Union

Green Chip's Weekend Edition

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted January 30, 2010

Welcome to the Green Chip Review Weekend Edition — our insights from the week in everything alternative and cleantech, as well as links to our most-read Green Chip Review and sister publication articles.  

The disparity between cleantech news and stock performance couldn't be greater.

News of completed deals, capacity expansion, IPOs, and the availability of capital whirled around the wire all week... yet the sell-off continued, putting us back to November levels:

Cleantech Indices 2010

Of course, it's hard to blame investors for taking profits on a market that surged 60% since last March.

I'd like to think of it as the inverse of the "two steps back" colloquialism; this is our one step back before marching forward.


So we know that stocks have been off a bit. Here's this week's portion of the reasons they'll come back...

We learned on Monday that U.S. wind capacity surged 39% in 2009, from 25,100 MW to 35,000 MW. The 9.9 GW installed last year far surpassed the 8.4 GW installed in 2008.

More than 85,000 people now find work in the U.S. wind energy industry.

On Tuesday, General Motors continued to cement the future of electric transportation. As Chris Nelder pointed out this week (you can catch his article below), the Volt is quickly emerging as GM's flagship product — much like Toyota's Prius — and the company embraced it by announcing it will set up a $246 million plant to build electric motors.

That's on top Ford's $450 million battery plant announcement a few weeks ago.

Things were really heating up by Wednesday, before the State of the Union was even delivered.

In a major breakthrough, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 3-2 that "companies have a responsibility to discuss the effects of the environment and pending rules on their business." That decision should add to the value of cleantech companies while detracting from those with climate or carbon risks.

The same day, a $3.9 billion BlackRock energy fund anointed the cleantech sector, saying it's about to increase its exposure to solar stocks. More than half of the mega energy fund is now weighted in renewable energy

By Wednesday night, the wheels were really turning as the President mentioned "clean energy" or "clean technology" at least four times in his first State of the Union address.

Here's a little piece of it:

...We need to encourage American innovation. Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history, an investment — an investment that could lead to the world's cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched.

And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year's investments in clean energy in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide, helping to make advanced batteries, or in the California business that will put 1,000 people to work making solar panels.

But to create more of these clean-energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives, and that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country...

It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development...

It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean-coal technologies.

And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.

And the industrial world is taking notice of the trend. Power equipment giant Alstom declared on Thursday that it "expects demand for renewable and nuclear technologies to outstrip growth in coal and gas fired electricity projects."

I've been telling you nuclear would heat up this year...

And by the end of the week, Obama had proposed a tripling of government loan guarantees for nuclear reactors to more than $54 billion.

Look for a new Green Chip nuclear play in the coming week to take advantage.

You can catch the rest of this week's coverage below.

Call it like you see it,



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