Tom Konrad's Comments

March 20, 2015

Distributed Energy Storage Market Growing Beyond Expectations


With energy storage, both power (MW) and energy (MWh) are important. If you have a 50 kWh battery bank for your house, but it only supplies power a 100 W, it's not going to do you much good in a power outage.

Or think about pumped hydro energy storage (PHES). The MWh depend on the size of the reservoirs, but the MW (power) depends on the size of the turbine.

In short, the article should have taled about both MW and MWh, not just MWh as you seem to think.

September 27, 2014

One Solar Installation, Five Stocks

I reserved part of my roof for solar hot water, and did look at water cooled panels for that area. Unfortunately, these panels do not qualify for the approximate $1/W NYSERDA (NY State) rebate - NYSERDA only wants to subsidize technologies with more/longer track records.

The other reason mot to use such panel is weight. I had to make some structural improvement in my garage and attic as it was to bring the structure up to code before installing normal solar panels. I spent about $500 on materials and about 40 hours of my own labor on this. The added weight of all the water might have increased the cost and time for this part of the project further.

September 06, 2014

Divesting from Fossil Fuels: Last One Out Loses


1. I did not say renewables killed Coal. I said they were a minor factor. Try reading the article before spouting off. In fact "Try reading the article before spouting off" applies equally well to your points #2,3,4, and 5.

2, 3, 4, 5 : see point #1. In most of these cases you're confusing companies going bust with stock market losses. Stock market losses happen much sooner. You also confuse my comments about future trends (the only thing that should matter with investors) with the current state of affairs.

6. Actually, that WAS my point. Oil cos may be profitable now, but they don't have to stay that way. As for your points about biofuels, they lack the scale to make up for the losses I expect on the petroleum side. You just can't grow/collect that much biomass at reasonable prices.

September 14, 2014

Divesting from Fossil Fuels: Last One Out Loses

Yes, you're right, I concede to your superior intellect, COENRAAD PRETORIUS - or should I call you "Last One Out"?

September 14, 2014

Divesting from Fossil Fuels: Last One Out Loses


July 30, 2014

Fifteen Clean Energy Yield Cos: Where's The Yield?

That philosophy is like asking several installers to quote you for solar systems... they offer you wildly different prices and system sizes in different configurations with various financing options. You know that all renewables are good, so you ask them to draw straws to see which one gets to install solar on your home. But it's all good, because you have a solar system, and that's good enough for you.

August 01, 2014

Fifteen Clean Energy Yield Cos: Where's The Yield?


Most of these yield cos sell energy on long term contracts which makes predicting future electricity prices much less important than you seem to assume.

Further, higher profitability today provides a larger cushion against any sort of adversity, including electricity price swings. I totally agree with you that predicting far in the future is tricky. The whole point of this article is that many yield cos are trading on the assumption of *future* dividend growth, and that I prefer ones with higher dividends today.

Back to the solar analogy, most US-listed yield cos are like solar panels that the salesman tells you are not producing much power now, but will produce a lot more in a few years' time. The ones I prefer are producing a lot of power now, and should continue producing a lot of power into the future. They may deliver some growth on top of that as well.

August 02, 2014

Fifteen Clean Energy Yield Cos: Where's The Yield?

The big advantage of a stock over a solar installation is that you can sell it easily. If you want to "break even" just sell it, and you will get back something close to what you paid for it (maybe more, maybe less, and minus a few commissions.) If you try to sell a solar installation on your home, you'll only recoup a tiny fraction of the installation cost. Hence, "payback" for stocks is an even more meaningless measure than for solar.

The profitability of a stock trade is always a combination of capital gain or loss (what you can sell it for), and dividend yield. Capital gain or loss usually dominates the profitability equation, but the future price is strongly influenced by future yield and expectations of future yield and how they compare to future interest rates. Hence, understanding current and likely future yield is the key to understanding the economics of stock ownership.

In this article, I did not try to predict future interest rates- not matter what they are, the yield cos with the higher future yields will be worth more than the yield cos with lower future yields. If interest rates stay low or rise only modestly, the higher yielding companies will be the better investments. If interest rates rise rapidly, all yield cos will suffer, but the lower yielding yield cos will suffer more..

IF you think about it in terms of yield over inflation, like you seem to want to, you reach the same conclusion. We don't know what future inflation will be, but we do know that a higher future yield is more likely to exceed future inflation than a lower future yield.

July 31, 2014

Fifteen Clean Energy Yield Cos, Created Unequal

I chose the categories based on the investments of the yield cos I was looking at.

July 16, 2014

June Bloom: Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2014, Q2 Update

What do you mean by "skeptical of the net yield?" Dividend yield is easy to calculate: annual dividend divided by stock price... there's not a lot to be skeptical about.

As for "Certified Investment Counselor" that's not a particularly meaningful term, although Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC) are, and one of these may have been what you meant. It's easy to get confused with all the financial certifications out there. The only ones I think are worth much are CFP and CFA (I hold the CFA ("Chartered Financial Analyst") designation), as well as the CIC, which is a slight variation on the CFA charter.)
CFA, CIC, and CFP require several years of study each, but many of the others require little more than a weekend workshop. While there are many good (and many bad) financial planners and counselors who don't hold one of these designations, other designations are not worth a whole heck of a lot except for impressing the uninitiated.

July 20, 2014

June Bloom: Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2014, Q2 Update

Yes, it's on their website, which has both English and Dutch versions. Here's the English: However, Accell has a variable annual dividend which is based on the previous year's profits (fairly common for European companies.) The yield I gave is based on last year's dividend. I expect next year's will be higher since business is better this year.

And, yes, yahoo finance is lame. You can find better information on Bloomberg:

Tom Konrad

Tom Konrad

Tom Konrad is a private money manager and freelance writer focused on Peak Oil and Climate Change as investment themes. He manages portfolios for individual clients and is Head of Research for the JPS Green Economy Fund (,...

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