Investing in Renfewable Energy

 This article is presented here as a good synopsis of the 'players' in the public company realm of enterprises managing renewable energy projects. This article is presented here as a good synopsis of the 'players' in the public company realm of enterprises managing renewable energy projects.

 Five Types of Renewable Energy Investments
The future must entail clean, renewable energy.   There are only a few alternatives to the hydrocarbon-based energy:  Solar energy, Bio-fuels, Geothermal energy, Hydro-power, and Wind energy

In each sector, there are good companies to consider.

1. Solar Power.  

Warren Buffett's investmented in two utility-scale solar projects supplied by First Solar (FSLR).

Falling solar panel prices also bode well for consumers as widespread acceptance and increasing affordability have increased the industry's demand and long-term future. First Solar remains one of the few viable investments in this sector, with its industry-leading margins that have kept the company profitable throughout the crisis.

2. Biofuels. 

The industry is trying to shake off the negative image of unsustainable ethanol.

 Innovative and proven second generation technology exist but is struggling remains to raise capital and gain public acceptance.  Capital investment is needed to bring commercial scale production capacity online.

Most advanced in this area is Solazyme (SZYM), which utilizes algae-based technology to convert non-food sources into renewable oil equivalents, chemicals, food and even cosmetics.

One company providing sustainable ethanol is Cosan (CZZ), a Brazilian-based sugar company leading in ethanol production capacity and distribution capabilities.  American ethanol subsidies have come to an end so Brazilian-based ethanol companies may continue to outshine their counterparts in America.

3. Geothermal Energy. 

Geothermal is a comparatively small industry.  . Yet is one of the more stable prospects.

Ormat Technologies (ORA).  founded 1965 is the only vertically integrated provider of geothermal energy.

4. Hydropower. 

Hydropower is a stable and longstanding  industry.  Hydropower companies tend be utility companies  requiring large longterm capital expenditures  to build a dams and other infrastructure..

Brazil remains one of the greatest developers of hydropower with its vast river resources, abundant rains, and lack of alternatives when it comes to energy sources.

Centrais Electricas Brasileiras (EBR), - Electrobras, operates 29 hydroelectric plants throughout Brazil. The company is diversified into thermal, coal and oil power generation units,

5. Wind Energy. 

The wind industry is dominated by China, which dethroned the United States in 2010 as the largest wind power installer.  

General Electric (GE) or Siemens (SI), neither of which are pure plays..

China Ming Yang Power Group (MY), trading on the NYSE since 2010, is the largest non-state owned wind turbine manufacturer in China.

The company has encountered rising expenses and difficulties including weather related interruption to installations.

Management has initiated a share repurchase program for $50 million, company market capitalization of $359 million as of January 23, 2012.