5 Alternative Energy Stocks Worth Researching

 |  Includes: ACM, KDN, OESX, TPL
by: Tom Konrad, CFA

I have more ideas than I have time to explore them, and it's getting out of hand.  I still need to write the promised articles on Evergreen Solar (ESLR) and Lithium Technology Corp (LTHU), but there are many others that have caught my attention over the last six months or so.  Since the list keeps getting longer, I thought I'd just give you a taste of some of the companies in my inbox, and why they seem interesting.  Since I may or may not ever write articles about any of these, I thought I'd give people the opportunity to evaluate the companies for themselves.

  1. AECOM (ACM):  Astute readers of my recent Hydropower overview will have noticed I said: "AECOM Technology Corporation (NYSE:ACM) [is] a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental and energy," and also that the most promising opportunities were in "suppliers of parts and services to hydropower projects."  Not only is ACM a prominent provider of services to hydro projects, the company also gets much of its revenue from, and, as one ACM employee described it to me, energy projects which don't involve burning something.  This includes some of my longtime favorite sectors, such as transmission and public transit.  So ACM is on my short list.  I might have already bought some, if the stock price had not been going up since I discovered the company.
  2. Kaydon (NYSE:KDN): As a wind industry supplier, I've had Kaydon as part of my portfolio for about a year.   When the company had disappointing earnings last month due to its non-wind business, my instinct was that it was time to buy more, but I wanted to dig a little deeper to make up my mind.  I still have not done that digging.
  3. Power Efficiency Corp [PEFF.OB].  This company, which makes software to save energy in industrial motors such as escalators and rock crushers caught my eye last year by advertising with us for a few months.  After an interesting conversation with the CFO, BJ Lackland, I decided to make a small investment.  It's a niche technology, yet has the potential to save a tremendous amount of energy even so, and it is already working in the marketplace.  If it can get its technology accepted by OEMs, the growth potential (from a tiny base) is enormous, nevertheless, I have not done the deeper digging I require of myself to make a larger investment than I already have.
  4. Orion Energy Systems (NYSEMKT:OESX):  Another energy efficiency company that caught my attention a couple of months ago, Orion provides a suite of efficient lighting solutions to commercial businesses.  Since I expect the sector to boom in coming years, Orion seems well placed to take advantage of utility Demand Side Management programs.
  5. Texas Pacific Land Trust (NYSE:TPL):  A reader sent me this suggestion in response to my comment in my Invest in the Pickens Plan article "I'd prefer a REIT with a rural focus, but have been unable to find one."  According to the company's profile, the company "owned the surface estate in 964,813 acres of land located in 20 counties in the western part of Texas" as well as some oil and gas royalties.   West Texas is typically fairly windy, but to really know if this stock would benefit from a rural resurgence driven by massive wind investment, we'd have to know how their lands line up with both wind resources and available transmission capacity... and how management feels about wind... would they sell out as soon as they saw a small price rise due to interest in wind, or would they wait for enhanced economic growth to produce long term superior returns?

DISCLOSURE: Tom Konrad and/or his clients own KDN, PEFF.