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John Petersen  

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  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    I did my research and read their financial statements and am underwelmed. Talison has a book value of about $1.50 per share and is selling at 4 times book and 20 times income. Those numbers are not sustainable for a mining company. The entire lithium sector has been riding a wave of investor enthusiasm that's not supported by underlying business realities. I'm also skeptical of MolyCorp, Tesla, and all lithium-ion battery developers because I believe they are all heading for price declines.

    Benjamin Graham taught us that in the short term the market acts like a voting machine and in the long run it acts like a weighing machine. The only sensible time to buy a stock is when the voter's have a negative view and the business fundamentals are positive.

    Following the herd will have you wading through manure. Buying stocks like Talison when they're overvalued is a great way to lose money.

    I wish you the best of luck with your investments.
    Feb 18, 2011. 01:52 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alternative Energy Technologies and the Origin of Specious [View article]
    So far the only OEM product I know of in the US market is the Civic GX from Honda. It looks like Fiat will start exporting CNG cars to the States soon. Over here, CNG is available as an option from a lot of different manufacturers. If CNG becomes an OEM standard I'm not sure who the players might be since the tanks are typically carbon fiber and the valves, regulators and hoses are pretty much off the shelf items.

    Since Fitz keeps far closer tabs on that sector than I do, his articles will probably be far more helpful in picking winners.
    Feb 18, 2011. 12:47 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Alternative Energy Technologies and the Origin of Specious [View article]
    The big one seems to be a vehicle by vehicle certification, which apparently costs a bundle.
    Feb 18, 2011. 11:48 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Alternative Energy Technologies and the Origin of Specious [View article]
    The President's plan will save up to 400 million gallons of gas per year by 2015.

    The 56 million micro-hybrids that will be built during the same time frame using AGM batteries from JCI and Exide will save 1.6 billion gallons of gas per year.

    Last time I checked, spending millions to save billions of gallons of gasoline was more sensible than the inverse.
    Feb 18, 2011. 10:54 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    Except of course for that 46.21% coal thing and the fact that the gee whiz batteries are little more than expensive landfill material.
    Feb 18, 2011. 10:01 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Gaining Perspective on Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff [View article]
    Dream on, I'm sure the skies will be blue over the rainbow.
    Feb 18, 2011. 09:59 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Plug-In Vehicles Are a Luxury No Nation and No Investor Can Afford [View article]
    I can see it now, EVs by Fred Sanford. Priceless!
    Feb 18, 2011. 09:57 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Plug-In Vehicles Are a Luxury No Nation and No Investor Can Afford [View article]
    You're confusing the issue. The Japanese did it their way on their own nickel in response to the market's demands and succeeded.

    The PNGV did it the government's way on the government's nickel in response to the government's demands and failed.

    Every time activists like you convince the government to undertake a Manhattan Project style program the result is unmitigated disaster for investors, just like the current EV euphoria will be.
    Feb 18, 2011. 09:56 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Plug-In Vehicles Are a Luxury No Nation and No Investor Can Afford [View article]
    You provide links for less than 10% of your comments and they're usually irrelevant. They're most certainly irrelevant to investors.
    Feb 18, 2011. 09:51 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Plug-In Vehicles Are a Luxury No Nation and No Investor Can Afford [View article]
    I said "Their up-charge for 100% wind is clever marketing." I have no idea what his utility charges customers for a green conscience. The costs are what they are but that doesn't change the fact that the customer is going to get the electrons that are nearest to his meter when he flips a switch – unless of course somebody has invented a filter that only lets certified green electrons pass through to the meter.
    Feb 18, 2011. 09:47 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Plug-In Vehicles Are a Luxury No Nation and No Investor Can Afford [View article]
    It's not so much a question of inventing metrics as testing the credibility of marketing claims. If something is supposed to be a big advance in efficiency, you have to find a way to test the claim. If something is supposed to be a big advance in emissions, you have to find a way to test the claim. If something is supposed to get far cheaper and far better over time, you have to find a way to test the claim.

    If only one of the testing metrics pointed to a particular conclusion it would be fairly easy to say the metric is bad. When every test I can devise shows that plug-ins can't possibly work, I have to conclude that the problem is the plug-in not the metric.
    Feb 18, 2011. 09:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alternative Energy Technologies and the Origin of Specious [View article]
    Forty years of dancing to the Manhattan tune has gotten us exactly nowhere. The issues were urgent 40 years ago. They're no less urgent today but I've not seen a whole lot of proof that they're more urgent either. Oil and gas reserves are considered economic or worthless based on the discounted present value of future production. As future production values increase so do reserve volumes. It's not an industry where the tank will inevitably run down to empty.
    Feb 18, 2011. 07:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alternative Energy Technologies and the Origin of Specious [View article]
    The risk to fresh water supplies from hydraulic fracturing is so small that it hardly bears mentioning. Gas bearing deposits are at depths of several thousand feet while the water table is at depths of a few hundred feet. When rock fractures at depth, the cracks are limited to the target formation. When fracturing fluids are recovered they contain some hydrocarbons, which is not at all surprising when you consider the water has just fractured gas bearing rock. The oil industry has been safely and effectively treating oily water for decades.

    There have been a few instances where negligent operations have gone wrong and caused isolated problems. Those incidents, however, have occurred in states that don't have effective regulations in place to insure the highest standards of safety and environmental protection. They've also blown all out of proportion by hysterical fear-mongers.
    Feb 18, 2011. 07:11 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alternative Energy Technologies and the Origin of Specious [View article]
    I tend to think it's the natural order of things, but that order can change if America wakes up and starts playing to its competitive strengths. We got spoiled after WWII because there was a time when we didn't need to be a strong competitor. That led to complacency and inertia. From what I see at a distance, some attitudes are starting to change for the better. I hope that change continues.
    Feb 18, 2011. 07:04 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy Storage, The Valley of Death and the Elephant Hunters [View article]
    I've been at a couple conferences where Ali Nourai of AES spoke and their thinking right now is (a) lithium-ion batteries will be widely adopted for use in plug-in vehicles, (b) widespread use in the auto industry will drive prices down far enough that battery systems will be affordable for utilities. Therefore, it makes sense to buy a few systems and begin demonstration and validation testing now so that when the batteries get cheap enough the utilities will have enough experience to make well reasoned buying decisions.

    I have tremendous reservations about both key assumptions. First I have no confidence that consumers will pay premium prices for plug-in vehicles when better and cheaper alternatives are available. Second, I view lithium-ion batteries as mature products that have limited potential for true economies of scale. If either of those assumptions fails, using lithium-ion batteries for frequency regulation becomes a very dicy economic proposition.

    Beacon is using a merchant model right now to prove their anticipated cycle life and their value proposition. As a result, its flywheels are made in very small volumes. Unlike the battery systems, I think Beacon has significant potential for economies of scale and significant potential for improved performance.

    They're not out of the game by any means.
    Feb 18, 2011. 07:00 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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