Reporting from Omaha

Over the weekend, I attended the annual shareholder’s meeting of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:  BRK.A, BRK.B) in Omaha to hear the wit and wisdom of CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger.  For five hours on Saturday, Buffett and Munger fielded questions from panelists and investors on a wide range of topics.  A good synopsis […]

ABB’s New Solar Star

Over the weekend, ABB (NYSE: ABB) announced the $1 billion acquisition of Power-One (NASDAQ: PWER), which makes a wide spectrum of power conversion electronics equipment. Notably, Power-One is a major player in the market for inverters, which convert DC power into AC power.  In turn, inverters are important for synchronizing DC-based technologies such as batteries, […]

Simple Thoughts on Aggie Muster

Simple Thoughts on Aggie Muster Written on Muster’s Eve April 20th 2013 the year of the birth of my daughter Softly call the Muster, gently call the Roll. Another year is passing, time will take her toll. My family is remembered, as I’ll be remembered too. Remember me my brethren; I am remembering you. Softly […]

A Tale of Two EVs

Albert Einstein once said:  “Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler.”  Pundits always pursue the former, but often fail to uphold the latter. Such has been the case recently in regards to the prospects for electric vehicles.  Will electric vehicles be commercially successful or won’t they?  As often happens, there is superficial evidence […]

Who’s Got Nest?

Like most other tech sectors, the cleantech world is subject to fads that are overhyped — meteoric rises, sometimes followed by spectacular flameouts. It seems like we humans like to create heroes and then tear them down. There’s a particular tendency to sing the praises of the latest “hot company”:  the one that has the […]

Fracking: Where Do You Stand?

In the energy sector, there are few topics that generate more debate today than the relative merits/demerits of fracking.  To see just how strongly-held yet evenly-divided opinion is, check out this online debate moderated by The Economist and sponsored by Statoil (NYSE: STO). The question is framed simply:  “Do the benefits derived from shale gas […]

Acquisitions

Strategic Drivers for Acquisitions in the Water Sectors

I recently read an article by Chris Gasson of Global Water Intelligence which was thought-provoking and insightful. The article addressed a number of issues surrounding water technology company acquisitions and raised a question regarding what problems companies are looking to solve through these acquisitions. In my experience advising large water companies’ strategic acquisitions activity, I have identified […]

Chinese Food For Thought

As I posted a few years ago, so many of the best opportunities for cleantech to have immediate benefit can be found in China. Every day, evidence accumulates supporting this thesis.  Of course, this winter’s air pollution crises in Beijing and other cities made global news.  More gruesome was last week’s discovery of nearly 7,000 […]

MIT Energy Summit 2013

The key message coming out of the MIT summit was whether if low natural gas prices will have an impact on investing in alternative energy technologies. While the wind market in the US has added significant capacity in the last few years, the availability of cheap natural gas has made them less competitive.

Cleantech Venture Fertility

I try hard to stay on top of a wide range of developments in the cleantech world.  Maybe I spread myself too thin, sacrificing depth for breadth, as I scan through a lot of journals and attend a lot of events to see what’s new and interesting. Even so, I’m continually surprised by the number […]

ARPA-E Energy Summit 2013

ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit 2013 One of the bright spots in US policy has been the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) program, which has bipartisan support. Both Republicans and Democrats have come out speaking favorably about the potential of ARPA-E’s contribution to wean the country from its dependence on […]

Crowdfunding Coming Of Age In Cleantech

With early stage capital for cleantech innovation becoming increasingly scarce, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and a new crop of clean/green ones are beginning to emerge as significant sources of funding for selected next-gen clean technologies. Hurdles remain, particularly for investors seeking returns, but I’m more optimistic about these sites’ usefulness to cleantech entrepreneurs than I used to […]

Pollution Solutions

In the January issue of Pollution Engineering, Roy Bigham and Josh Foster have compiled their list of “10 Top Technologies for 2013″. Summarizing their summary of the new-and-nifty that the environmental industry should monitor: Self-healing plastics that rush in to repair cracks and voids.  Obviously, this would have significant implications in a wide variety of […]

Japan Sets its Sight on Water

Japan has the 3rd largest economy in the world and is the 4th largest exporter. They produced prominent technological advancements, from reliable and fuel efficient cars to flat screen televisions. Now, Japan is taking interest in water technology markets and innovative water companies. Napoleon said, “Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake […]