Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The things conspiracies are made of.

I would like to start out by saying - I am not prone to conspiracy theories. I believe the simplest answer is probably the correct answer. Do not dismiss as a conspiracy what can be explained by incompetence, is what I try to live by.

Having said that - last night as I was watching Vestas Wind Systems report a four times larger than predicted loss, it dawned on me that all the big trading houses had invested so largely into green energy companies. They were also the same people who had the capability to "speculate" oil prices to infinity. They really got to win on both sides of the game. Oil futures went through the roof, and green energy really started to take off.

But the world got away from them, and now green energy companies are in a full blown panic. A death rattle panic. They didn't expect the recession to last so long. No one did. They didn't expect it to be so deep. No one did. And they never expected the pocketbook of the government might dry up. No one did.

As I was researching another just announced bankrupt solar company Suntricity (I wanted to see how much money they had thieved us of) I was truck by something their partner Timmothy Sutherland of Pace Global said in an interview last year. After the Solyndra bankruptcy and following screams of this isn't a problem in the industry - it was bad management. Of course, anyone who paid attention at all, knew it was the industry.

This was in an interview of Timothy Sutherland, CEO of Pace Global Energy - who was asked if we were in a solar bubble. Pace has also apparently been sold to Siemens this year. Which also makes it hard to find out which company was getting the subsidies. Anyway.

"Actually, at this point in the evolution of the solar industry, any attempt to gauge enterprise value based on competing energy prices is misguided; although I’m sure it’s done. This is due to yet another aspect of the “bubble” phenomenon. The solar market is largely a creation of national governments around the world. There are competitive dynamics internal to that market, as we’ve seen with the recent failures of Solyndra and Evergreen Solar in the face of overwhelming competition from Chinese manufacturers as formerly high-tech premium products become commoditized. The retail market for photovoltaics, however, is largely the creation of national governments; any estimate of future market share and profitability of a private manufacturer of solar panels is critically dependent on assumptions about subsidy levels and continuity."

This one paragraph basically says to me - these companies can not exist without government intervention. Now anti oil people will complain that oil companies get subsidies - but oil companies actually make a profit as well. The government doesn't support them a hundred percent like they do these green energy companies. So far none of these green energy companies have achieved that at all. As a matter of a fact, most are ratcheting down their operation by roughly 40%. If they aren't outright dying.

Fascinatingly, the only way we are finding out out how many cockroaches there are - is because of the massive amounts of fallout.

One has to wonder if - when the pain becomes so great, and enough of these companies fail - oil prices will actually come down. Our stockpiles keep increasing. And the only viable reason oil should be so high right now is because of fear of the Middle East. Some might blame inflation, but money just isn't moving around the system enough to be a big enough contributor.

1 comment:

  1. Pomeroy on the Palouse (close to the oilfields of ND)Friday, February 10, 2012 6:06:00 PM

    You said, "oil prices will actually come down. Our stockpiles keep increasing. And the only viable reason oil should be so high right now is because of fear of the Middle East."

    Read an article this morning ( tipped by Instapundit, that says North Dakota produced 534000 barrels of oil a day this past December. That's a lot, right? And how many more million barrels a day are we being prevented from capturing by President MB and his cronies?

    That's it. As I said and someone else has said, Follow the $$$

    Hey, the word verify is bullar. Isn't that like a vacation?


    oh, heck. That WAS my wv. I forgot to type it in. now it's rheechdc. don;t know what that means.