While oil climbs past the $100 per barrel mark, many oil related and other energy stocks have experienced a decent run-up in prices. As an investor that isn’t particularly keen on entering a position at or near its 52 week high, you might be having a difficult time identifying ways to be a part of the energy price up-swing.
Geothermal energy stocks will come back in fashion as energy prices climb, yet they are not gaining much attention at the moment. If you look at a chart of 3 geothermal pure-plays over the course of 2 years, you will see they are not trading near their highs over this period. If oil prices remain over $100 and/or continue to climb, viable alternatives will gain more and more traction amongst the investment community.
As with other clean alternative energy sources, like wind or solar, the cost to produce geothermal energy is higher compared to other sources like coal or natural gas. Yet, unlike wind and solar, the energy produced is very consistent and the vast majority of costs are borne during the first stages of development. Once a plant is running, the upkeep costs and the fluctuation of energy is minimal.
Steeper oil prices make alternative energy prices across the board more attractive. Lower oil prices, new discoveries of large natural gas reserves and a loss in momentum of the carbon credit crowd in the past couple years, has certainly put a damper on ‘new’ green sources of energy.
With higher oil prices we are certain to hear for calls throughout the nation to “lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy.” This is a positive for the geothermal industry. With higher oil prices geothermal also becomes more financially attractive and viable.
If you’re betting on oil prices climbing throughout 2011, then you should set your sights on geothermal pure-plays Ormat Technologies (ORA), Nevada Geothermal (NGLPF.OB) and U.S. Geothermal (HTM). Each company is likely to see renewed interest later this year if/when we see oil prices continue their run towards $120. The industry is not in the lime light now, which creates an opportunity for investors to get in before mainstream attraction is drawn towards the major players.
Disclosure: Long ORA & NGLPF.OB