September 17, 2012
post contributed by Megan Flynn
July’s Event was a panel moderated by our very own Stanley Goldstein, founder of the New York Hedge Fund Roundtable. The panelists, Rebecca Craft, Director of Energy Efficiency and Demand Management at Con Edison, Peter Fusaro, Chairman of Global Exchange Associates, and Ann Partlow, Partner at Earthrise Capital, gave members of the roundtable an update on the current state of green investing.
Rebecca gave great insight into the high level thought process of Con Edison, one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the United States that sees one of the highest power densities in the world. Investments we’re looking at right now are technologies that allow old legacy systems to communicate better, she said. They are also extremely interested in enhancing remote control capabilities – opening and closing switches without actually going to the site, for example. Rebecca followed that up with the idea of of condition based monitoring which is a huge trend, monitoring and replacing equipment based on its condition as opposed to its age.
Peter Fusaro, who teaches classes at both Columbia and Bard, began by pointing out how much bad information is out there in the media. The world runs on fossil energy, and all existing infrastructure depends on it. All the new clean cars are too expensive, he said, what the sector needs is a massive influx of money. Markets do work, he added, predicting that the larger companies will be buying the clean energy technology from the smaller companies who are creating it now.
In 30 years of investing in energy, both traditional and alternative, there have been three or four boom and bust cycles, Ann Partlow said. Most of the problems with the solar industry are policy related coupled with overproduction in China, but we’re still excited about this sector, she said. Another inefficiency Partlow introduced was batteries. They are very expensive and we’re skeptical that lithium ion battery operated cars are going to take off; they’re too expensive, the market needs a cheaper battery, she said.
The wide range of different perspectives across the green investment space and the depth of knowledge demonstrated on the panel set this event apart from others and left members in attendance thinking.