|Congress to Vote on 'Cap-And-Trade' Legislation by Summer|
March 5, 2009
Two weeks after President Obama challenged Congress to send him a
bill that "places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the
production of more renewable energy," House and Senate leaders responded
with an ambitious timetable for new "cap-and-trade" legislation, including
a final Senate vote by the end of summer.
Under a cap-and-trade system a "price" for emitting pollution into the
atmosphere is established but companies are able to freely trade their
greenhouse gas emissions in an open market. Burning coal or natural gas to
generate electric power becomes more expensive - and renewable sources of
energy like wind and solar that much more competitive.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee,
said he intends to have a cap-and-trade bill ready by late June. Sen.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised comprehensive energy
legislation including cap-and-trade laws will be put to a vote this August.
For wind power developers, cap-and-trade legislation is expected to lead
to even faster growth in an industry already coming off its best year ever
in 2008. Argus Research confirmed its buy rating on AES AES. AES operates
Buffalo Gap, one of the largest wind farms in Texas. Monday analysts at
Argus stated AES "continues to have strong growth prospects."
CNBC guest analyst Francis Gaskins has a buy rating on NACEL Energy (OTC
Bulletin Board: NCEN) which has four wind projects underway in Texas.
Gaskins' research note indicated NACEL "represents a unique opportunity
for investors interested in exposure to the sector," and puts a $4
valuation on the Company.
The imminent passage of cap-and-trade laws likely means more solar PV
manufacturers will acquire or develop their own power projects. Monday
First Solar FSLR bought OptiSolar's pipeline of utility scale projects.
Rival SunPower (Nasdaq SPWRA) announced its own plans for new solar power
projects in Florida and California last year. Following First Solar's
purchase Lazard Capital Markets issued a buy on the Company and raised its
target price to $145.