“Slow Volcano” — collected Geothermal writeups

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, August 30, 2008


Best estimates from the Gumshoe are that roughly 1% of my readers will be online this weekend and actively keeping up with the exciting Gumshoe news … so while I love you all, and most especially adore the faithful readers who sit in their seats at Gumshoe University even on Labor Day weekend, I must admit to a certain reluctance to throw my all into a new sleuthing job that no one will get around to reading.

But I have noticed a huge surge of interest in geothermal stocks again, on the back of another big email campaign using the “slow volcano” term — this is from the Energy and Scarcity Investor newsletter from Byron King at Agora, and it is among several ad campaigns based on geothermal stocks that we’ve seen here in the past year. So today, a list of all those firms that we’ve looked at or written about:

Most recently, we’ve seen crop up a few times the ad touting a company that is supposedly making Saudi Arabia quake in its boots — this ad is from the Oxford Club, and it touts Raser Technologies as the leader of the “post oil” future. That stock has been pretty bumpy, it was around $10 when this campaign lifted off, and the ad ran for much of the Summer, eventually enjoying some spikes up to over $11, but the shares are well off those highs now.

A few months before that, Raser Technologies was also being hyped by Trinity Research, for much the same reasons.

The original Slow Volcano Power teaser ad, though it’s running hot and heavy now, actually started appearing last November (the main stock was and is Western Geothermal, and there are also a slew of other stocks mentioned) — from what I can see, this ad hasn’t changed much in nine months.

And Greg Guenthner at Bulletin Board Elite was touting Western Geothermal well before that.

Before that, it was the teaser for US Geothermal by Green Chip Stocks — that pick was the strongest of the Geothermal touts, and remains a solid performer even though it’s way, way off its highs of last Fall (it also got a listing on an exchange later on and no longer trades over the counter, the ticker is now HTM if you’re looking for it).

So far, the only consistent thing about these stocks is that they’re all down pretty significantly over the last six months to a year, or are otherwise well off their highs. Those highs for geothermal stocks seem to be driven by media attention and these email ad campaigns, and probably also by natural gas and oil prices to some degree. Most of the firms are at a very early stage in developing geothermal plants or technology, those plants are big, slow-moving, capital-intensive projects, and they don’t have much cash flow to show for their efforts just yet (the existing geothermal plants in the US are largely owned by big utilities, and have been around for years).

I love the idea of geothermal energy, but the barriers to really wide adoption seem pretty high, unless Raser’s most optimistic projections are realized and lower-temperature geothermal generation becomes really feasible (if you need a real geologic hotspot for geothermal generation, like the Geysers or like Iceland, there aren’t all that many in the US). That doesn’t mean that these companies can’t make any money or be successful, but they’re not making much just yet.

Share your thoughts...

56 Comments on "“Slow Volcano” — collected Geothermal writeups"

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VictorK
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VictorK

So…Should we refer to ourselves as “the 1% club, or just “the faithful”? Thanks to this “new” technology called the internet, I can take my seat at Gumshoe U wherever it might be on this Labor Day weekend.

Any thoughts on a likely winner, and/or a timeline?

Thanks again, and enjoy your weekend!

Don Routledge
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Don Routledge

I think the 1% club is pretty exclusive.(or it means we don’t have any friends to drink beer with this weekend).

David Hall
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David Hall

Hey, I’m reading it today too. I always thought a great place for geothermal would be Hawaii, they could be 100% with nat gas backup. I read thru Byron’s copy at least once, and did check on this – Iceland is near 100% geothermal now. But I think we’re a long ways off from getting a good investment on geothermal.

Dave
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Dave

I agree with Gumshoe that despite the hype, companies engaged in the process of “slow volcano” power are in the early stages of development, and it will be longer than I want to wait before we start seeing returns on our investment. My money goes elsewhere for now.

Lorie L
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Lorie L

Don’t be reluctant to throw yourself into new sleuthing… I’m here — reading, and absorbing your good ideas, and happy to count myself in the “faithful.” Thanks for what you do. Yeah we can all take off and have a beer later…

Yezz
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Yezz

The 1%. Does that also include readers from other countries, like The Netherlands??? 😛

Gravity Switch
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Thanks! The 1% is strong today, thanks for stopping by. I’m using my downtime to try to come up with a more effective email service provider for the daily updates, which is just as exciting as watching mold grow on an old plate of macaroni and cheese. Not that I would know. See you next week for our next class at Gumshoe U!

Terence
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Terence

Count me in I’m with you up here in BC on a sunny Sat morning, it’s always a pleasure to read what the gumshoe comes up with, my beer’s a Guiness thank you.

david roper
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david roper

I like it. The “1% Club News.” Count me in.

orkid
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I don’t drink beer, or even coffee for that matter, but I’m here too, thanks to your engaging wit, words and wonderful research. Just wanted you to know you have fans in Hawaii, too. (And nope, I don’t think geothermal is, or will be, a feasible option for the entire state of Hawaii, as one reader suggested, because only the Big Island sits over the “hot spot” and the deep ocean channels that separate the islands make sharing a bit difficult. Hawaii (the state) is focused on developing a combo of whatever looks most promising; currently this means wind, solar,… Read more »
Jose
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Jose

Eh! If you start to explore or to “remove” liquid hot air or the earth, then we are contributing to the Centre of the Earth is “clear” and … all of us “we evaporate”!
No one can exploit these things!
This type of investment may not be the future!

SageNot
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SageNot

Pretty active for a holiday w/e Travis, are you giving away a freebie or two?

Seriously though, how long will it take to use the energy that must surge forth every day (twice/day actually) from the incoming tides of all the earth’s oceans? I once asked this question at an energy investment conference & the speaker said “in due time,” well that was over 20yrs ago. Aren’t we overdue for some ocean energy
plays or has this idea been set adrift?

Fred
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Fred

Just wanted to say that I enjoy being one of the 1%. Have a great Labor Day

fred

weekend warrior
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weekend warrior
aHAA…can’t keep people from a good thing. Of course, that means Stock Gumshoe. Geothermal is a great idea, as is ocean energy, solar, and my idea of a giant Hamster wheel. Whatever it takes I say, for where ever it works. I think that in days of yore, folks did something about needs, because they needed doing, but today, they want help from the government, or are waiting for legal questions to become apparent before plans are started. I mean, we Americans are too stupid to know that a hot cup of coffee can hurt us..thank God for warning labels.… Read more »
John Sloan
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HI Travis and all. I am a bit late Sat afternoon, it seems, but glad to be part of the 1%. King in addition to continually pushing this lame ‘slow volcano’ pitch has had ORMAT in the OI listing for many months. And he has another ‘hot’ pic on the ‘secret’ “China Lake” teaser.
I think Gysers has been operational for many years.
time to hit the pool.
john

Allblack
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Allblack

Nunc Est Bibendum

royallion
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royallion

Just to let you know that I find this service very interesting. there is so much hype out there thank you for separating out the wheat from the chaff.
Count me in your 1%

Big Mo
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Big Mo

If you’re still taking roll call, count me in. Not putting my money in geothermal, and not driving a Geo either.

trevor peasland
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trevor peasland

I’m in also. Pleasantly surprised to see all the comments and info. I hold some KHD on the TSX. They’re in wind, run-of-the-river hydro and gas from garbage. They are profitable also. May be worth looking at. Have a great labour day.

Pamela
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Pamela

I like the 1% club and all the valuable advice and insight from Gumshoe and all the loyal readers! Count me in! Maybe we should call it the “breakfast club”??

Mike
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Mike

My guess is that there will be over 100 replies by Monday.

Wayne
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Wayne
Thank you, Travis. I have been wondering for some time if I was missing something by using the ‘Delete’ button so much with these geothermal teasers. A lot of all this is obviously about cost and Return On Investment. The basic idea of Geothermal is too easy. Some of the problem is the standard existing Infrastructure. An aircraft multi-kilowatt generator is only a foot or so in diameter, 3 (?) feet long, a couple of hundred pounds. It operates, however, at 400 cycles/3 phase. A very good argument can be made for all power systems to be changed over to… Read more »
oneinamill
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oneinamill
Wayne I like your thinking. growing up in the country with many relatives who are farmers you have to make things yurself to solve problems so my mind is thinking all the time when a problem arrives. just widh I could get oooooat least on item to market. I saw a program on the history chanel about alternative energy they had many great ideas including wave power, and they alluded to a a paint used to turn the whole side of a building into a large solar cell. I even saw a version of an idea I thought up over… Read more »
WALTER O'ROURKE
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THANKS FOR ALL OF THE GOOD RESEARDH EVERYDAY AND WEEKENDS AS WELL, HOLIDAYS WHAT MORE CAN WE ASK?

jerome
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jerome

count me in 1% faithful

Ron
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Ron

Hey Gummy One, seems you have more then 1%. With all the replies. Really enjoy reading you stuff.

Paul Twelker
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Paul Twelker
The Hawaii geothermal area includes the Puna Geothermal Venture, which is located about 21 miles south of Hilo on the Lower East Rift Zone of the Kilauea Volcano on the Big island. Geothermal fluid is brought to the surface through closed-loop production wells, which tap into the resource at a depth of almost a mile. The steam, along with its non-condensable gases, is routed to the power plant and used to produce electricity through a two-stage system that recycles the left-over steam/water back into the earth through re-injection wells. The Department of Energy (DOE) contributed over $8 million while the… Read more »
John
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John

I’m afraid you over-rate us.
We are more like the 2% club.
Keep up the good work.

joey
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joey

1% club here and present …thanks for your timely overviews ….money never stops and never sleeps…so ya gotta keep on keeping on ……diligence by moonlight ….get all the info ducks in line for the next day’s trades ….
I thank you for being dedicated .

BNI Guy
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BNI Guy

Well I’m not a 1% just new here. Subscribed to Penny Sleuth and saw Chris Mayers name bouncing around, not sure how much of it was scam or truth did some digging and here I am.

Myron Martin
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Myron Martin
BEING LABOUR DAY I ACTUALLY “LABOURED” hard that is, and now after dark i am trying to get caught up on all my Agora e-mails! As a lifetime Reserve member i seem to average between 30-50 per DAY, but I always read the gumshoe first. Began digging my potatoes and have never seen anything like it in over 40 years of gardening. Two plants had yields of 30 and 36 individual potatoes of edible size, should have weighed them, some monsters were easily over a lb, not bad for the short growing season in Canada. On geothermal I am not… Read more »
realself
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Gumshoe,

thanks to you there’s a 1% to be a part of. Happy Labor (or non-labor?) day to you for all you do. Great writing and you should branch out into comedy, the subtle kind (but you’d have to write screenplays for foreign directors, no?). Geothermal is a loooong term play, I think ocean power is going to be more active in the short run, but an alternative to gasoline (think LNG) is going to be very serious business in the very short term. Nuff said.

Indya
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Indya

I’m relatively new to the Gumshoe but he’s my last resort after all the hype from the other services in my inbox. Don’t even think of quitting.

Gravity Switch
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Just as an added note, I noticed that they’re still sending out the “tiny company puts OPEC and Sheik Kalifa on notice” email about Raser Technologies (RZ) … though now they’re adding a “you must act within 24 hours” notice. Apparently the special 24 hour urgency was for some kind of deal on the newsletter that expired on August 31 (though the email was sent to me most recently on Sept. 2). RZ did just close a financing deal for a geothermal plant, so perhaps that’s newsworthy — it’s not doing anything for the stock, however, and the company released… Read more »
Olaf Olafsson
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Geothermal energy is a great blessing to us here in Iceland (but despite the name we do not get the really cold winters like in the US Midvest or Siberia) and we are a bit surprised how limited the use of it elsewhere, especially for heating.

I know one Canadian listed company that the main geothermal company here has a big share in and that is Western Geo Power (WPG on the TSX) but I think I will put my “next” money into GE.

Olaf Olafsson
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I think GE is still promising (paying good dividends) and still getting over the loss of that overrated Jack Welch, GE is set in the right industries I think like water and energy.

And all my army gear is purchased the right way !

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