This one comes in from Greg Guenthner in an ad for the Bulletin Board Elite service, which, as you can imagine, aims to ferret out the few gems among the scams, unprofitable startups, dying companies, and shells that populate the otc and bulletin board stock listings.
I don’t know if he’s been successful at that so far (he says that he has, of course), but I do know that a reader sent this note to me … along with a solution to the teaser, so again we start a week with a solution that I didn’t even have to search out myself. Can you tell that it’s my birthday?
This one is all about alternative energy, as so many teasers are these days. The long spiel about how fossil fuels are still terrible pollutants, about how much political pressure there is to find alternatives, etc. etc. etc. Nothing new there.
And he goes on to say that this particular renewable resource is geothermal energy — which is, of course, completely clean. He cites the one huge success story in geothermal energy, which is the wee country of Iceland — you’ll see that come up whenever someone has a geothermal stock to sell you, since it’s the only country that manages to produce an appreciable amount of electricity geothermally. It’s also the only country that happens to be sitting in its entirety on a big ol vent in the earth that bubbles up nice hot water for them.
According to this adviser — and several others — geothermal energy is very important … “it could be an energy savior, even in parts of the U.S.”
And, as our adviser notes, “the Geysers field in Northern California happens to be the largest geothermal development in the world.”
So we certainly know that geothermal generation does work in the places where geology is lined up to support it. You don’t hear about many companies making much money from it, though … perhaps that’s about the change?
This argument is all about California:
“The rabidly green state of California is the perfect place for geothermal expansion. The state of California will require 20% of electricity sales to come from renewable resources by 2010. In 2006, 15% of all electricity used in California came from geothermal, wind, solar and small hydro.”
Right now, California is about 6% geothermal. Almost all of it comes from the Calpine properties in the established Geysers field, but apparently there are some other little players in there, too … and this teased company is one of them.
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Then there was some chatter about “enhanced geothermal” operations, which essentially means bringing geothermal generation to non-volcanic areas by pumping water into the ground to find hot zones, then harvesting the steam for your generators. A lot more work than sitting on top of steam vents in the Geysers or Iceland and watching your turbine spin around, but, hey, it still doesn’t pollute (much), so I suppose it’s worth a try.
“While Calpine’s turnaround gains momentum, one tiny competitor is preparing for operations at the Geysers, as well as a second location on the West Coast. Unfortunately, I can’t divulge the name of this bulletin board gem in this forum. It’s just too small and too illiquid to reveal to a large audience.”
Well — you know the Gumshoe’s readers can’t just sit by and leave it at that, which is why the solution was sent to my by one of our intrepid searchers. There were a couple other clues if you want to take a stab at it yourself:
The company is working on two projects right now.
One of them is at the Geysers, a $100 million facility that should go online by 2010.
Says Greg, “you can get the name of this future force in power by subscribing to my new Bulletin Board investment service.”
Says the Gumshoe, thanks to a quick-thinking reader, this company is …
Western GeoPower (WGP up in Canada, WGPWF on the pinks)
I don’t know much about these guys or geothermal power in general, though I do know it’s a match for the teaser. Stockerblog posted a quick summary of the geothermal stocks out there over at SeekingAlpha a while back which is worth a read, and we sniffed out US Geothermal as the solution to a different teaser a few months ago. WGP has been on a bit of a climb lately, but hasn’t seen a huge lift from this particular newsletter as far as I can tell (unless they started pushing this one in the Winter, well before I saw it). The shares are around 30 cents right now, and a couple weeks back when I first saw the email they were just about at the same point. Not quite as big a recent winner as has been US Geothermal of late, but the companies are very different — established and producing field in the huge CA market for WGP, restarting an old test field in Idaho for UGTH.
My reader comments that Western GeoPower has one great project underway at the Geysers, but that the Myriad project in British Columbia, their other project mentioned in the teaser, is a bit of a stinker — lots of drilling, no good results yet. You might want to look into that yourself — I’d stay away from these little companies until you understand what it will take for them to become profitable, including how many years might pass in the interim, but certainly the technology is proven and folks are powering their toasters with geothermal energy in lots of places around the world right now. As always, enjoy doing your own research — and enjoy all that cash you didn’t have to throw Greg Guenther’s way if all you wanted was the name of the company.