“Power Plays — Cash in on the Wind-Energy Revolution” Motley Fool

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, October 15, 2008

Ah, another book-length teaser from the Motley Fool … just the thing to dig in my Gumshoe teeth after a few days of odd posts about the Gumshoe contest and Social Security payouts. Back to stocks!

Today our teaser is for the Fool’s Hidden Gems service, which according to Hulbert has been their worst-performing service over the last twelve months (Hulbert doesn’t track Global Gains, which has been decimated with the crash of the BRIC countries) — perhaps not surprising, since they focus on small cap stocks. Over time, my impression is that this has been a very strong service — at one point they did reach the coveted top spot for a brief while, and they have beaten the market over five years.

And they’ve brought a few interesting companies to our attention in the past, though certainly they haven’t all been winners (In the last year or so they’ve tried to hook us with Dawson Geophysical, LoopNet, Buffalo Wild Wings and a few others).

So what are they “teasing” today?

They call it the “Greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.” Subtle, eh?

“An unprecedented economic crisis is coming — and $10 TRILLION is going to change hands. It’s NOT what you think — but it will create one of the most lucrative investment opportunities since the Industrial Revolution.

“GE, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, British Petroleum, and even Bill Gates are positioning themselves to cash in. And YOU can join them — IF you take advantage of the 3 timely opportunities detailed just ahead…”

No, they don’t mean the transfer of wealth from our brokerage accounts into the ether. What they’re talking about is alternative energy, and specifically wind energy.

And they drop every name in the book to help bolster their argument that wind is the future — The Economist, Bill Gates, the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barack Obama, Time, John McCain, British Petroleum, Blackstone, JP Morgan … phew! All those, according to the Fool, either spoke or wrote glowingly of wind energy, or invested in it.

I won’t argue with them on that one — they also lift a few bon mots from the T. Boone Pickens spiel and from the Pickens Plan advertisements … Pickens, in case you haven’t heard, is advocating a switch to wind for electricity generation, and to natural gas for transportation.

This is not the first time we’ve looked at a wind energy teaser, and I more or less agree that wind is a critical part of our energy future, though I have no idea how big it can get. Past teasers have told us about a Manitoba windmill farm, and about some of the big European wind turbine makers like Vestas.

And wind is one of the “easy” renewable sources, as long as you’re not worried about bird health — it’s relatively cheap and efficient if you place the turbines in reliably windy areas, and it doesn’t require quite as much subsidy as solar panels to be worthwhile. It’s not as easy a call as geothermal or hydropower in terms of efficiency, but there are a lot more places where you can throw up windmills.

So if we stipulate that we are interested in wind, what do the folks at the Motley Fool’s Hidden Gems have for us today?

Naturally, they throw out a few clues … and some tempting tidbits that get the appetite building, though the company name is kept juuuuuuust out of reach …

“… I want to show you how — starting today — you can begin building your own wealth by getting invested in an under-the-radar company that is uniquely positioned to cash in on what the world’s foremost wind-energy experts have dubbed…

“The Saudi Arabia of Wind”

“Everyone knows that Saudi Arabia is the world’s oil capital.

“But did you know that according to the Department of Energy, North Dakota alone has enough wind capacity to generate over a quarter of our nation’s electricity needs?”

Then we start to get a little bit more specific …

“Imagine if it were as easy as investing in a rock-solid, all-American company that follows Warren Buffett’s patented methodology of growing shareholder value to a T…

“Well, it can be — if you get invested in the remarkable, little-known company I’m about to introduce you to…

“Tack on the fact that it’s a major player in the North Dakota wind-energy market and that it pays a whopping 4% dividend and what have you got?”