In his new book “Investing in Renewable Energy: Making Money on Green Chip Stocks” (→read book discussion) Jeff Siegel explains how to position portfolios in order to achieve long-term investment success in the renewable energy field. CleanTechies has talked to the author about his book, his suggestions to investors and his personal career and investment experiences.
CleanTechies: Jeff, how do you define the target audience of your book? Do you want to appeal to institutional or individual investors?
Jeff Siegel: The book primarily addresses individual investors as most of the information found in it is information any institutional investor should already know. Though I have found that a lot of folks who are simply renewable energy advocates have been buying the book too. I think it provides a great resource for those who simply want to learn more about why the large-scale integration of renewable energy is inevitable.
CleanTechies: What do you suggest individual investors then – to invest in private companies, in publicly traded companies or in funds?
Jeff Siegel: The type of investment depends on how much risk the investor wants to take on. For those who are not aggressive investors and prefer to take the safer route, exchange-traded funds, income funds or mutual funds are great ways to get a taste of the market. For those who don’t mind taking on a little more risk, then there are dozens of quality renewable energy stocks that could pay off quite well over the long term. Especially now that so many are becoming undervalued due to market conditions and general panic in the marketplace.
CleanTechies: When and how did you initially become interested in renewable energies as a business sector?
Jeff Siegel: I’ve been working in the financial publishing industry since 1994, writing both copy and editorial. But to be honest, it was always just a job. I am been pretty good at stock analysis, so it was just one of those things I fell into. But the truth is, it was never really satisfying. The money was good, but that was about it. So I decided that if I was going to stay in the business, it had to be on my terms. And that meant no more analysis and no more coverage for companies I didn’t believe in. Having long been an environmentalist, I decided that I just wanted to cover “green” companies. And that’s when I started my own, independent investment research service, Green Chip Stocks.
CleanTechies: How have you invested in the past?
Jeff Siegel: I’ve always tried to invest responsibly. Today, I really only invest in renewable energy and organic and natural food companies. Given the potential of both sectors, I’m generally in it for the long haul. That doesn’t mean there’s not money to be made elsewhere. But I prefer to back companies that I believe are contributing to a very necessary transition of our energy infrastructure, or companies that support the expansion of responsible, organic and natural food production.
CleanTechies: Your book was published at a time of worldwide recession. Would you revise any of the assessments you have made in your book given the recent economic downturn?
Jeff Siegel: Not at all. The book basically makes the case for renewable energy based on both the environmental and economic advantages. Those advantages have not disappeared. In fact, with every drop of oil and every watt we consume, those advantages become greater and greater. And bottom line: Recessions don’t last forever. There will be a recovery. But the depletion of fossil fuels is not something that will be stopped, and it cannot be reversed.
CleanTechies: Thank you for this interview, Jeff.
Jeff Siegel et al, “Investing in Renewable Energy: Making Money on Green Chip Stocks” (Angel Series) (Hardcover); Wiley (October 6, 2008). You can buy the book on Amazon.
Also read the CleanTechies Book Discussion on “Investing In Renewable Energy”