Renewable Energy Gets Second Wind on AIM

Wind, wave and other technologies are capitalising on fears over gas and oil supplies, writes Angus McCrone.

Published: 30-Jan-2006

class=textcopy>AT first sight, a fuel-cell membrane that makes it easier for television addicts to watch their favourite programmes on a mobile phone has little in common with a 17-tonne metal buoy floating in the sea close to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

In fact the two are the little and large of the British stock market’s burgeoning alternative-energy sector. This now has almost 20 companies with a combined market value that broke through £1 billion at the end of last year and soared to £1.3 billion after last week’s launch of the government’s energy review.

Renewable power is an industry that fires the imagination, with its innovative wind, wave, solar, bio-fuel and fuel cell technologies. However, it also poses more valuation problems for British investors than anything since the rise of the dotcom and biotechnology stocks in the late 1990s.

Take that buoy in Hawaii. This is the first part of a pioneering wave-energy power station, ordered by the US Navy from Ocean Power Technologies, a £40m company quoted on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), and it should start producing electricity within weeks.


Wind power might run into competitive trouble against emerging clean coal technologies, but if carbon dioxide isn't taxed. Photo is simulation of future Waymart Wind Farm in Pennsylvania.


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