GLOBAL WARMING:SPOTTING THE WINNERS
With Federal and state regulations on greenhouse gases now inevitable, businesses will have to adapt.
With Federal and state regulations on greenhouse gases now inevitable, businesses will have to adapt. But with change comes opportunity for many firms.
The most obvious are alternative energy firms making power from wind, solar and other sources. Behind them are the legions of suppliers to the alternative power industries, as well as suppliers to the hard-hit utilities and automakers, which will need new technologies, services and products to adapt. Learn more about these firms -- the slide show begins with the navigation bar to your right.
GLOBAL WARMING:EFFICIENCY FIRST
One of the first things businesses can do to reduce their greenhouse emissions -- and costs -- is to improve energy efficiency. Many firms stand ready with technologies and services. Elster Electricity, Itron (ITRI), eMeter, SmartSynch and others offer meters that track real-time fluctuations in power prices, allowing manufacturers and others to better monitor how much their energy costs.
Utilities, too, will be shopping to develop a more flexible power grid so they can buy renewable energy from distance sources, as well as surplus power from businesses and homeowners with generating systems. IBM, Invensys Controls, Areva and other IT firms will benefit.
GLOBAL WARMING:WIND AND SUN
In wind power, General Electric (GE) is an obvious giant, making turbines and other equipment. But suppliers in the field, such as Zoltek, which makes composite materials used in turbine blades, stand to gain as well.
American Superconductor (AMSC) sells technology that makes wind-generated power compatible with the grid. And VRB Power Systems (VRB) offers electrochemical systems that can store wind or solar energy. In solar, Amonix, Miasolé, Nanosolar Sun Power and others are working on cheaper, more-efficient photoelectric cells.
GLOBAL WARMING:GLOWING GREEN?
The fact that nuclear power generates no greenhouse gases is helping spur a revival of the sector. A variety of firms stand to gain, including Allegheny Technologies, which makes titanium alloys and other specialty metals used in nuclear plants. BWX Technologies is one of the few firms with the skill to do precise machining on reactor pars.
Even concrete firms will benefit -- each nuclear reactor needs five times as much concrete as the foundation and flooring in the Sears Tower. And, of course, nuclear power plants need fuel -- USEC (USEC) will log steadily rising orders for fuel-grade uranium.
GLOBAL WARMING:FOSSIL CLEANUP
That smoke is money to firms such as Foster-Miller and NeuCo, which make systems that remove airborne pollutants from coal plant emissions. PPL Corp. (PPL) and others will build the next generation of coal-fired plants producing little or no pollution.
And further down the road, efforts to divert carbon dioxide underground for storage -- known as carbon sequestration -- will fatten the accounts of geology surveying firms and vendors of drilling equipment and pipes.
GLOBAL WARMING:STRUCTURAL CHANGE
Nearly all companies and homeowners will be in the market for earth-friendly building products and fixtures. Put high-efficiency compact fluorescent lightbulbs at the top of the list. An easy and inexpensive way to trim power use, one such bulb can eliminate the need to burn 110 pounds of coal for electricity over its lifetime. Makers include Osram Sylvania, General Electric (GE) and MaxLite.
Revised building codes will also push construction firms toward using more substitutes for lumber, glass, concrete and other materials whose manufacture emits high levels of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. Newly developed alternative materials include home insulation made from old jeans and jeans scraps as well as boards made from recycled wheat chaff that are used for doors, cabinets and floors.Governments drive demand for such products as they strive to lower fuel bills -- and set an example. Leading items on official shopping lists are furniture made from recyclable materials and environmentally friendly cleaning supplies.