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Katrina Damage Highlights Renewed Interest in Renewables
With Hurricane Katrina shutting down an estimated five percent of American oil refining capacity, and oil prices already at an all-time high, investors are starting to look seriously at renewable forms of energy as the next big thing. Share prices in several small American companies producing solar panels and related equipment--including Evergreen Solar, DayStar Technologies, Energy Conversion Devices and Spire--have more than doubled over the past year. Meanwhile, Cypress Semiconductor hopes to raise more than $100 million for a spin-off IPO of its solar subsidiary SunPower this fall. Analysts think that the damage from Katrina will only help these companies raise more money via the public markets and close the cost gap between traditional forms of power and renewable sources.