Utility Forecaster

T. Boone Swings for the Fences... Again

This Time I Think He’s Hit a
Prodigious Grand Slam.

Here’s How it Can Help You
Clinch a Millionaire’s Retirement.

He’s 83 years old and the very definition of an eccentric billionaire/thinker/ entrepreneur. But his last big national call to action—“Hey, let’s cover Kansas and Iowa with wind farms!”—was spectacularly wrong.

Now he’s back with another Pickens Plan. This time I think he’s spectacularly right. Get on board now to pile up wealth from the most sweeping power-usage shift since millions of Americans switched from oil lamps to electric lights...

It just never felt right...

... America’s ultimate big-talking Texas oil and gas tycoon climbing into bed with tree-hugging environmentalists, enthusiastically endorsing alternative energy solutions, most prominently wind.

There was the former Executive Director of the Sierra Club (of all people!) heaping praise on Pickens, the swashbuckling corporate raider of the 1980s, for “seeing the light and speaking out to save America.” The whole scene looked positively surreal.

For a time, you couldn’t avoid the crusty oil baron’s TV commercials. They blanketed the airwaves, starring T. Boone himself lamenting our reliance on fossil fuels, and claiming America was home to “the best wind corridor of any country in the world and we’re not using it.”

Wind power, Pickens predicted, would not only end our dangerous dependency on foreign oil, it would fire up the U.S. economy by creating jobs and revitalizing America’s rural interior.

To back it up, he put his money where his mouth was, announcing plans to build a 4,000-megawatt wind farm—the world’s largest—in Texas. All told, he spent $80 million. That’s right, $80 million of his own cash, promoting wind. And then...

The big blow died down to a breeze... and ultimately to a dead calm, taking the wind out of T. Boone’s sails like a bad day in the doldrums.

It turned out the many intractable drawbacks to wind power are real (excuse the pun) deal-blowers.

While T. Boone’s grand plan might have created jobs in America’s rural interior, it became depressingly clear that even partially powering the country would require virtually blanketing the heartland with wind farms the size of entire states!

Indeed, matching the output of a single gas-fired power plant with wind requires the use of 85 times more land space.

While it’s true most Americans probably don’t know the difference between a megawatt and a gigawatt, they do take notice on hearing that producing enough wind power to satisfy a meager 20% of the U.S. demand would take up an area about the size of Rhode Island.

Other stubborn problems loom, such as the obvious fact that wind farms only generate electricity when the wind is blowing—and there’s no feasible way to store the power generated on those windy days for future use. There are not enough batteries in the world.

And, of course, wind farms require remote locations far from urban centers where power is most needed... a vast infrastructure would have to be built just to carry the electricity to where people actually live.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m one of alternative energy’s greatest well-wishers. Non-fossil, renewable-energy sources have the potential to someday give us a cleaner, safer world.

But that dream won’t become reality anytime soon. As investors, we have to face reality.

Bottom line: Wind is clean and green, but without a spectacular technological breakthrough—as yet nowhere in sight—it’s not realistic for an advanced industrial society. (Ask the Europeans who’ve spent billions on wind and still depend on nasty old fossil fuels for 82% of their total energy needs.)

But give T. Boone credit—the man never quits. He’s back with...

THE NEW PICKENS PLAN:
GONE IS THE WIND

The never-say-die Texan is back with a new plan in his quest to cure America from its addiction to foreign oil.

Admitting that wind power is not economically viable, Pickens has shifted his focus to increasing development of natural gas.

This time, I happen to think the old curmudgeon is right on the money.

Never in my two-decade-plus career studying the energy field have I seen so many indicators pointing in one direction... natural gas. But we’re not buying the fuel because that’s NOT the “real” gas bull market!

Instead, we’re going to profit—and help America help itself—with an investment that positions your money at the epicenter of one of the greatest energy developments in U.S. history.

It’s literally the end of one era—and the beginning of another.

Here’s why I believe the era of natural-gas-powered electrification has arrived.

Let me repeat—I am not suggesting you invest in the fuel itself, which is subject to extreme seasonal and weather price variations. There’s another way to get rich from the Big Switch to gas, which I’ll reveal just a few paragraphs below.

It’s vital to understand what’s at stake here: nothing less than America’s ability to produce enough electricity affordably to grow the economy at the rate to which we’ve become accustomed. And, as we all know too well, America is not growing fast enough to sustain our way of life.

But here’s our great national dilemma.

Public opinion in the country is hopelessly split.

Just about half of Americans clings to the wholly unrealistic view that we can replace ALL coal and nuclear with renewable energy such as wind and solar very soon... while the other half believes the entire notion of too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a complete hoax.

Good luck trying to convince either group to change its collective mind!

Leaving the only realistic solution: natural gas—the cleanest of all fossil-based fuels and one which is found in massive quantities right here at home.

The Big Switch to natural gas (which is already underway) can restore U.S. growth to robust levels... and provide the cleanest energy currently available to a society that cannot tolerate slow growth and high unemployment for a lengthy period of time.

France, we are not. (Anyway, the French generate 75% of their electrical power from nuclear plants which dot the Rhone River Valley like mushrooms—try selling that option to Americans in the post-Fukushima Daiichi world.)

Again, I can’t state this strongly enough: The future belongs to gas.

Already, America’s use of gas for generating electricity has steadily risen over the past 30 years and now accounts for nearly a million gigawatt hours of output—23% of U.S. electricity. That’s about to go up—and fast.

Natural-gas-fired plants are expected to account for 60% of capacity additions in the coming years—and gas will almost certainly provide nearly half of America’s electricity within two decades.

I believe the rapid growth of America’s use of gas is unstoppable—for many reasons.

First, the U.S. is often called the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas.”

Second, it’s relatively easy and fast to construct large, base-load plants (12 to 18 months typically), as long as there’s a pipeline nearby—as there almost always is. The infrastructure is already there. Interstate gas pipelines connect to every major population area in the U.S.

Third, many U.S. coal-fired power plants are slated for retirement over the next 10 years. That’s with or without meaningful regulation of carbon dioxide emission, as these plants have simply grown too old to be run economically. The only logical candidate to replace them is gas-fired power plants.

In fact, one of the largest energy producers, American Electrical Power (NYSE: AEP), recently announced a plan to cut its CO2 output, including closing down coal-fired plants and a major effort to expand its natural gas-fired generation.

When AEP, the largest producer of CO² in the U.S. and a long-time defender of coal power, makes such a move, the handwriting is on the wall for the industry as a whole.

Clearly, the U.S. is set to reduce coal use for its power, and gas is what will replace it.

In other words, the Big Switch is on—from coal to gas—to power America back to stronger economic growth.

Wind can’t do the job.

Solar can’t do the job.

And building new nuclear plants, which even the Obama administration supported pre-Fukushima, is going to be very difficult.

Thus, America faces a stark choice:

Either we come together on a consensus for clean-burning natural gas as a viable “bridge” to a future in which renewables are economically realistic—or learn to live with chronic outages and drastically higher electric bills.

I believe America will make the right choice. Already (as we see in the case of AEP), major utilities are making the shift and adding capacity utilizing natural gas.

As I said, there’s a strong bull market coming for natural gas—but profiting hugely DOES NOT require investing in the companies that produce gas itself.

Rather, the investing “juice” is in the companies that build, own and operate the gathering systems, pipelines, storage and distribution networks that bring gas from wellhead to burner tip, power plant and fueling station.

I strongly believe this strategy will earn huge investing rewards for several decades down the road—no matter what the overall economy or the stock market do. You don’t want to miss the Big Switch!

That’s why I urge you to...

Join me as we get rich from the Big Switch—the most sweeping energy changeover since Americans dumped their oil lamps and bought electric lights.

As I write, I have in mind 10 natural-gas service companies in commanding positions when it comes to systems that gather, store and distribute gas from the wellheads to the power plants.

These are the outfits that will reap staggering profits from the unstoppable national shift from coal- and oil-fired electricity to natural gas while enjoying immunity from the seasonal and weather variables that can erode earnings from direct gas-producing investments.

Utility Forecaster, my investment newsletter, is locked onto these winners like a laser beam. My goal is to help you build real wealth and guarantee you a million-dollar retirement.

Since the first issue of Utility Forecaster two decades ago, investors who followed my portfolio recommendations have been rewarded with 13.3% a year average returns.

Just look at a few of the exciting Big Switch investment opportunities I want to tell you about:

  • The energy leader—boasting a superb financial sheet—that’s building a natural-gas pipeline, processing plant and other facilities in the gas-rich Eagle Ford Shale region of South Texas. (This red-hot hale area is being compared to the famous Haynesville Shale formation in Louisiana, the top U.S. producer of shale gas. I see dynamic growth for years to come for this company.)
  • I like this growing firm because it operates the nation’s largest gas distribution system, as well as one of the biggest storage and pipeline networks and an LNG facility in Mexico. (Late tip: They plan to spend at least $3 billion a year on expansion at least to mid-decade.)
  • Zeroed in on the Big Switch, this company plans to spend $1 billion a year on gas infrastructure in the U.S. and Canada over the next 5 years. (I also like that it’s boldly targeted 8 gigawatts of coal- and oil-fired plants ripe for conversion to gas.)
  • I see growth, growth, growth for this stock. Not only do they own a vital LNG export facility in Maryland, they’ve also launched a major build-up of gas infrastructure in the exciting Marcellus Shale region. (This is the game-changing discovery that’s turning Pennsylvania into the booming, job-creating “North Dakota of the East.”)
  • This enterprising company reported record natural-gas and NGL pipeline volumes, investing $3.1 billion to acquire midstream energy infrastructure. (It also completed 3 major construction projects, including storage facilities and pipelines, and will invest $3.4 billion in the prime Eagle Ford and Haynesville Shale regions.)

The Big SwitchI’ve identified 5 other dream investments in my new special report, The Big Switch: Profit from America’s Conversion to Natural-Gas-Fired Electricity... yours FREE just for taking a look at Utility Forecaster.

As I’m sure you’ve deduced from the paragraphs above, the big money is cascading in to develop North America’s natural gas. But we’re still in the early stages. The stunning acceleration of investment in gas gathering, processing, pipeline and storage infrastructure has lots of room to run.

It also means the same big money is betting the Obama administration will come down on their side of “fracking,” the controversial hydraulic fracturing that unlocks shale gas from rock formations.

FRACK, BABY, FRACK!

So far, the administration remains supportive of natural gas. That makes supreme sense. Their goal is promoting energy independence and cutting CO2 emissions. (Meaning sayonara to coal.) That bodes well for carefully monitored fracking and continued development of America’s vast natural gas reserves.

The Super Oils are betting Obama sees the “big picture” as well.

Chevron and Exxon have hitched their wagons to the shale gas boom, making huge acquisitions, which we can take as a strong indication of where they believe the administration and the future of shale gas are headed.

Chevron just added 220,000 acres in the Marcellus Shale region, following up on its $3.2 billion acquisition of Atlas Energy, giving it a huge foothold in the northeastern U.S. gas field.

Exxon is also moving fast on shale. The producer shelled out $1.6 billion for two exploration companies giving the oil giant access to 317,000 acres beneath Pennsylvania and neighboring states.

As I pointed out, the choice (given the unrealistic outlook for renewables and the dicey future of nuclear, post-Fukushima) boils down to either natural gas or chronic electrical outages.

My sources inside the natural gas industry are confident the political debate will go inevitably their way—making our investment in the top service and pipeline companies a grand-slam homer that will put runs on your investment-gains scoreboard for decades.

At a time when the average stock yields between 2% to 3%, the best of these gas-industry service stocks are dishing out as much as 7% in dividends. And they also boast potential for double-digit growth, just like the hottest stocks on the block. But without the heart-stopping risk.

Whatever your goal as an investor—be it steady retirement income with high-yield/low-risk safeguards or just a healthy desire to get in on the still-early stages of a powerful, long-term-growth opportunity—I strongly urge you to take the first big step without delay.

All my research tells me the Big Switch from coal to natural gas to supply America’s electricity will continue for years, churning out life-changing profits for investors who joined the party at the opportune moment—which I believe is right now... today!

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Today, I am absolutely certain America’s Big Switch from coal to gas is going to be one of the great fortune-building opportunities in the history of investing. I want to help you be a part of it.

Never in my two-decade-plus career studying the energy field have I seen so many indicators pointing in one direction... the natural gas beneath our feet.

Opportunities the magnitude of this do not come along often. It’s still early. Prime investments are plentiful—if you know how to find them. Join me as we prosper—and help America become one of the most energy-independent nations on earth.

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Sincerely,
Roger Conrad
Roger Conrad
Chief Investment Strategist, Utility Forecaster

P.S. Every investing sector has its weak performers. If you already have a few utilities in your portfolio, make sure THESE aren’t among them. If you own even one, you need to make replacements now. I’ll show you how in this report.

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