It's that time again when the World Economic Forum (WEF) is again being held in Davos, Switzerland and leaders from politics, business, and beyond gather to exchange ideas, make new relationships and hopefully think more about the future. It's that last point that really hit me since two of the central themes of this year's Davos event are focused on sustainability and embracing disruptive innovation. These areas are near and dear to my own heart since I believe those concepts will guide the future of next-generation energy. 

Energy innovation had led to energy independence but climate sustainability must allow that independence to also limit carbon, so challenges still remain around the world. Why? The changing dynamic of energy will radically present new opportunities for increased efficiency in a world that is still very much growing in population. Therefore after Davos, I hope more attention is focused on safeguarding critical energy infrastructure, the growing reality of climate change, advancing energy without the reliance on water, creating power sources that can operate 24/7, and on fostering more integration between technology, social behavior, and a more efficient energy future. 

We must remember to be bold when it comes to innovation but at the same time not forget that change takes time and won't happen overnight. To that end, I think energy investors need to look at companies that have more than one horse in the energy race and take a well-balanced approach to growth.

This has me inclined to favor companies such as Siemens (NYSE: SI), Lockheed Martin, Statoil (NYSE:STO), American Electric Power, NRG Energy, and General Electric (NYSE:GE). Considering I continue to believe the next Facebook or Twitter can come from the energy world, I do believe investors that don't mind volatility can benefit from the fearless approach to disruptive concepts from Google, the potential for hydrogen through Plug Power, and a creative way to capture solar through new materials by Xerox (NYSE:XRX) and DuPont.

I also believe nuclear will have its place in our energy future in some shape or form, and I continue to like Denison Mines (NYSEMKT:DNN) for its potential appreciation. As for refining, Valero (NYSE:VLO)  and Tesoro are focusing more and more on advanced biofuels so they too can benefit from the higher focus on sustainability and disruption innovation, so hopefully what is discussed in Davos doesn't get lost on the plane trip back from Switzerland by all attendees.

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John Licata owns shares of Denison Mines. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook, Google, and Statoil (ADR). The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook, General Electric Company, Google, and Lockheed Martin. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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