Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This week's quest to uncover budding Rule Breakers finds a plug for broadband and bad news for the pure-play green energy firms.
First up this week is BPL Global, which provides what it calls "smart grid" technology for electric power utilities, whatever that means. Geek-speak jargon aside, BPL earns a plug in this column because it enables data, voice, and video to be delivered at broadband speed over any power line. That, in turn, appears to have attracted private equity investors. A group led by Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ) committed $26 million in financing on Feb. 15.
Today, only 45% of U.S. households -- or 50 million homes -- have broadband access. Providing a system that would allow utilities to deliver electricity and connectivity at the same time could accelerate growth and juice profits for aging power providers.
Don't underestimate the potential here. The nation's largest broadband-over-power-lines rollout is being managed by Income Investor pick TXU (NYSE: TXU ) , which is now the subject of a $32 billion private-equity buyout led by firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group.
Meanwhile, green-tech pure plays may see rougher days ahead. A survey conducted by Wall Street firm Jefferies, a Motley Fool CAPS All-Star, found that attendees at last week's Cleantech Forum conference in San Francisco overwhelmingly favored hybrids as the green technology with the most promise.
Hybrids, which tend to combine electric and fossil-fuel power to reduce vehicle emissions -- Toyota's (NYSE: TM ) Prius, for example -- nabbed 39% of the vote, versus 26% for ethanol, 24% for biodiesel, and 11% for fuel cells, VentureWire reports.
I can't really claim to be surprised. While story stocks such as FuelCell Energy (Nasdaq: FCEL ) and Pacific Ethanol (Nasdaq: PEIX ) sound great, tech's overnight successes take decades of hard labor to produce. On that scorecard, green technology is still, well, green.
See you back here next week when we continue the quest to find the greatest growth.
For more Rule Breaking Foolishness:
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers, ranked 1,614 out of more than 23,400 in Motley Fool CAPS, is a sucker for growth stocks and a contributor to David's Rule Breakers team. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. All of his portfolio holdings can be found at Tim's Fool profile. His thoughts on growth stocks, Foolishness, and investing in general may be found in his blog. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is a rebel on Wall Street.