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Clean & Efficient: Stocks For The Coming Power Grid

Alex Kurtz of Merriman Curhan Ford thinks green is smart.

"We see this as a massive investment opportunity over the next three to five years," he told CNBC. "These are not science experiments in the clean-tech space; this is really about installing the backbone for the next generation of energies that are coming online."

Kurtz sees three key areas in the space: advanced meters, upgrades of power substations, and transmission lines.

"The important thing about this space right now is, what's going to happen with the Obama stimulus plan," he said. "There's a lot of discussion within the smart-grid sector that he will allocate either a tax credit or some kind of direct investment into these projects."

Time to name names.

Recommendations:

"Our top pick in the space is Itron, the market leader in the United States for advanced metering" of electricity, water, gas and heat, he said.

"Esco Technologies, another key player in the metering space; they have a key deployment in California."

But all that carefully-measured power has to be moved from place to place.

"On the transmission side, we like ABB, a very large company focused on power and transmission investments around the world, and American Superconductor ; they make wind turbines, but they also make equipment that gets wind energy integrated onto the grid."

Disclosures:

Kurtz's firm makes a market in Itron, and as such, buys from and sells to customers on a principal basis.

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