LATEST ARTICLES

Democratizing the Grid

by Daryl Roberts In a previous article I investigated the question of whether private sector capital was being stimulated sufficiently enough to build out renewable infrastructure on pace to reach climate goals.  I found that on the upper end, giant institutional funds were only mobilizing a tiny fraction of their total Assets Under Management, due to regulatory constraints and uncompetitive yields.  On the lower end, smaller scale funding seemed to be growing, with facilitation from intermediaries, fintech aggregation services, and increased access at lower levels to complicated derisking strategies. But I now find reporting that capital is over-mobilized, that solar may...
UQM Fuel Cell comperssor

Shareholders Cry Foul as UQM Agrees to Buyout

UQM Technologies (UQM:  NYSE) has agreed to be acquired by Danfoss Power Solutions for $1.71 per share in cash, providing a deal value near $100 million.  UQM leadership expects timely review by government authorities and has recommended approval of the deal by shareholders.  A date has not been set for the required shareholder vote.  Assuming all goes according to schedule, a deal closing is possible sometime in the second quarter 2019. Electric propulsion and generation technologies are at the core of UQM’s solutions for manufacturing, transportation and power industries.  The substitution of electric motors for combustion engines has been driving demand for the UQM’s products.  Market opportunities have abounded...

Covanta Turns Ash Collector

Well into the early 1900s ash collectors plied the streets of America’s cities, picking up ash buckets left at curbs and stoops by households and businesses.  The ash collectors sold as much as possible for brick making and soil improvement.  The rest went to the handiest dumps. Since then large utilities have taken over the job of heating and lighting buildings.  Coal-fired power plants have become the largest producers of ash.  The American Coal Ash Association reports that 53 million metric tons of coal cash were generated in 2013, of which 23 million metric tons were re-used for cement and bricks.  The rest was stored...
EVs

Surprisingly Affordable Electric Vehicles

When will electric vehicles cost the same or less than gas cars? If you are buying a used vehicle, the answer is “Today.” If you are considering buying a used car, cost is clearly important to you.  That’s why you should seriously consider a used electric vehicle (EVs). Lists of cars that lose their value fastest (a good thing if you are a used car buyer) are full of electric vehicles and luxury vehicles.  The first generation of electric vehicles including GM's (GM) Chevy Volt and the Nissan (NSANY) Leaf regularly appear on lists of cars that depreciate quickly. Less...

The MacArthur Foundation Invests In Climate Solutions- And In Fossil Fuels

By Marc Gunther.  Eighteen months ago, the people who manage the endowment at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation got some bad news: Investments they had made in funds managed by EnerVest, a Houston-based private equity firm that operates more than 33,000 oil and gas wells across the US, had plummeted in value to almost nothing. The losses were small, relatively speaking — roughly $15 million, a fraction of the foundation’s $7 billion endowment — but they were unwelcome, if only because they called attention to the fact that MacArthur, whose mission is, famously, to build a “more just, verdant and peaceful world,” had...
5 year performance

Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2018: Wrap Up

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Almost every major index fell in 2018.  My Ten Clean Energy Stocks model portfolio and the Green Global Equity Income Portfolio (GGEIP), the real-money portfolio that I manage were not exceptions.  Still, I'm satisfied with their performance: the model portfolio lost only 1.3 percent for the year, while GGEIP was down 2.6 percent.  That's well ahead of most indexes, including my benchmarks YLCO (down 7.8 percent) and SDY (down 4.1%.)  These benchmarks are intended to reflect the performance of clean energy dividend stocks and general of dividend stocks, respectively.  Non-income oriented indexes such as the...
autonom taxi

Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2019

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Looking forward to 2019, I'm more optimistic than I have been since the start of 2016, in the wake of the popping of the YieldCo Bubble in late 2015. The bear market that started in late 2018 seems like it's far from over, but I expect in early 2019 will see it enter a less chaotic phase.  After the wild declines and swings of late 2018, I expect investors will begin the new year with an eye to safety more than growth.  This means that the clean energy income stocks which are my focus should outperform...

Less Well Known Autonomous Car Stocks

Car manufacturers have fully embraced self-driving or autonomous cars.  It is not because they have heard a loud clamor for such technology from consumers.  No, automakers are keen on the idea because manufacture of self-driving cars could help them overcome the short comings of highly cyclical sales pattern associated with its car dependent upon a single driver.  In other words, they are in it for themselves whether consumers benefit or not. If consumers are not so important, at least investors should benefit. Besides the car manufacturers there are a few smaller companies that can give investors a taste of the self-driving car phenomenon. LiDar and...

Manufacturers Going All Out for Self-driving Car Tech

There is a clutch of self-driving cars and cars with autonomous driving features on the market today.  Drivers just cannot seem to get enough of them.  Apparently, the idea of zooming down the highway with little to no responsibility holds considerable appeal.  Then again, maybe it is the novelty of the idea that will eventually give way to the next fad. In August 2018, Cox Automotive revealed the results of a survey that found fewer Americans are embracing self-driving technology than previously thought.  A surprising 49% of respondents said they would NEVER own a fully-autonomous car.  This is up from 30% naysayers two years ago. Views...

10 Solar Hopes For 2019

by Paula Mints Ten things to hope for in 2019, and their odds of coming true. 1) Accelerated focus on climate change: It’s not enough to talk climate change, or promise action – action must be taken and though it will take lifestyle changes now, and will have an economic impact now, the cost of attempting to survive climate change is higher. Make no mistake, it’s survival, not reversal. Odds: Low – when the bill for change comes due even true believers will balk, when a change in behavior is required, most find this difficult, and when the entrenched technology or industry feels...

Aviation Biofuels: The Year of the Tree

by Jim Lane When the world’s leaders for sustainable aviation fuels have a general meeting the week before the COP24 global climate sessions (this year in Poland), you can bet that the focus will be breaking the “You Can Have Two out of Three Conundrum” of aviation fuels. Which is to say: affordable, available at scale, and sustainable, pick any two of the three. Fossil fuels are (usually) affordable and always available at scale. Sustainable jet fuels that are available at scale have generally not been affordable to date, and affordable sustainable fuels have been mostly explored at bench scale, so...

Ormat Steams On

Ormat Technologies, Inc. (ORA:  NYSE) recently reported financial results for the three-month period ending September 2018  -  the first full quarter without the revenue and earnings of the company’s Puna geothermal electricity generation project.  In early May 2018, the Kilauea volcano erupted, giving the Hawaiian Islands a grand fire show.  For Ormat and its neighbors near its Puna Geothermal Power Project the volcano was more nightmare than entertainment.  Within a few days Ormat was forced to shut down the facility on Kilauea by removing surface equipment and plugging the geothermal well holes.  Nonetheless, three well sites, the electric substation, an adjacent warehouse and drilling equipment were overtaken...
biodiesel operating margins

Renewable Energy Group’s New CEO: C.J. Warner

by Jim Lane In Iowa, white smoke has emerged from the Renewable Energy Group (REGI) conclave: Tesoro EVP and former Sapphire Energy CEO C.J. Warner has been named chief exec of Renewable Energy Group, at a pivotal moment for biodiesel in Washington and around the world and amidst a boom for renewable diesel like the world has never seen. REG has been making good progress with Wall Street under interim CEO Randy Howard and its share price has been on the rise, and the plants have been humming along nicely churning out hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel and the liquid gold...
solar storage and finance

Conference Brief – Solar & Storage Finance

Renewable energy finance has many different kinds of participants, as revealed recently at the Solar & Storage Finance conference hosted in NYC.  .   Listening to the live actors from the financial side of the renewable power industry moved the issues off the page, to a more concrete experience of their specific concerns, including the extent to which their distinct missions were siloed, how they are competitive, and how they synergize. The presentations were organized to highlight these differences.  Several panel discussions were set back-to-back the contrast between lenders vs tax equity investors, both in terms of their goals, but also...

Solar & Storage Finance Conference Notes

I attended the Solar & Storage Finance conference hosted in NYC in late October 2018.  Presenters included a mix of capital providers & asset managers, private non-profit entities & public agencies, legal, accounting & consulting firms, intermediaries, firms providing risk analysis, ratings & mitigation, & various vendors of energy storage and IT-related services.  The tone of the discussions was noteworthy for its near total absence of ideological comments about environmental urgency.   Rather, it was a meeting of finance technicians and technocrats focused on the nuts & bolts of accomplishing those ends, with the merits and relevance of mission assumed. The...
solarwindow

SolarWindow: A Unique But Risky Opportunity

by Debra Fiakas, CFA SolarWindow (WNDW:  OTC/QB) raised $25 million this week to build a manufacturing plant for its electricity-generating glass.   Three investors subscribed to 16.7 million shares of common stock.  The company is getting $19.8 million in new capital in addition to conversion of $3.6 million in debt to common stock. The SolarWindow is unlike any other energy producing innovation.  Rather than relying some sort of dedicated production plant or facility, the SolarWindow is a part of the electricity user’s own facility.  Ultra-thin layers of liquid coatings are sprayed onto a glass surface, forming a network or array of miniature solar cells. This is a type of photovoltaic technology that uses...