Monthly Archives: June 2009

Clean Energy Stocks Shopping List: Five Electricity Transmission Stocks

We may be headed into a renewed market slump.  If so, it will pay to wait before buying, but when the time does come to buy, here are 5 electric transmission stocks I have my eye on. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA On June 2, I wrote that I thought the market was near its peak.  That day, the S&P 500 closed at 944.74.  On June 12, it closed up 0.15% at 946.21, and has since trended down, currently trading down 5% as I write.  I expect further declines this year, either with the market heading straight down from here,...

What’s Next For The US Natural Gas Fund (UNG)?

Charles Morand Natural gas is the one commodity that has mostly resisted the rally ushered in some three months ago by a growing consensus that the worse may be over for the economy. A number of reasons have been put forward to explain this, including record storage levels and a growing supply base being unlocked through shale gas production in North America.   Yet natural gas' future looks bright: (a) it burns a lot cleaner than coal, making it a superior alternative to meet base- and peakload power requirements in a carbon-constrained world; (b) it...

A123’s Planned IPO Moves to the Front Burner

John Petersen   After six months of regulatory silence and $100 million in new funding, A123 Systems amended the SEC registration statement for its proposed IPO on June 23rd. While this latest filing may simply be A123's way demonstrating its ability to raise matching funds for a scaled back ATVM loan request of $1 billion and pending applications for $438 million in direct Federal grants, my sense is that the proposed IPO will probably come to market in early September. Since ATVM loans will require 20% cost sharing and direct Federal grants will require 50% cost...

Automotive Batteries, Short-term Revenue Growth Favors Lead-acid By 6 To 1

Last week, an article in Green Car Congress summarized a market forecast that Dr. Menahem Anderman presented at this month's Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Long Beach, California. In his presentation, Dr. Anderman evaluated the market for HEVs in 2011, projected a $1,230 million market for automotive NiMH batteries, and projected a $320 million market for automotive Li-ion batteries. The following graph comes from Green Car Congress, is based on data from Dr. Anderman's AABC presentation, and shows both unit sales and market value of the Li-ion batteries that will be used in HEVs by 2011 (click on the...

Clean Energy Stocks Shopping List: Five Energy Efficiency Stocks

Stocks may be expensive now, but they won't be forever.  Five energy efficiency plays to buy when they're cheap again in efficient HVAC, desalination, thermal imaging, and lighting. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA This article continues my Clean Energy Stocks Shopping List series.  In the first, I looked at five clean transport stocks I'll be looking to buy when the market falls.  In the second, I took a step back, and outlined why it makes sense to wait for better prices than to buy these companies now.  Here are five stocks I'll be looking to buy  in my all time...

Cellulosic Ethanol and Advanced Biofuels Investments

There's much excitement about second generation biofuels made from cellulosic feedstocks and algae, be they cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, biocrude, or electricity from biomass.  There will be winners, but they may not be the technology companies. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA At the 2009 Advanced Biofuels Workshop, there were two major themes: developing new feedstocks, especially algae, and the development of new pathways to take biomass into products such as biocrude, which can be used in exiting oil refineries.   Big Market, Many Competitors The current federal Renewable Fuel Standard requires the use of 36 million gallons of biofuels, including at...

How Short-Term Supply Constraints Will Impact Booming HEV Markets

John Petersen For several weeks I've been writing about robust demand in Europe for a new class of HEVs that are usually referred to as "stop-start" or "micro hybrids." According to the EPA's website: "Stop/Start hybrids are not true hybrids since electricity from the battery is not used to propel the vehicle. However, the Stop/Start feature is an important, energy-saving building block used in hybrid vehicles. Stop/Start technology conserves energy by shutting off the gasoline engine when the vehicle is at rest, such as at a traffic light, and automatically re-starting it when the driver pushes...

The Ethanol Industry’s Persecution Complex

If the Ethanol industry is going to rehabilitate its image, it needs to understand the issues. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA In his opening remarks at the 25th annual, 2009 Fuel Ethanol Workshop, Mike Bryan, the CEO of BBI International called on the attendees to "Take back control of the industry's image."   It's no secret that the ethanol industry is having problems, mostly, in my mind, due to a classic commodity squeeze: the industry has no pricing power either for its inputs (corn and natural gas,) or its products (ethanol, with a price which closely tracks gasoline.) ...

Where To Next For Solar PV Stocks?

Charles Morand There was an interesting post in Barron's tech trader daily on Monday discussing how solar PV stocks are coming under pressure, in part because product prices are falling further than expected. About a month ago, I discussed the potential return effect for households in given states of removing the $2,000 ITC cap. Such measures, it seems, are failing to kickstart demand, and solar recovery might end up being significantly slower than many had been expecting. Case in point, since hitting a high of $11.49 on June 11, the TAN ETF is down about 12%. KWT, for...

The Electric Grid Index

Charles Morand A little while ago, we received the following request from a reader: " when are you going to start an ETF or mutual fund called "Energy TS&E". T for transmission, S for storage, and E for efficiency. I guess you need an index first. I'm thinking Quanta, Amer Superconductor, Exide, Axion, Itron, Echelon, etc. There is no good one stop shop for this subsector. Sign me up." While we don't plan on launching a licensable index or a mutual fund because of all the regulatory thicket we'd...

Clean Energy Stocks Shopping List: FAQ

Stocks may be expensive now, and the temptation is to buy before they get even more expensive.  Why patience makes the brokerage account golden. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA On Friday, I started a series on stocks I'd like to buy when they are cheaper.  The first was on clean or efficient transport stocks which will benefit from both Climate Change regulation and high oil prices due to Peak Oil. Before I continue on with my Clean Energy Shopping List series, I think it's worth talking about the underlying strategy, since it can be counter-intuitive, and I expect that many...

How Growing HEV Markets Will Impact Battery Manufacturing Revenues

John Petersen For the last three weeks I've been writing about why rising oil prices, tightened CO2 emission standards in Europe and accelerated CAFE standards in the U.S. will combine to foster rapid implementation of hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) technology in the automotive industry and result in huge revenue increases for all automotive battery manufacturers. These articles have generated record numbers of comments and questions from readers that want a clearer understanding of what the rapidly changing demand picture means for battery investors. While I generally try to avoid revenue forecasts because they require pricing assumptions...

Clean Energy Stocks Shopping List: Transport

Stocks may be expensive now, but they won't be forever.  Five Peak Oil plays to buy when they're cheap again: Two busses, two rails, and an ETF. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Two weeks ago, I told you why I feel that the market is more likely to head down than up from here (it's been flat since then.)  I've been selling covered calls on my holdings, several of which have been called away.  I plan to sit on the cash until the market has fallen at least 10%, after which I may start selling cash covered puts, but I...

Will The Recovery Act Trigger Alt Energy IPOs?

Charles MorandIt goes without saying that the alt energy IPO market has been rather quiet over the past few months. Could this be about to change? Will the slew of alt energy and cleatech incentive programs announced under the Recovery Act, coupled with a return of investors' risk appetite, be enough to convince firms to start going public again? On Monday, I had a chat with Robert Peterman, who handles cleantech for the TMX Group, the owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange and of the TSX Venture Exchange. In the past few years, Toronto has attracted a number...

What Does Clean Energy Cost?

Renewable Electricity cost estimates from a California transmission study and the investment implications. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA The seemingly simple question, "How much does wind/solar/geothermal/etc. cost per kWh?" can be surprisingly difficult to answer.  Advocates often cite particularly low figures, but they are often based on particularly favorable conditions, or analyses that don't include all the costs (for instance, costs of permitting.)  Opponents do the opposite, often assuming particularly unfavorable conditions, or adding in costs which they would never consider adding in for their favored technology.  Adding to the confusion, levelized cost of generation calculations are very sensitive to...

Understanding the Development Path for Li-ion Battery Technologies

Last Tuesday a reader who works as a consultant in the energy storage and hybrid electric vehicles industries and sent me an unpublished "pre-decisional draft" of a DOE report titled National Battery Collaborative (NBC) Roadmap, December 9, 2009, a high-level policy analysis that discusses the merits, risks and expected costs of an aggressive eight-year initiative to foster the development and facilitate the commercialization of Li-ion batteries. The draft roadmap was written during the last days of the Bush administration, has since been partially implemented in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 and has never been officially released...