Monthly Archives: December 2009

Pure Play Energy Storage Stocks Year-End Review And Outlook

John Petersen With only a couple trading days left in 2009, this is as good a time as any for a performance review. The predictions I made at this time last year were pretty solid with an 80% accuracy rate on price direction. For the year, a $1,000 investment in each of my green star companies would have yielded a portfolio appreciation of 67%, which handily beat the broader market indices. That being said, my star and caution ratings were a good deal less prescient because I seriously underestimated the potential of both Maxwell Technologies (MXWL) and Active...

Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2010

Tom Konrad, CFA A mini-portfolio of stocks that not only are green, but should outperform the market in an environment of increasing concern about climate change and peak oil. This is the third annual list of green stocks I have published.  In 2008, it was a list of ten speculative alternative energy companies (in three parts) that I thought might catch public notice that year.  As we all now know, 2008 was a horrible year for speculative stocks, and my stocks were no exception, losing an average of 55% that year, although that still ended up being better than...

In Review: 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2009

Tom Konrad, CFA 2009 was a banner year for my clean energy stock picks, which are up 57% over 12 months, greatly exceeding their benchmarks. Over the last 12 months,  my ten green energy stocks for 2009 are up 57% vs. 29% for the S&P 500, and 12% for my clean energy benchmark, the iShares S&P Global Clean Energy Index (ICLN), the two indexes I specified for benchmarks when I published the list a year ago. Below is a detailed rundown of the results.   Company  Ticker Change 12/27/08 to 12/27/09 Dividend &...

CBD Energy and SFC Smart Fuel Cell Look Promising

From Small Fries to Big Shots? (Pt. 2 of 2) Bill Paul Here now are two more small alternative energy companies, both of which look to be just starting to hit their stride. How far they'll go only time will tell, but each seems to warrant a closer look. Take note: like the vast number of other pure-play alternative energy firms with intriguing growth prospects, neither of these is U.S.-based. Rule of thumb: whether you're a big institutional or small individual investor, to succeed in alternative energy, you must scour every corner of the earth. First up: CBD Energy,...

The EIA Offers Another Reality Check For Energy Storage Investors

John Petersen On December 14th the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a policy-neutral statistics and analysis agency within the Department of Energy, announced the release of reference case statistics for its Annual Energy Outlook 2010, an exhaustive compendium of current data and expected trends that covers the entire spectrum of energy production, consumption and pricing at the regional and national level. For numbers freaks like me, the EIA worksheets are a bottomless well of fascinating minutiae. Since most investors would find the raw data mind numbing, I spent some time pouring through the EIA's data in an effort to wrap...

REDI-ing Your Portfolio for a Low-Carbon Economy

Tom Konrad, CFA Colorado's recently released Renewable Energy Development Infrastructure (REDI) report looks at what the resource-rich state needs to do to accomplish the state goal of reducing CO2 emissions 20% from 2005 levels by 2020.  Investors who expect the developed world to attempt similar cuts in emissions should take note of the report's conclusions, and invest accordingly. Since Colorado Governor Bill Ritter recruited my friend Morey Wolfson for the Colorado Governor's Energy Office (GEO) he's had a lot less time to socialize with the rest of us in the clean energy community, but we caught up over lunch...

Why I’m Thrilled By Axion’s Financing Transaction

John Petersen This morning Axion Power International (AXPW.OB) announced the closing of a $26 million private placement of straight common stock that was sold to institutional and individual investors lead by Special Situation Funds, Manatuck Hill Partners and Narragansett Strategic Master Fund. While some current shareholders will no doubt complain that the private placement price of $0.57 per share represents a $1.01 discount from yesterday's close and seems pretty dilutive, I'm thrilled that my fondest wish has come true a couple days before Christmas. After several months of nagging doubt over whether Axion would be able to...

When Airlines Run Out of Fuel

Green Energy Investing For Experts, Part IV Tom Konrad, CFA Mass air travel is incompatible with a sustainable economy.  Air travel is energy and capital intensive, creates a gigantic carbon footprint, and is likely to  remain dependant on the high energy density of fossil fuels much longer than surface transport.  As such, it is a prime candidate for the short side of a clean energy portfolio. I'm writing this post on a United Airlines (UAUA) flight from Baltimore to Denver in a seat that cost me $99, plus $15 to check a bag.  One sign of the economic...

World Energy Solutions (XWES) and Ram Power (RPG.TO) Appear Promising

From Small Fries to Big Shots? Part 1 of 2 by Bill Paul Feel like rolling the dice on some small alternative energy stocks that appear to have big-time potential? Just remember: sometimes you roll snake eyes. First up: World Energy Solutions Inc. (Symbol: XWES), which currently trades on NASDAQ for $3 and change per share. Worcester, MA-based World Energy Solutions operates online exchanges for energy and green commodities, including the one administered by Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Inc. (RGGI), the regulatory scheme under which 10 Northeastern and Middle Atlantic states "cap" their power plants' emissions by requiring...

Betting Against Shale Natural Gas Plays

Green Energy Investing For Experts, Part III Tom Konrad, CFA Controversy continues to grow about the economic viability of shale gas.  Investors who doubt the companies' claims should consider buying puts. The Case for Gas From the perspective of a green energy investor, natural gas is the most benign fossil fuel.  Natural gas emits less carbon than other fossil fuels (slightly more than half as much as coal, when used for electricity generation.)  Natural gas turbines also can quickly compensate for fluctuating supply and demand from other sources of electricity.  This quick response makes them a natural complement...

National Research Council Report – Grid-Enabled Vehicles Are Not Ready For Prime Time

John Petersen On December 14th the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences issued a new report sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy titled "Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles." The press release headline announcing the report proclaims, "PLUG-IN HYBRID VEHICLE COSTS LIKELY TO REMAIN HIGH, BENEFITS MODEST FOR DECADES." In other words, grid-enabled vehicles, or GEVs, are nowhere near ready for prime time and investors that buy into the GEV hype can look forward to decades of pain and suffering. Serious investors who want to understand the electric vehicle...

EnerNOC Broadens Scope in Smart Grid Sector

Demand Responder Eyes New Growth Areas as Key Market Prices Dip  by Joyce Pellino CraneEnerNOC, Inc., announced its acquisition of Cogent Energy, Inc., on December 9, signaling a strategic move into the energy efficiency sector that is designed to help it capitalize on the Smart Grid’s growth potential.But the company was launched in 2004 as one solution to the country’s burgeoning demand for energy, and has grown into a leader among a handful of competitors in the demand response market.  Boston-based EnerNOC (Nasdaq: ENOC) helps businesses and grid operators reduce electricity consumption when demand is peaking and capacity strained. The...

Why I’m Buying C&D Technologies

John Petersen Baron Rothschild, an 18th century British nobleman, is credited with saying, "Buy when there's blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own." Later this week I expect a blood in the streets buying opportunity in the stock of C&D Technologies (CHP) and intend to take advantage of it. It's unquestionably a contrarian investment, but one that could pay off handsomely. I want to thank Ben S, a regular reader, for bringing this opportunity to my attention in an e-mail last weekend. Most investors know that the addition of a company's stock...

Shorting Mexico’s Peak Oil Economy

Green Energy Investing for Experts, Part II Tom Konrad, CFA The next Tequila Crisis will be a peak oil crisis.  Mexico's government is dependant on revenues from declining oil fields.  The prospects for replacing these revenues look slim.  Shorting Mexico Country ETFs looks like a good way to hedge market exposure. In Green Energy Investing For Experts, Part I, I discussed why it makes sense to use companies and sectors that may be hurt by peak oil or climate change as a hedge against the market exposure in a green portfolio.  In Mexico, peak oil is already a reality. ...

Hidden Gems? Why Green Investors Should Look at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Ener1

Part 2 of 2 Bill Paul Neither Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd., which trades OTC under the symbol DWOTF, nor Ener1 Inc., which trades on NASDAQ under the symbol HEV, is an obvious candidate for having hidden potential. Heck, Daewoo isn’t even a green energy stock. Or is it? Lost in the hubbub of Copenhagen and Congress, there’s been important news about both these companies that strongly suggests – at least to me – that each has plenty of undiscovered potential that will really start paying off over the next 18 to 24...

Feel-Good Government Grants Leading Cleantech Astray

David Gold Grants for smart grid projects. Grants for battery manufacturing lines. Loan guarantees for renewable energy project development. Grants to private companies for energy efficiency projects. And with each it seems that the cleantech world cheers. Yet for all our desire to create sustainability in our consumption and use of energy, this model of getting us there is not only unsustainable but is of questionable value. I want to emphasize that I am speaking about government grants to the private sector where the government is not the end customer and...