Monthly Archives: June 2010

You Can’t Love Tesla And Ignore Energy Storage

John Petersen The second quarter was brutal for publicly traded energy storage companies which saw their stock prices fall by an average of 24.1% after a first quarter drubbing of 16.2%. Frankly I'm astonished that investors are chasing a battery-powered IPO like Tesla Motors (TSLA) and ignoring the energy storage technologies that will make EVs possible, and perhaps cost-effective, while making wind, solar and other renewable energy sources stable. At times like these I need to remind myself that energy storage is the beating heart of cleantech and take comfort in the fact that while Goldman Sachs began...

The Big Oil-Electric Vehicle Connection

Neal Dikeman For those of you interested in the sector under the sector in electric vehicles, the guts of Li Ion battery technology, the week just got more interesting than an overpriced, over hyped Tesla (TSLA) IPO. Check out a very quiet unnanouncement in A123's SEC filings noting a multi-year supply deal with ConocoPhillips' Cpreme, the emerging leader in anode materials for Li On batteries.  The technology is a processing technology to make high performance graphite based powders out of plain old petroleum coke materials, that has the potential to be very low cost at scale.  A123 has...

Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2010: Q2 Update

Tom Konrad CFA In the six months since I published my annual clean energy mini-portfolio, it has far outperformed my industry benchmark, the Powershares Wilderhill Clean Energy Index (PBW).  The dismal performance of renewable energy stocks so far this year is likely to lead to great buying opportunities in the rest of the year. 2010 is the third year in a row that I've published a list of ten renewable and energy efficiency stocks that I expect to perform well over the coming year. The details on the list for 2010 are here; this article is...

Plug-in Vehicles Will Be Dirtier Than HEVs

John Petersen On June 22nd Scientific American rolled-out a Web-only article titled "The Dirty Truth about Plug-in Hybrids, Made Interactive" that summarizes a January 2008 report from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and shows why plug-in vehicles in the U.S. will, on average, be just a little bit dirtier than gasoline HEVs. You read that right – dirtier, not cleaner! I first raised the issue in an August 2009 article titled PHEVs and EVs, Plugging Into a Lump of Coal, where I estimated that plug-in vehicles would be about 25% cleaner than HEVs, but the marginal cost...

The Best Peak Oil Investments Meet the Smart Grid: Telvent GIT SA (TLVT)

Tom Konrad CFA I'm bullish on Smart Transportation, which is my term for applying information technology to make our transportation system more efficient.  The majority of my list of Smart Transportation Stocks focus on GPS navigation.  I've been a fan of GPS navigation ever since 2001, when I first experienced the relief using one while driving in an unfamiliar city.  But I'm much less enthusiastic about GPS Navigation stocks: I feel the industry is too competitive, which is great for the consumer, but not so great for the shareholder.  Hence, I'm drawn to the three Smart...

Electric Cars and the Fixed Cost Conundrum

John Petersen Later this month, Tesla Motors plans to launch its initial public offering and sell about 12% of the company for $200 million. If the IPO is successful, Tesla's stock will trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market (TSLA) and its initial market capitalization will be roughly $1.5 billion. Since the IPO has spawned a series of analytical articles from better writers, I'll avoid the temptation to analyze the deal terms and focus on product issues instead. Like their cars, Tesla's IPO will undoubtedly attract vanity investors, the philosophically committed and the mathematically challenged. The more cautious element...

The Best Peak Oil Investments: GPS Navigation Stocks

Tom Konrad, CFA Satellite (GPS) navigation is a Smart Transport strategy that drivers can implement without waiting for governments to act.  This is a look at five GPS Navigation stocks.    I recently wrote how Smart Transport stocks may benefit from declining supply and increasing demand for oil.   I call the application of information technology (IT) to transportation "Smart Transportation."  Smart Transportation improves the function of the market for transportation services, just as the Smart Grid improves the market for electricity: by giving market participants better information and making the price of transportation better reflect...

Should Ethanol Subsidies be Renewed?

Jeff Coombe The Ethanol industry has only responded tepidly to the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit in the past, so why should it be renewed? The U.S. ethanol industry is nearing a major deadline. The industry's primary subsidy mechanism, the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), is set to expire on December 31, 2010. Federal ethanol subsidies were worth roughly $5 billion in 2009, a figure large enough to create vigorous debate over their renewal. Some call the credits a boondoggle, others a vitally important lifeline for an industry still in its formative years. ...

Join Me at the MoneyShow San Francisco

Tom Konrad CFA On August 19th, I'll be moderating a panel Sustainable Investing for Solid Returns at the MoneyShow in San Francisco.  Registration is free, so if you are in San Francisco I encourage you to attend, and not just my panel.  If you do attend my panel, be sure to stick around and say "hi" afterward, or look for me at one of the other many panels that weekend having to do with clean energy.  Here are the ones I expect to attend: Date Time Title Speaker ...

Baldor Electric (BEZ): Efficient Motors Drive Profits

Tom Konrad, CFA Baldor Electric Company stands to benefit from new Federal energy efficiency standards and other efforts to improve industrial energy efficiency. One of the lesser-known provisions of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) will be to require efficiency standards for the majority of industrial electric motors.  This will be a boon for motor manufacturers when EISA comes into effect in December 2010: efficient motors require higher quality materials and manufacturing, and so can be sold for higher margins.  A major beneficiary of this transition will be Baldor Electric (NYSE:BEZ).  Baldor is...

The Coming Bull Market In Lead-Acid Batteries, Part II

John Petersen On June 8th Switzerland's ABB Group Ltd. (ABB) announced an agreement to buy UK-based Chloride Group PLC (CHLD.L) for £860 million in cash, or approximately $1.26 billion. This stunning purchase provides the best evidence yet that lead-acid battery manufacturers including Enersys (ENS), Exide Technologies (XIDE) and C&D Technologies (CHP) are woefully undervalued and offer outstanding opportunity for patient and risk tolerant investors. ABB is the gold standard in the secure and efficient generation, transmission, distribution and use of electricity in utility, industrial and commercial applications. Its portfolio ranges from light switches to robots, and from...

Wal-Mart Goes Green: The World’s First Quintuple Play

Jim Fitzpatrick Watching baseball's first quadruple play was strange. Seeing Wal-Mart (WMT) go green is stranger still. First the baseball: The scene was a game of T-Ball, where everyone bats every inning, regardless of the number of outs. The bases were loaded when a line drive ended up in the glove of the pitcher. While he wondered how it got there, all the runners took off without tagging up. The pitcher ran to third, then second, then first. We kept counting the number of outs and they did not add up. First in our heads:...

What Will the Oil Spill Do For Oil Sands Stocks?

Bill Paul Will shares of the oil companies that are major players in Canada’s tar sands region rise or fall? Logically, shares should rise in the wake of the deepwater drilling moratorium ordered by President Obama following the BP (BP) oil spill, as Wall Street begins to reflect on the fact that Alberta’s tar sands region is the second biggest crude-oil deposit in the world. Even before the spill, a report from IHS CERA had concluded that Canadian tar sands would be the single biggest source of US crude imports in 2010. Just as logically, however, shares should...

The Best Peak Oil Investments: Smart Transportation

Tom Konrad CFA What the Smart Grid will do for electricity, "Smart Transportation" will do for road-based travel.  Here are eight companies making Smart Transportation a reality. Congestion and Peak Oil In late 2005 Houston was evacuated as hurricane Rita approached.  The memory of Hurricane Katrina was still fresh in everyone's mind, and Houston, also called the Oil Capitol of the World, is extremely car-dependent.   100-mile traffic jams quickly formed on all the major routes out of the city.  Many people were stranded as their cars ran out of gas from driving for hours just...

The Lead Acid Battery Sector Is Starting A Bull Run

John Petersen It's been a very good week for companies in the lead-acid battery sector and from all indications the fun is just beginning. Unlike most market sectors, the principal players in the lead-acid group report on a fiscal year basis instead of a calendar year basis. Enersys (ENS) and Exide Technologies (XIDE) both use fiscal years that end March 31st, and C&D Technologies (CHP) uses a fiscal year that ends January 31st. That makes the first two weeks of June a busy time as Enersys and Exide report annual results and C&D reports first quarter results. ...

Electric Vehicles Will Increase China’s Air Pollution

John Petersen Last week the American Chemical Society published a white paper in Environmental Science & Technology from a team of researchers at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and the Argonne National Laboratory Center for Transportation Research titled "Environmental Implication of Electric Vehicles in China." This white paper concludes that: Implementing electric vehicles in China will increase national CO2, SO2 and NOX emissions; and Gasoline HEVs are more environmentally friendly, more commercially mature, and less cost-intensive. The following graph comes from page 4 of the white paper and compares the relative fleet wide CO2 emissions for gasoline ICEs,...