Monthly Archives: April 2011

Canadian Insulation Companies Likely to Benefit from Next Budget

Tom Konrad CFA On March 22, the Conservative Canadian federal government released its proposed 2011 budget. The biggest news about the budget is not what is in it, but the fact that it is likely to lead to a no-confidence motion in Parliament, and bring about a new election.  One provision of the conservative budget is the C$400 million ecoEnergy Retrofit program was included in the budget as a sop to lure support from the New Democrat party, but proved insufficient to gain their support. Canadian insulation manufacturers hailed the inclusion of the home insulation...

Another Reality Check for Wind Power Investors

John Petersen Last Wednesday I stirred up a hornets nest with an article titled "A Reality Check for Wind Power Investors" that included two graphs from the Bonneville Power Administration, or BPA, which manages a four state, 300,000 square mile service region that's home to over 40% of the installed hydro capacity and roughly 12% of the installed wind capacity in the US. The first graph tracks the BPA's regional load and power production from hydro, thermal and wind facilities over the last seven days and shows why the region is one of the largest power exporters...

ABB Group – A Cleantech Company?

Tom Konrad CFA Power and automation giant ABB, Ltd. (NYSE:ABB) was named Cleantech Corporation of the Year at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco. The company has been focused on acquiring start ups in the cleantech space for the last couple of years, with two significant ones in 2010: Ventyx, a provider of IT systems to utilities, and Baldor Electric, the premier supplier of high-efficiency motors in the US. I very much like ABB's approach to cleantech. I'd even written about Baldor as a good way to invest in energy efficiency earlier in 2010 just a couple months before...

FLIR: Another Dividend-Paying Energy Efficiency Stock

Tom Konrad CFA FLIR Systems' (FLIR) IR cameras save energy not just by spotting leaks, but by spotting intruders in the dark. When I published my list of dividend paying energy efficiency stocks in January, I missed one, and it is a long-time favorite.  FLIR Systems (FLIR) business is focused around thermography, and I picked FLIR as a stock likely to benefit from the stimulus in March 2009 because FLIR's cameras are used by energy raters.   FLIR did benefit from the stimulus, rising 56% by the end of 2009 from the $21 price when I...

Some Realism on Shale Gas

shale gas Eamon Keane shale gas shale gas Shale gas is back in the news recently after Obama hearted the shale gale in his energy speech ("Recent innovations have given us the opportunity to tap large reserves, perhaps a century's worth of reserves...in the shale under our feet,"), and Daniel Yergin (full disclosure: he wrote The Prize) has a lengthy piece in the WSJ along with an interview in which he says a bunch of stuff. It turns out that the US and...

The Magma/Plutonic Merger

A Great Deal for Plutonic Shareholders, Not bad for Magma Tom Konrad CFA As a shareholder of Magma Energy Corp. (MGMXF.PK), I'm reading through the joint information circular on the proposed merger of Plutonic Power Corp (PUOPF.PK) and Magma to form "Alterra Power Corp." I'm not thrilled with the merger, although I plan to vote for it, now that it's arranged. Overall, I think the merged Alterra will be a stronger company than either company alone. Both companies are in capital intensive niche Renewable Energy industries, so the added scale and diversification of Alterra should better...

Energy Storage: A Great Quarter For The Cheap Team

John Petersen The first quarter of 2011 was great for shareholders of companies that are developing or manufacturing cheap energy storage products like lead-acid and flow batteries, but it was miserable for shareholders of Chinese battery manufacturers and companies that are developing cool energy storage products like lithium-ion batteries. The following table tracks stock price performance in the energy storage sector for the first quarter of 2011 and for the twelve-months ended March 31, 2011. The big winner for the quarter was Axion Power International (AXPW.OB), which seems to be recovering well from the intense...

EE=C

Tom Konrad, CFA Apple takes on Google in Silicon Valley rivalry to save the world... first.   Recently appointed Apple (NASD:AAPL) senior VP of Energy Lester Coulson is unimpressed by Google's (GOOG) efforts to solve climate change.  "Google has been trying to make renewable energy cheaper than coal for more than three years now, and we haven't even seen a Beta version!" Coulson admonishes.  "Sure, they've made a few headlines by investing in EGS and planning to string wires up and down the Atlantic coast, but after investing $100 million, is renewable energy cheaper than...