Monthly Archives: August 2011

Has the Sell-off Created Value Stocks Among Clean Energy Conglomerates?

Tom Konrad CFA The silver lining of all market declines is the chance to buy stock in quality companies at attractive prices.  That opportunity has been notably absent over the last two years, which is why my focus has shifted to smaller and smaller companies in search of reasonable valuations over that time.  Although I still don't believe the market is cheap by any measure other than comparing it to a couple months ago, the volatility is starting to bring some individual bargains, especially on heavy selling days.  For instance, I've started to acquire some of...

It’s Time to Kill the Electric Car, Drive a Stake Through its Heart and...

John Petersen I was recently invited to prepare a memorandum on the battery industry for the electric mobility working group of the World Energy Council, a global thought leadership forum established in 1923 that includes 93 national committees representing over 3,000 member organizations including governments, businesses and research institutions. Since my memorandum integrated several themes from this blog and tied them all together, I've decided to publish a lightly edited version for readers. To set the stage for the substantive discussion that follows, I’ll start with an 1883 quote from Thomas Edison: “The storage battery is one...

Rough Patch For Owners of Solar Stocks

Mark Henwood This sector defines investment risk.   Not only has Evergreen Solar, Inc.   filed for bankruptcy, investors in another high visibility solar developer have been saddled with a 72% loss over the last week.   In a massive shift that has to shake confidence in the company, Germany’s Solar Millennium AG announced on Thursday said it will convert the first 500 megawatts of its 1,000 MW Blythe solar power plant in the Mojave desert to PV. It will decide what technology to use for the second half of the project at a later date.  Nor has it...

Trash Stocks Trashed: An Income Opportunity?

Tom Konrad CFA Dumpster diving for high yielding gems. An earlier version of this article was written at the end of July and published on my Forbes blog, before the August market implosion. I've updated it here to reflect the new stock prices and some recent company news. Renewable energy has many advantages over fossil energy.  One of the most important is that it's renewable.  As supplies of Oil and other fossil fuels are used up, they become harder and more expensive to extract, while renewable energy is generally getting cheaper over time,...

Four Bargain-Priced Stocks in the Energy Storage Sector

John Petersen The last couple weeks remind me of the adage that history never repeats itself, but it frequently rhymes. As I watched the awesome market volatility my mind drifted back to October 1987 when I cleared SEC comments on a client’s registration statement a week before Black Monday. As a result of the market break, the planned IPO didn’t happen, the client and its underwriter both went broke and I didn’t get paid. It was an expensive education that’s paid for itself many times over. The market is always fickle, often brutal and sometimes downright...

EVs, Lithium-ion Batteries and Liars Poker

John Petersen Last week I stumbled across a link that led to a 2010 report from the National Research Council titled "Hidden Costs of Energy, Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use." This free 506-page book takes a life-cycle approach – from fuel extraction to energy production, distribution, and use to disposal of waste products – and attempts to quantify the health, climate and other unpriced damages that arise from the use of various energy sources for electricity, transportation and heat. After studying the NRC's discussion of the unpriced health effects, other nonclimate damages and greenhouse gas...

Should We Worry About Beacon’s Flywheels?

Tom Konrad CFA How material is the failure of one of Beacon Power's (BCON) flywheels on July 27?<a href="http://www.altenergystocks.com/comm/content/beacon-power-corporation/" beacon="" power's="" (bcon) Last week, I published an article Four Clean Energy Value Stocks I'm Buying Now, including Beacon Power as one of the four.  My rationale for including Beacon was: Beacon has been operating their first commercial scale 20MW flywheel energy storage plant  since early this year without mishap, achieving full capacity in June.  They are set to begin construction of their second 20MW plant later this year, 54% of...

Four Clean Energy Value Stocks I’m Buying Now

Tom Konrad CFA Corrected version 8/11/2011 Apologies to readers who have been missing my articles recently.  I've had little time to write as I have been too busy trading.  Long-time readers know that I've been bearish since the summer of 2009, and it has been a painful two years as I maintained my short positions and puts in the face of a generally rising market.  Market Outlook In my opinion, we are still a good distance from the bottom.  The rise of the stock market over the last two years has been predicated on...

Lithium-ion Batteries and 8-Track Tapes

John Petersen In three years of writing about investing in energy storage, I’ve learned that most public relations nightmares encountered by battery companies are self-inflicted wounds. They do an appalling job of managing the expectations of investors and potential customers. Then, when the inevitable delays, disappointments and cost overruns arise, everybody suffers. It may not be their fault, but it is most certainly their problem. Most of my long term readers have seen this timeless and blistering 1883 Thomas Edison quote: “The storage battery is one of those peculiar things which appeals to the imagination, and...

New Flyer: An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Tom Konrad CFA A couple readers have asked me if they should accept the New Flyer (NFI-UN.TO/NFYIF.PK) Rights offering to exchange their C$5.53 principal 14% subordinated notes for nine shares of New Flyer common stock.  The answer is most emphatically YES. When I last wrote about New Flyer, I knew that they were planning to convert from their unusual stapled security structure to a more conventional share structure, but I was not certain how they could entice IDS holders to go along with the swap.  Now, it's clear.  The New Flyer IDS is the...

Climate Bond Standard to be Released This Week

Tom Konrad CFA Conserving the planet for conservative investors. Investing in clean energy stocks has an (often well-deserved) reputation for risk.  Although energy efficiency and more inclusive progressive energy indexes have held up fairly well over the last few years, the performance of narrower clean energy sectors has been dismal, and some industry observers feel that the declines in wind and solar are structural (and hence permanent) as opposed to cyclical (and therefor temporary.) This presents a conundrum for investors with long time horizons who not only need their investments to earn a steady return...

Modern Energy Forum: Denver, CO – Sep. 13-15, 2011

The fifth annual Modern Energy Forum is the premier conference in 2011 for investors who want to have one-on-one conversations with some of the brightest stars and leading investors and experts in emerging clean tech companies. Please consider this your invitation to attend. Some of this year’s highlights include: Keynote speaker Dick Rutan, on the 25th anniversary of his pioneering Voyager non-stop flight around the world. Test drives for registered attendees of a Tesla roadster on the streets of downtown Denver. Experts and investors will share wisdoms about batteries, electric vehicles, PV, wind, water, nuclear, biomass,...