Monthly Archives: December 2011

Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2011: Year In Review

Tom Konrad CFA My clean energy portfolio outperformed again in 2011, but it was a Pyrrhic victory. Without a doubt, 2011 was a horrible year for Clean Energy stocks, nearly as bad as 2008.  The difference was that, in 2008, the entire stock market was crushed, while this year, the broad market ended with only modest declines compared to clean energy stocks. Based on 2010 and 2011 closing prices, the broad market (as measured by the performance of the Russell 2000 index), was down 10%, while clean energy stocks were down 52%, as...

Energy in the Great Depression

Energy in the Great Depression Eamon Keane With the focus on the size of the ECB's balance sheet and eurozone bond auctions, it can be difficult to see the big picture of where this is going. Concerns about oil and climate change have taken a backseat to the foreboding sense of doom. To see the implications for energy it requires a look at the direction of the financial system. In recent times every 40 years or so there has been an upheaval in the monetary system, as Philip Coggan explains in his excellent...

2012 Energy Stock Predictions

By Jeff Siegel Domestic Oil to Reign in 2012 Last December, I made three predictions for 2011: The mounting solar glut problem would be rectified by the end of the year; Domestic oil and gas production would increase significantly, regardless of environmental concerns related to fracking and tar sands production; and With the introduction of the Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF, domestic sales of electric cars would reach no less than 10,000 units. Well, two out of three ain't bad! A Sad Season for Solar Toward the end of 2010,...

Tesla Confirms Pricing and Launch Date of Model S

Clean Energy Intel Tesla Model S: Image used with permission from Tesla. Tesla (TSLA) officially announced the pricing, options and timing for next year´s US launch of the Model S this week. There have been some worrying rumors that the company would forced to raise its prices due to cost factors. Consequently, the good news for Tesla stock is both that the pricing has been held steady and that the summer launch date remains in place. Confirmation of both of these factors is certainly welcome news. Firstly, the official pricing for the US market...

Coskata’s $100 million IPO: The 10-Minute Version

Jim Lane The first gas fermentation technology to come to the public markets: Coskata files its $100 million IPO. Here’s our 10-minute version of the filing, with a translation of the risks into English. In Illinois, Coskata has filed an S-1 registration statement for a proposed $100 million initial public offering. The number of shares to be offered in the proposed offering and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined. The lead book-running managers for the offering are Citigroup, Barclays and Piper Jaffray. The company is currently ranked #17 in the world...

Solar: One Chart That Highlights The Adjustment In The Industry

by Clean Energy Intel Source: NPD SolarBuzz, SolarBuzz Quarterly. New survey-based data from SolarBuzz points very clearly to a very much needed ongoing adjustment to manufacturers planned module shipments. The chart above illustrates the issue very succinctly. In SolarBuzz´s survey conducted in Q2 of the current year, manufacturers were still planning on shipping just over 8 GW of modules in Q3 of this year and almost 9 GW in Q4. The somewhat obvious result was oversupply, a continued inventory build and falling module prices. However, in the latest...

The “Jesus” Molecule: Paraxylene

Jim Lane The Coca-Cola Company invests in Gevo, Virent and Avantium partnerships, in the race to develop renewable plastic bottling entirely from renewables. There’s been an awful lot of press this week about progress in the search for the God particle. That’s the subatomic Higgs Boson a key, but as yet undetected, anchor in the standard model of the universe. Then there’s the Jesus molecule. As in, “Kind lord Jesus in Heaven, grant me an affordable way to make one of those.” It’s renewable PX, also known as your friend, paraxylene a key, but as...

Buffett Buys Into Another Solar Project – Expect More To Follow

by Clean Energy Intel Warren Buffett-controlled MidAmerican Energy Holdings on Friday acquired an interest in a second solar project. In the latest deal, the company has acquired 49% of NRG Energy´s $1.8bn Agua Caliente project.This follows the company´s acquisition of 100% of First Solar´s $2bn Topaz Solar Farm less than two weeks ago. As was the case with the first Topaz deal, we know little of the arithmetic faced by MidAmerican holdings in this latest agreement. However, what we do know is the following - Agua Caliente is a $1.8bn project owned by NRG Energy (NRG) in Yuma...

Hack This Voice Mail: The Facts About Advanced Biofuels Capacity

Jim Lane Following a stinging WSJ editorial board critique on cellulosic biofuels, we leave a fact-filled voice mail for News Corp to hack. Meanwhile, Mascoma lands $80M and heads for scale. The Wall Street Journal editorial page writers recently published a stinging indictment of cellulosic biofuels. Bottom line: the Journal is offering the shortfall in the cellulosic biofuels pool (around 2% of the overall US Renewable Fuel Standard this year), as evidence that government mandates and subsidies do not work, and that the US government has shoveled a lot of money into advanced biofuels for nothing....

A Cleantech VC Who is Unconvinced of Man-Made Climate Change

David Gold Go ahead call me a hypocrite.  I claim to be a cleantech venture capitalist yet I tell you here and now that I am not convinced of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change (aka global warming).  And I will audaciously tell you that my convictions on climate change in no way run contrary to my strong belief in the need for a cleantech revolution Many supporters of clean technologies make it seem as though anthropogenic climate change is an absolute fact.  To some of them anthropogenic climate change is almost like a religion where any debate...

Fear, Loathing and Extraordinary Opportunity in Energy Storage

John Petersen 2011 has definitely been one for the record books; a dreadfully wonderful year for the energy storage sector that reminds me of the opening paragraph from A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before...

Advanced Biofuels: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Scale

Jim Lane Codexis (CDXS) and Mascoma show that low-cost sugar is the key, as advanced biofuels moves from R&D into industrial era. There used to be a restaurant in lower Manhattan called Exterminator Chili. Decorated in Elvis garb, it served world-class chili for the enlightened chow hound, in three grades of heat: residential (hot), commercial (blistering), and industrial (melt steel in your mouth). The proprietors would have understood little about advanced biofuels and nothing about the importance therein of low-cost sugars. But they did understand that the bigger the scale, the hotter you were. And that the highest...

Report Suggests Solar at Grid Parity Tipping Point

by Clean Energy Intel A new academic study published last week suggests that solar energy has already reached grid parity in some areas in North America and is therefore poised to move into the mainstream. The study, 'A Review of Solar Photovoltaic Levelized Cost of Electricity', was co-authored by Joshua Pearce of Michigan Technological University and Kadra Branker and Michael Pathak of Queen´s University in Kingston, Ontario. It was published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. You can read an abstract of the study here. The study focuses on the assumptions behind many of the past studies of the...

The Chevy Volt: Trying to be All Things to All People

Garvin Jabusch We're within a year of the launch of GM's flagship electric vehicle (EV), the Chevy Volt, and we're already seeing detractors call it a failure (e.g. "Revenge of the Internal Combustion Engine") and begin using it as evidence that the entire EV premise won't work. This outcome was predictable, not because EVs are conceptually flawed, but because the Volt is a terrible value proposition, whether measured against better EVs or against high-mileage internal-combustion engine cars. The Chevy Volt isn't failing because it's electric, but because it's a bad value. The Volt is not a pure EV....

Buffett-First Solar Deal Extremely Bullish For Solar Sector

by Clean Energy Intel Nellis Solar Power Plant in the US. Source: Wikimedia Commons The Solar Industry this week received significant support in the purchase by Warren Buffett-controlled MidAmerican Energy Holdings of First Solar's (FSLR) $2bn Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo County, California. This is a significant show of confidence in the industry from Mr Buffett. Of course, we do not know exactly what Warren Buffett´s utility holding company has paid for the solar project. However, the deal is unquestionably significant in size and scope. What we do know is...

PetroAlgae’s IPO: The 10-Minute Version

Jim Lane Can PetroAlgae find a market for its feed among the aficionados of alfalfa and fishmeal, with fuels on the side? In its recent IPO revision, it says “sure can”. In Florida, PetroAlgae (PALG.PK) has filed a massive revision to its S-1 registration for a proposed initial public offering. The company is currently ranked #55th in the world among the Hottest Companies in Bioenergy. The rankings recognize innovation and achievement in fuels and are based on votes from a panel of invited international selectors, and votes from Digest subscribers. PetroAlgae, which in the year...