Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Spray Foam Industry: Moving to Soy?

by Scott Schnelle As an energy consultant for home retrofits, I often have customers and acquaintances ask my opinion regarding green technologies and energy efficient products. Undoubtedly, with the recent surge of the green movement and a shift toward becoming more environmentally sustainable, now is a great time to invest in these types of products. One product that has been getting more and more attention lately is spray foam. The product itself has been around for many years, but it has recently risen in popularity for a couple of reasons. Here, I’ll discuss spray foam briefly...

Historic Oil/Gas and Gas/Coal prices provide opportunity for fuel switching

Oil Gas and Coal Gas Ratio That sound you hear is the stampede of shale gas drillers away from dry gas plays. The irrational exuberance of shale gas drillers, chief amongst them Chesapeake's voluble Aubrey McLendon, is leading to an impressive destruction of capital. The long run marginal cost is significantly above the current spot price. With natural gas storage bursting at the seams, natural gas is reverting to its historical nuisance byproduct as drilling moves to liquid rich plays. While not sustainable in the long term, the present pricing situation presents opportuinities to...

Investing In Offshore Wind Power

Tom Konrad CFA Offshore Wind in the United States Last week, the long-embattled Cape Wind project got a break: Utility NStar(NST) agreed to buy 27.5% of the proposed offshore wind project's output.  Together with a previous power purchase agreement with National Grid (NGG), this gives Cape Wind a buyer for 77.5% of the project's total projected output.  Jim Gordon, Cape Wind's President speaking at Offshore Wind Power USA in Boston, called the NStar deal the "starting gun" for Cape Wind's financing round. Yet speakers and attendees at Offshore Wind Power USA agreed that the Cape Wind story...

Photovoltaics: 11 Trends to Watch in 2012

2011 Report Card plus my 2012 trends and predictions. by Edgar Gunther Contrary to my stated goal, the Photovoltaics: 8 Trends to Watch in 2011 review and 2012 photovoltaic (PV) trends and predictions post has once again extended well into February. As usual, I won’t be grading on a curve. Photovoltaic Market Demand Growth Last year, I said: In 2011, I predict at least 35% global PV installation demand growth despite Feed-in Tariff (FiT) headwinds in Germany, Italy, France, the UK, Ontario, and the Czech Republic. Grade: Pass To be...

The Rocky Road to Biofuels Heaven

Codexis chief out, Ceres IPO delayed Jim Lane Ceres delays IPO (again); Codexis CEO and enzyme guru Alan Shaw resigns. In California, visionary industry leader Alan Shaw resigned as CEO of Codexis (CDXS) and the Ceres IPO, scheduled for last Thursday, did not occur and has yet to be rescheduled as of press time. The Ceres IPO remains on the NASDAQ calendar. At the same time, Ceres said that current shareholders had indicated that they would purchase up to 1 million shares in the company’s upcoming IPO, and the company warned that severe drought conditions...

A Harsh Winter for Sinovel and China’s Wind Industry

By Lou Schwartz The Year of the Dragon has gotten off to an inauspicious start for the Chinese wind industry and in particular, Sinovel Wind Group Co. (Shanghai:601558, a.k.a. Sinovel), China's leading wind turbine manufacturer. In early February, with the official end to the “Spring Festival” only days away, Sinovel reported decidedly chilly preliminary estimates of its FY2011 performance, confirming that Sinovel and indeed the whole Chinese wind industry had, in the words of one Chinese wind industry insider “entered a winter that would be hard to endure”. Sinovel estimated that its net income for FY2011 declined by...

BlueFire and the race for low-cost sugars

Jim Lane BlueFire Renewables (BFRE.OB) low-cost sugars subsidiary, SucreSource, announces a major project in Korea backed by oil refiner GS Caltex. Who else is gaining traction in the race to provide low-cost sugars? A generation of magic bugs who turn sugars into renewable fuels, chemicals, flavors, fragrances and more await them. In California, SucreSource, a wholly owned subsidiary of BlueFire Renewables (BFRE.OB), has signed agreements with GS Caltex, a Korean petroleum company and oil refiner jointly owned by Korean conglomerate GS Group, and Chevron, to build a cellulosic sugar plant in...

Biofuels and Biomaterials raise $1.374B in equity in past 12 months

Jim Lane 33 equity transactions, averaging $40M – who got what, for what, from whom – what’s hot now? In Florida, Biofuels Digest reported that advanced biofuels and biomaterials companies raised $1.374 B in equity financing in the past 12 months, based on deal flow reported in the Digest’s daily newsletter and online news service. Overall, the Digest reported 33 transactions, including five successful IPOs, in eight categories. The largest equity raise of the year was $227 million raised by Solazyme(SZYM) in its IPO. Other notable equity raises included $123M raised by Gevo(GEVO) and $150M...

Solar Stocks Double from Lows

L. Myron Clark A two-day surge on Feb. 8-9 took at least thirteen solar energy stocks more than twice their recent lows.  These names represent about half the publicly traded companies in the industry (on an unweighted basis).  The "two-bagger" stocks follow somewhat different patterns, as indicated in the two graphs below.  Several of them hit their 52-week lows in late September or early October 2011, close to the bottom in the broad market.  Those lows ranged from 80% (YGE) to 86% (JKS) below the respective 52-week highs.  The companies include: Jinkosolar Holding Co (JKS), ...

Developments in the Solar Corporate Bond Market

by Corporate Bonder The global bond market is huge. Data from the Bank for International Settlements shows that the total size of the global debt securities market (domestic and international securities) was $99.5 trillion as at June 2011, of which $89.9 trillion were notes and bonds. Governments accounted for $43.7 trillion of outstanding debt securities, financial organizations $43.8 trillion, corporations $11.0 trillion and international organizations $1.0 trillion. Against that, Bloomberg has estimated that there are $230bn outstanding of fixed-interest securities that meet their “green bonds” definition. And of course the IEA talks of $1 trillion of investment a...

The Biofuel IPO Pipeline: Delays, Shifts, and Accelerations

Jim Lane In this two-part series, we look at the IPO market for industrial biotech stocks. Today, we look at 10 companies in the IPO queue right now. Who’s been revising their prospectus, and what does that mean? In Part II of our series, we look today at Ceres, Myriant, PetroAlgae (PALG.PK), BioAmber, Elevance, Genomatica, Enerkem, Mascoma, and Fulcrum Bioenergy. In Part I, yesterday, we looked at the performance of the six IPOs to date in the aftermarket, and at important changes in Coskata’s recent filings. Ceres: delaying its IPO Headline news from the world of...

The Performance of Biofuel IPOs

Jim Lane  In this two-part series, we look at the IPO market for industrial biotech stocks. Who’s up, who’s down, who’s in the queue, and where might all this take us? Plus, an important update from Coskata. In Part I, today, we look at the performance of the six IPOs to date in the aftermarket, the Ceres IPO which is ready to price its IPO tonight, and look towards the IPO queue at important changes in Coskata’s recent filings. In Part II, tomorrow, we look at how Ceres performed, we’ll have an update on Amyris (AMRS), and...

The End of Elastic Oil

Tom Konrad CFA The last ten years have brought a structural change to the world oil market, with changes in demand increasingly playing a role in maintaining the supply/demand balance.  These changes will come at an increasingly onerous cost to our economy unless we take steps to make our demand for oil more flexible. We're not running out of oil.  There's still plenty of oil still in the ground.  Oil which was previously too expensive to exploit becomes economic with a rising oil price.  To the uncritical observer, it might seem as if there is nothing to...

Enerkem’s $125M IPO: The 10-Minute Version

Jim Lane The second technology focused on unlocking value in municipal solid waste comes to the public markets. Here’s our 10-minute version of the filing, with a translation of the risks into English. In Canada, Enerkem has filed an F-1 registration statement for a proposed $125 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 Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and BMO Capital Markets. The company is currently ranked #7...

Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2012: 10% more than other top-10 lists

Tom Konrad. CFA A "bonus" stock pick this year.  Also, notes on New Flyer Industries and Finavera Wind Energy. Maybe it was because Seeking Alpha did not carry my annual list of 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2012 this year, but no one seems to have noticed that there were actually 11 stocks in the list.  Call it the Spinal Tap of top-ten lists. If anyone did notice the extra pick, they didn't leave a comment.  What happened was that I have two number 8 stocks, but there is enough text...

Lux Boosts Their Micro-Hybrid Vehicle Forecast to 39,000,000 Cars a Year By 2017

John Petersen A couple days ago Lux Research published a new report titled “Every Last Drop: Micro‐ And Mild Hybrids Drive a Huge Market for Fuel‐Efficient Vehicles” that focuses on rapidly growing markets for micro-hybrid vehicles and their battery systems. During 2011, automakers sold an estimated 5,000,000 micro-hybrids worldwide, mainly in Europe. By 2017, Lux forecasts global micro-hybrid sales of 39,000,000 cars a year and a $6.3 billion annual market for their battery systems, which represents an across the board average of $161 per vehicle compared to an auto industry average of less than $60 per...