Monthly Archives: December 2012

Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2013

Tom Konrad CFA Every year since 2008, I've published a list of ten (or eleven in 2012) clean energy stocks I expect to do well over the coming year.  The list is intended as a model portfolio which could be used by a small investor looking to avoid the relatively high costs of clean energy mutual funds, most of which have expense ratios around 2%, in addition to the trading costs they incur with fairly high turnover ratios.  My list also reflects my belief that the best returns and least risk in clean...

Solar Bits: LDK Woes, Hanwha Loan

Doug Young A couple of news bits from the solar sector are showing at once how companies continue to struggle with fallout from the ongoing downturn even as some larger players continue to receive lifelines from Beijing. In the former category, floundering giant LDK (NYSE: LDK) has just announced an arbitration panel's ruling that it must pay hundreds of millions of yuan for equipment that it ordered at the height of the solar boom but which it no longer wants or needs. Meantime in the latter category, mid-sized player Hanwha SolarOne (Nasdaq: HSOL) has just received a major...

Three Money Managers See LED Industry Shining in 2013; Their Stock Picks

Tom Konrad LED lights on an outdoor tree. Photo by author This is the third article in my series based on my panel of green money managers’ predictions for 2013.  The first article looked at what they expect 2013 holds for the Solar industry, and the second looked at their predictions  for the Smart Grid.  This installment focuses on the LED industry. Jeff Cianci: Faster than Anyone Expects Jeff Cianci is Chief Investment Officer at equity investment fund Green Science Partners. Cianci says “The trend toward LED lighting for...

Amyris hits the comeback trail

Jim Lane Biofene production starts up in Paraiso, Brazil – sales expected to commence in Q1 2013 – Total, Temasek, Biolding inject fresh capital. What’s next for biofuels’ “Comeback Kid”? By now, most of the “smart set” that found itself excited about Amyris (AMRS), and about advanced synthetic biofuels during the IPO fever, have moved on. They read Dan Grushkin’s “The Rise And Fall Of The Company That Was Going To Have Us All Using Biofuels” in Fast Company, wrote off Amyris and possibly the entire sector, and presumably migrated their enthusiasm to low-cost natural gas, battery...

The Smart Grid in 2013: Three Green Money Managers Square Off on EnerNOC

Tom Konrad What will the New Year hold for Clean Energy?   For the people who manage clean energy portfolios, mutual funds, and indexes the question is more than idle curiosity.  Getting the answer right means finding the stocks which will put a shine on your solar portfolio’s returns.  Getting it wrong means the competition will blow away your wind stocks. I asked my network of green money managers for their predictions.  This is the second in a series on their predictions and stock picks from my panel.  This first article focused on what they had to...

What Does 2013 Hold for Solar? Predictions From Four Green Money Managers

Tom Konrad What will the New Year hold for Clean Energy?   For the people who manage clean energy portfolios, mutual funds, and indexes the question is more than idle curiosity.  Getting the answer right means finding the stocks which will put a shine on your solar portfolio’s returns.  Getting it wrong means the competition will blow away your wind stocks. I asked my network of green money managers what they thought, and they gave me a lot more than I expected.  This is the start of a series on the predictions and stock picks from my...

Renewable Energy REITs or MLPs Would Unlock Billions

Jennifer Runyon According to Richard Kauffman, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, DOE, making REITs or MLPs available for renewable energy project financing is the key to advancing the industry.   Top engineering, procurement and construction firms gathered to network, learn and do business with corporate-level project developers at the PGI Financial Forum, one of four co-located events that took place in Orlando, Fla. earlier this month. Richard Kauffman, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, gave the keynote address during a luncheon that took place during the conference. ...

How The Micro-hybrid Revolution Will Radically Change The Battery Market

John Petersen In late October I gave a keynote presentation at Batteries 2012, one of the largest lithium-ion battery conferences in the world. During the conference, I was buttonholed for a couple hours by the chairman's global strategy team for one of the top three lithium-ion battery manufacturers in the world. They started by explaining that their Global 100 company is abandoning the plug-in vehicle market to focus on sensible applications where it can earn a reasonable margin. Then they started drilling down with a series of detailed and probing questions about whether any of the principal lead-acid...

Why I’m Selling Rockwool

Tom Konrad CFA Photo: Cubes made of rockwool for indoor cannabis cultivation by D-Kuru/Wikimedia Commons. While some users may use Rockwool insulation to grow their highs, the recent highs in the stock price have led me to sell part of my holdings. Earlier this year, I bought Rockwool International A/S (COP:ROCK-B, OTC:RKWBF) with the intention of holding it for the long term. I chose Rockwool because it was expanding in the US, provides excellent international diversification, has a strong balance sheet with no net debt, and (not least) is a leader in...

Beijing Administers Tough Medicine to Solar Cos

Doug Young Solar Injection photo via Bigstock A report in Thursday's China Daily is providing the clearest indication yet that Beijing is delivering some tough medicine to many of the nation's smaller solar panel and polysilicon makers by letting them go backrupt to return the struggling sector to health. Up until now, much of the talk in China has focused on rescuing the money-bleeding sector through a comprehensive bailout plan designed to create about a dozen major players as the industry's backbone. But little has been...

BYD Boosts EV Network With California Bus Plant

Doug Young BYD e6 - Electric Taxi in Shenzhen, China. Photo by Brücke-Osteuropa If struggling car maker BYD (HKEx: 1211; Shenzhen: 002594; Pink:BYDDF) ultimately fails in its dream to become a leader in new energy vehicles, at least it will have lots of global assets to leave as a record of its efforts. Perhaps I'm sounding a bit too cynical in my latest musings on this company, since I really am starting to become more convinced that perhaps BYD's electric dreams could actually someday become a...

Energy Trends That Matter For Investors

By Harris Roen The US is by far the world’s greatest user of energy per capita in the world. Each American uses about 87,000 kilowatt-hours per year – that is twice as much as the European Union (EU), the next closest consumer! Understanding energy trends in this country is extremely important for investors who want to understand how the energy landscape will look 10, 20 or 30 years from now. Figure 1: Global Per Capita Energy Use The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) made public an early release of its in-depth Annual Energy Outlook. This...

Graftech Takes a Leg Down

by Debra Fiakas CFA   Shares of graphite producer Graftech International (GTI:  NYSE) took another long step downward in trading earlier this week, extending a lengthy slide since the beginning of the year.  The shares have attempted a comeback at least twice, but with no success.  GTI has sunk back near its three-year low.  For contrarian investors, this is a good time to take a new look at Graftech  -  a company that has become habitually profitable. After successive losses in the difficult economic period that ensued just after the start of the new millennium, Graftech management regained...

Solazyme Crosses the Rubicon

Jim Lane Next-gen renewable oils producer achieves first linear scale-up to 500,000 liter fermenters clears path for large commercial production volumes. In biofuels, the “ethanol blend wall” gets a tremendous amount of attention. This is the restriction on ethanol blending in gasoline to (today) 10 percent. It limits overall US ethanol distribution, and vexes ethanol producers and corn growers. But that’s only the second most critical wall. Over in advanced biofuels which are expected to provide 21 billion of the 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel targeted in the Renewable Fuel Standard by 2022 ...

Zoltek: High in Fiber, Low in Valuation

by Debra Fiakas CFA   The Stohr DSR has an all carbon fiber body (Photo credit: Rhots/Wikimedia Commons)   Zoltek Companies (ZOLT:  Nasdaq) is in the business of fibers, mostly carbon fibers.  Plain, simple fibers may not seem very impressive.  However, Zoltek’s carbon fibers are in wide demand for renewable energy applications such as wind turbines blades and deep sea oil and gas wells.  After two years swimming in red ink, Zoltek has managed to bring sales back up to 2008 levels.  The company earned $22.9 million in...

Solar Installations Booming, EV Sales Soar: The Week In Cleantech, 12-15-2012

Jeff Siegel December 10: 47,500 Electric Cars Electric Car Sales Soar. . .Again In case you missed it, Todd Woody over at Forbes reported last week that electric car sales reached a record in November for the fourth consecutive month. Total sales of electric cars for 2012 are now up to 47,500. You can read the entire piece here. Chinese Win Bid for US Battery Maker Well, we thought Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) was going to take the lead on this one. We were wrong. Wanxiang America Corporation has just picked up nearly all...