Monthly Archives: February 2013

Photovoltaics: 10 Trends to Watch in 2013

2012 Report Card plus my 2013 trends and predictions. Ed Gunther Though I’ll blame my lingering flu, the Photovoltaics: 11 Trends to Watch in 2012 review and 2013 photovoltaic (PV) trends and predictions post has again extended well into February. As usual, I won’t be grading on a curve. Photovoltaic Market Demand Growth Last year, I said: In 2012, I predict at least 25% global PV installation demand growth. I am tempted by the under since the early year Feed-in Tariff (FiT) headwinds seem stronger than ever with serious talk of a 1 GW...

Good News for Kior: EPA Greenlights Camelina and Energy Cane

Jim Lane Camelina microcarpa, aka Littlepod false flax.   Photo by Jim Pisarowicz, National Park Service New renewable feedstock OKs. Good news, bad, neutral? In Washington, the US Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule qualifying biofuels produced from camelina oil as biomass-based diesel or advanced biofuel, as well as biofuels from energy cane which qualify as cellulosic biofuel. This final rule also qualifies renewable gasoline and renewable gasoline blendstock made from certain qualifying feedstocks as cellulosic biofuel. “This decision adds to the growing list of biodiesel...

While Others Seek to Inject CO2, Airgas Sells It

by Debra Fiakas CFA   Just one of the many suppliers of industrial and commercial carbon dioxide, Airgas, Inc. (ARG:  NYSE) recently announced plans to build a new carbon dioxide plant in Houston.  The press release hit news wires right along with announcements of carbon capture projects and other investments to reduce greenhouse effect from too much CO2 in the atmosphere. In one those strange twists that makes our world so interesting and vexing at the same time, is the fact that we use carbon dioxide all the while we invest wildly to reduce CO2...

Seven Green Stocks I Told My Sister to Buy

Tom Konrad CFA I guide my sister through the stock market, she guides me through the mountains. An earlier version of his article was first published on the author's Forbes.com blog, Green Stocks on February 15th.  This version has been updated to reflect market action and news since then. Earlier this week, I wrote about how my annual green stock trading advice had worked out for my sister and readers (well) and the two stocks where I thought she...

Two Green Stocks I Told My Sister to Sell

Tom Konrad CFA I guide my sister through the stock market, she guides me through the mountains. Once a year, I give my sister stock trading advice. Managing money is not her thing, so any more often and she’d likely lose interest, and not do anything.  With that constraint, I wait until there are a large number of stocks I think she should trade, and send he a list of trades, along with quantities and limit prices for her to enter “good ’til canceled.” Last May, I told her...

Air Products Goes Operational with Carbon Capture

by Debra Fiakas CFA   In October 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy selected a dozen projects aimed at bringing relief to a planet suffocating in a cloud of toxic carbon dioxide emissions. The DOE called the program it’s Large-Scale Industrial Carbon Capture Storage Projects and wrote checks for $575 million out of American Recovery and Reconstruction (ARRA) funds.  A little more than a year later the DOE weeded out all but three projects for the second phase of the program.  Besides Leucadia Energy (subsidiary of Leucadia National, LUK:  NYSE) and Archer Daniels Midland...

Earnings Season: Heading to the Biobased Scorecard

Jim Lane Earnings season is upon us time to go, as they say, to the scoreboard for an update on some of the sector’s perennial favorites. GPRE earning, DSM acquiring, AMRS shipping some welcome pars, even a birdie or two, from the front-lines. Now, the ethanol sector has been going through one of its periodic rough patches in recent months in this case, courtesy of the dire US drought last year which has forced up corn prices and tightened inventories. A number of ethanol plants have tumbled into the red, or shut down production...

The Catholic Church Shouldn’t be Investing in Abortion Clinics

Tom Konrad CFA Jesus Saves, but where does he invest? Photo via Bigstock. This article is not about the Church, or abortion.  As far as I know, the former does not invest in the latter. This article is about investing, and morality. Since 350.org began its campaign to get endowments and pensions to divest from fossil fuels, I've heard two basic criticisms of the movement from my colleagues in the investment management profession. Endowments selling their fossil fuel investments won't stop us from using fossil...

China: The Rise of the Global New Energy Scavenger

Doug Young King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa. Photo by Hein waschefort via Wikimedia Commons. New reports that major car maker Dongfeng Motor (HKEx: 489) is bidding to buy a struggling US hybrid car maker are casting a spotlight on China's emerging role as scavenger for global new energy companies struggling to stay in business. A number of factors are driving this budding trend, led by the fact that many of these Chinese suitors are relatively cash rich and in a good position to provide much-needed funds for cash-starved western new...

The Dew Drop Inn Who’s Dropping in What in Biofuels?

Jim Lane Dew Drop Inn, Hathern.  © Copyright Chris J Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. B20, B5, B100, E10, E22, E85, Bu12.5, HEFA 50 Is your head swimming with acronyms and blend ratios? Who exactly is making drop-in fuels, and what does that mean? “Drop-in” a spectrum more than a spec when it comes to renewable fuels. In the world of alternative fuels and transport, there are two types of technologies that are highly controversial:...

Praxair’s Long Road to Capturing Carbon

by Debra Fiakas CFA   In 2007, industrial gas supplier Praxair (PX:  NYSE) teamed up with power plant equipment dealer Foster Wheeler (FSLT:  Nadaq) to work on demonstration projects for cleaning up coal-fired electric generating plants.  At first the duo planned to pursue clean coal technologies and oxygenated coal combustion systems.  The joint press release at the time indicated Praxair’s “oxy-coal’ technology would be applied to Foster Wheeler’s ‘circulating fluidized-bed steam generators.’  The oxycombustion process is one of several proposed methods to capture carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants. In a retrofit situation, pure oxygen would replace air...

GE Snatches Wind Installation Crown from Vestas

James Montgomery Offshore Wind Farm photo via Bigstock. Preliminary rankings of global wind installation capacity show something not seen in 12 years: longtime market leader Vestas looking up at someone else. BTM Consult, a division within Navigant's Global Energy Practice, says General Electric (NYSE:GE) installed more wind turbine MW capacity than any other original equipment manufacturer (OEMs) in 2012. While not offering specific numbers, Aris Karcanias, senior analyst with BTM, acknowledged that it was "a clear win" for GE, and "not a difference of 50 megawatts)," though...

Western Wind & Brookfield: Time To Declare Victory and Go Home

Tom Konrad CFA Yesterday, I tendered my shares of Western Wind Energy (TSX-V:WND, OTC:WNDEF) to Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners' (TSX:BEP.UN, OTC: BRPFF) extended offer for Western Wind at C$2.60 a share.  This is despite the fact that I think (and was even quoted in a Western Wind press release) saying Western Wind is worth more than C$2.60. Two things have changed.  After conversations with other investors, Western Wind CEO Jeff Ciachurski, and a representative of Brookfield, as well as reading some evidence of extremely bad governance in Western Wind's Q3 2012 filing, I no...

The POTUS and his SOTUS: RT@moreofthesame TL;DR

Jim Lane The President’s State of the Union speech. What was new? (Not much). What was feasible amongst DC gridlock? (Not much) What about energy? (moreofthesame) Where was the Farm Bill? (AWOL). In case you were watching wrestling, President Obama gave the State of the Union speech last night. Big vision, small vision – practical, impractical – partisan, bipartisan. Cable news chattered away all night on those topics but the speech had the feeling of a long retweet. Amongst the Twitterati, he’s the POTUS, giving the SOTUS, and in a Twitterverse dominated by...

Alternative Energy Funds Deliver Stunning Quarterly Returns, But Beware the Risks

By Harris Roen The Roen Financial Report closely covers the universe of almost 30 alternative energy Mutual Funds (MFs) and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). We use a proprietary ranking method to pick the best funds, looking at measures that include fees, risk, tax liability, and the financial health of individual holdings within each fund. Subscribers can see the complete list of funds, including rankings and technical breakdowns, in both Excel and PDF format by clicking here . Mutual Funds Alternative energy MFs showed improving ranks for this February update. In all, three funds were bumped up to...

Why Did Finavera Wind Energy’s Stock Crash?

Tom Konrad CFA A month ago, I was convinced that Finavera Wind Energy’s (TSX-V:FVR, OTC:FNVRF) stock was only temporarily trading at depressed levels in the low 20 cent range because investors were disappointed at the deal with Pattern Energy.  Many shareholders had been hoping for an outright sale, and were selling into the thinly traded holiday markets.  I predicted that Finavera stock would “quickly rebound to at least the C$0.30 range over the next few days or weeks, as liquidity returns to the market, and investors revalue the stock based on the agreement with Pattern.”...