Monthly Archives: December 2014

Energy Investing: What To Expect In 2015

By Jeff Siegel Tonight, I will welcome in the New Year with family. We'll feast on cured meats, pickled vegetables, and lamb neck stew. We'll sip an old fashioned or two with apple and sage, share some laughs, and maybe even shed a few tears as we remember those we lost in 2014. When the ball drops, we'll hug, kiss, and cheer on all that waits to be discovered in 2015. There will be good and there will be bad, but I suppose it's the uncertainty of it all that makes life worth living. Don't Fear the Uncertain It...

Tesla Tries To Jump-Start China Sales

Doug Young Tesla launches trade-in program. Bottom line: Tesla and other EV makers is likely to face an uphill road in China for the next year, but prospects could start to improve in mid 2015 as new initiatives gain momentum. Reports on a new trade-in promotion from Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) are recharging talk earlier this month that the high-flying electric vehicle (EV) maker isn’t doing as well as hoped in China, where sales have gotten off to a slow start. This kind of a sluggish start isn’t too unexpected,...

Cheap Oil: Nemesis Or Sideshow?

by Garvin Jabusch Next economics posits that for the global economy and earth's tolerances/carrying capacities to run in a mutually tolerable equilibrium, we must continue to make rapid advances in economic efficiencies in all sectors. For 7.3 billion of us (and counting) to thrive on finite resources and avoid the worst effects of climate change, we have to drive more and more economic output from less and less input. Fortunately, energy is one of the areas where we can quickly make huge strides in this respect but not with fossil fuels in the mix. On the contrary,...

My Christmas Present To Readers: A Quick Look At Your Favorite Stocks

by Tom Konrad, CFA Several readers have been leaving comments on my articles about the stocks they think I should include in my upcoming "Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2015" list.  So far, I have not found one that gets me interested, but I have gotten useful ideas from readers in the past.  So now's your chance: Leave a comment here about your favorite clean energy stock, and why you think it's a great pick for 2015.  I'll publish a compendium of your suggestions, along with my reactions to them in January.  But I'll try to look...

Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2014: Out With The Old

Tom Konrad CFA Plummeting oil prices, global economic weakness, and the Republicans' win in the US midterms have delivered a triple-whammy to clean energy stocks over the last few months.  Many of the stock declines are justified more by headlines than fundamentals.  My 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2014 model portfolio has suffered, especially the riskier growth stocks.  The strong dollar has been a further drag on the six foreign stocks. Since the last update at the start of October, the model portfolio is down 4.6%, for a loss since its December 27th,...

Commerce Department Finalizes Tariffs on Chinese and Taiwanese Solar Panels

Jennifer Runyon Yesterday the U.S. Department of Commerce announced its final findings in the 3-year long trade war between the U.S. and China. Additional tariffs will be imposed on modules from China and Taiwan. Although this is good news for SolarWorld and other American solar PV manufacturers, many in the U.S. solar industry are not celebrating and the decision is expected to further divide an already shaken solar industry. Specifically, Commerce determined that imports of certain crystalline silicon PV products from China have been sold in the U.S. at dumping margins ranging from 26.71 percent to 165.04...

Casting Off The Electric Company Cord

By Jeff Siegel Billy Adams doesn't get an electric bill. Perched along a hillside in the mountains of Western Maryland, Billy's home gets all its electricity from the sun. He has a small battery pack that stores about five hours worth of electricity, and he heats his home with a very powerful 100,000 BTU wood stove. Of course, Billy isn't your typical American. He's never been a fan of living in the suburbs. He enjoys the peace and quiet of mountain living, rarely eats anything he hasn't hunted or grown himself, and doesn't have a single penny of...

Energy Recovery Offers Savings to Gas Industry

by Debra Fiakas CFA In early December 2014, Energy Recovery (ERII:  Nasdaq) staged an analyst and investor event in New York City principally to introduce its most recent technology innovation, VorTeq.  The product is a hydraulic fracturing solution for the gas industry.  Unlike its other products, the VorTeq is a colossal apparatus requiring a semi-tractor to transport it into place as a replacement for the ‘missiles’ now found at natural gas well sites.  VorTeq Animation In the current configuration, high pressure pumps are used to drive a blend of fracturing sand, water...

Tesla Hits Another Chinese Speed Bump

Doug Young Tesla's China head resigns. Bottom line: The resignation of Tesla’s China president hints the company is getting off to a slow China start. US new energy superstar Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) suffered a setback with the departure of its China president. The news will disappoint the company’s overseas boosters and electric vehicle (EV) fans in general, and hints that this new energy superstar’s drive into China isn’t going as smoothly as hoped. Tesla had extremely high hopes for China created by its charismatic chief Elon Musk. The latest...

Biofuels’ Upside From $60 Oil

Jim Lane Boom times for two-product strategies? Can feed markets offer relief for the challenges on the fuel side? The energy industry continues to feel the impact of falling energy prices. In Wednesday’s Top Story, we noted that the industry conversation has shifted from long-term fundamentals to a form of “oil price watching” not even the short-term fundamentals, but the kind of paralyzed ticker watching, waiting for the bottom, that comes during stock market crashes. “Barron’s says oil is going to $35bbl,” writes a trusted Digesterati. “The same guy who predicted the...

REG Buying European Biodiesel From Used Cooking Oil Producer

Jim Lane US biodiesel leader heads for the EU – what’s up with used cooking oil, and what is REG’s path forward with the German-based biodiesel producer? In Iowa, Renewable Energy Group and IC Green Energy announced that REG will acquire ICG’s majority equity ownership position in German biodiesel producer Petrotec AG (XETRA: PT8). Closing of the transaction is expected before year end. REG CEO Dan Oh Last month, REG CEO Dan Oh told The Digest, “We’re not done growing, that’s for sure! We’ve done something of...

What $60 Oil Means For Biofuels

Jim Lane As if tough financing conditions and policy instability weren’t worrying enough for many observers, along comes a crash in global oil prices. One of the US-based Digesterati writes: “Most of the biofuels projects that I have worked on in the last 5 years have based their proformas on an $80/barrel oil price. With the recent dip and worldwide “power play,” I feel that investors as well as Boards of Directors will be really re-evaluating their business models, with most going overseas to markets that do not have the abundant reserves that we do. “If...

Two Clean Energy Speculations For 2014: Wrap-Up

Tom Konrad CFA I included two "Clean Energy Speculations" along with my annual model portfolio of ten clean energy stocks this year.  It's been a tough year for clean energy stocks in general, with my industry benchmark (Powershares Wilderhill Clean Energy ETF (PBW)) down about 15% since I initiated the portfolios on December 27th 2013.  Despite this, both the main portfolio and the speculations look likely to end the year with small gains.  The two speculations were Ram Power Corp (TSX:RPG, OTC:RAMPF) and Finavera Wind Energy (TSX-V:FVR, OTC:FNVRF). Both are clean energy project...

Top 10 PV Module Suppliers for 2014

The 2014 rankings for solar module suppliers have been released from the newly combined Solarbuzz and IHS Technology solar research team. The team predicts that the global top 10 PV module suppliers will stay the same, although some reshuffling will occur. The rankings are based on full year shipment estimates. The group is forecasting Trina Solar (TSL) to be the largest module supplier in 2014 in terms of global shipments. IHS said that Trina is expected to break industry records for both quarterly and annual PV module shipments in Q4’14. Yingli Green Energy (YGE), the holder of these...

Biodiesel Christmas Caroling: FFA La La

Jim Lane “On the way” forever, talked up by all, deployed by some – technologies that handle high free fatty acid feedstocks like used cooking oil are coming into their hey-day, via players like REG, Novozymes, Pacific Biodiesel, Blue Sun, Piedmont, COMAC and more. Christmas come early for advanced biofuels? One of the most alluring targets in advanced biofuels although cruelly mis-named is in the world of free fatty acids. Most of the oils currently used for biodiesel are sourced from soybeans, palm or rapeseed, and precisely because they contain less than 0.5%...

Solar Stocks Slide On Oil Slick

Doug Young  Bottom line: The recent plunge in solar stocks is the result of panic selling due to falling oil prices, meaning the shares could rebound sharply once the sell-off subsides. US investors were showing signs of new energy indigestion in the shortened trading day after Thanksgiving, dumping stocks of all the major solar panel makers in a messy post-holiday sell-off. With no major news from any of the companies, the driving force behind the sell-off appears to be the recent plunge in oil prices, which hit new 4 years lows late last week after OPEC declined to cut...