Monthly Archives: April 2015

Electric Cars Will Bury Internal Combustion

By Jeff Siegel Audi wants to save internal combustion from its ultimate demise. This makes about as much sense as saving the typewriter. Despite the fact that such a demise is likely many decades away anyway, the quest to “save the internal combustion engine” will ultimately result in a complete waste of time, effort and money. But that's not stopping Audi. Apparently, the German auto maker has been busy developing e-diesel, which is a transportation fuel that only requires two raw materials: water and carbon dioxide. On the surface, this may sound promising. Especially after reading what Reiner...

Green Bond Market Heats Up After Slow Start To 2015

$7.2 billion of green bonds issued.  Market shows signs of maturity, including more currencies, and non-investment grade bonds.  Emerging market green bonds are ramping up, while green munis are booming. by Tess Olsen-Rong, Climate Bonds Market Analyst The first three months of 2015 (Q1) have seen 44 green bond deals totalling $7.2bn of issuance. After relatively low issuance in January the amount of green bonds issued has been climbing each month, with March three times bigger than January. This year will be the biggest year ever for green bonds: there’s a healthy pipeline of bonds in the...

Alternative Energy Stock Returns, Past and Future

By Harris Roen Alternative energy became a serious market player after the turn of the millennium. Since that time, solar, wind, smart grid and other alternative energy stocks have experienced both strong up and down trends. The forces at work driving these markets are complex, counterintuitive, and sometimes mysterious. This article looks at what has been driving the price of alternative energy markets, and as a result, alternative energy company stocks. Looking ahead, we will also consider what should affect the direction of alternative energy stock prices. Past trends in Alternative Energy Stocks The Wilder Hill...

Power REIT Loses; What Now?

Tom Konrad CFA On April 22nd, the court ruled against Power REIT (NYSE:PW) in the summary judgement phase of its litigation with Norfolk Southern Corp (NYSE:NSC) and Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad (WLE).  At issue were if NSC and WLE were in default on a lease of 112 miles of track, and a number of claims surrounding the lease, and if they owed Power REIT's legal fees under the lease. Had power REIT prevailed on any of a number of counts, it could have been worth as much as $15 dollars a share to Power...

The Cost Of ‘Free Solar’

by Paula Mints Economic theory holds that when a good is provided it must be paid for and that the value for that good will be set by a dance between the sellers and buyers in a market. It is assumed that when the price is too high buyers will back away and the price will adjust. When the price is too low sellers will fail to make sufficient margin to continue producing the good and the price will adjust. And finally, when the price is just right, equilibrium will be achieved and buyers and sellers will be...

Chinese Solar Blows Hot and Cold

Doug Young Bottom line: Solar products maker Tianwei is likely to get a government bailout before it defaults on an upcoming bond payment, while a massive 2 GW solar farm being built by a new private equity fund is likely to get completed. Two solar news items are drawing attention to both the opportunities and challenges facing this increasingly schizophrenic sector in China. A new mega-project is spotlighting the huge opportunities for new construction in the space, with word that a recently launched private equity fund plans to build a massive solar farm with a whopping 2...

Investing in German Wind Power

By Jeff Siegel When it comes to understanding the EU, I'm not the brightest star in the sky. And to be honest, after stumbling down a rabbit hole of proposals, directorates, and laws on the European Commission's website, I was even worse shape than before I started. The European Commission is the EU's executive body that represents the interests of the EU as a whole. And just yesterday it made a decision that will result in a huge boost for wind energy in Germany. Germany's 7 Gigawatts are Coming So as many in the renewable energy game know, following...

The (Spend)thrifty Ways of Capstone Turbine

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week Capstone Turbine (CPST:  Nasdaq) announced changes around the table in its boardroom, bragging of the costs savings it can achieve.  Capstone is a well established manufacturer of microturbines used in power generation.  The company claims over 8,000 of its turbines are in use around the world.   Despite the clear footprint in the wind power market, Capstone needs to achieve efficiency.  Sales of its turbines totaled $122 million in the twelve months ending December 2014.  Unfortunately, the period ended with a net loss of $20.6 million or $0.06 per share. The solution,...

EPA Agrees To Timeline For Ethanol And Advanced Biofuel Targets Through 2016

Jim Lane Proposed consent decree offers timelines for ethanol, advanced fuels through 2016, biobased diesel through 2017. In Washington, the EPA released a proposed consent decree in litigation brought against EPA by, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), that would establish the following schedule for issuing Renewable Fuel Standards for 2014 and 2015: •By June 1, the agency will propose volume requirements for 2015; •By November 30, EPA will finalize volume requirements for 2014 and 2015 and resolve a pending waiver petition for 2014. Outside the scope of the consent...

Making Residual Value Real: Where is Solar’s Emilio Estevez?

by Colin Murchie Seeking Solars' Emilio Estevez It is no secret that costs of capital must decrease to make distributed generation a massively scaling resource. And, as costs of capital steadily decrease, the “residual value” – what happens to the asset once the PPA has run out – becomes more and more important. With that in mind, it no longer seems reasonable to fill the years after the PPA’s expiration – with a row of zeros on the pro forma. There is residual value there that is often...

Orion Energy Systems: Seeing The Light

by Debra Fiakas CFA On Monday Orion Energy Systems (OESX:  NYSE) issued a press release to reiterate previous guidance for sales in the quarter ending March 2015.  Given that the quarter has already ended, it is more like a pre-announcement of results than guidance.  At any rate management has indicated the results, when finally reported will bring sales for the fiscal year ending March 2015, to some point in a range of $72 million to $74 million. The announcement might not be so much motivated by a need to assure shareholders of financial performance, as much as...

OriginOil Renames Product – Will It Help The Business?

by Debra Fiakas CFA Mid-March 2014, OriginOil, Inc. (OOIL:  OTC/QB) relaunched its waste water treatment process for shale gas producers.  The company’s CLEAN-FRAC and CLEAN-FRAC PRIME products are now called OriginClear Petro.  OriginOil is expanding into the industrial and agricultural waste water treatment markets using the product name OriginClear Waste.  The company has been toiling away since 2007 perfecting its “Electro Water Separation” process that uses electrical impulses in a series of steps to disinfect and separate organic contaminants in waste water.    In June 2014, OriginOil management declared its development stage completed and start of full...

Green Mutual Funds and ETFs Show Signs of Life in 2015

By Harris Roen Alternative Energy Mutual Fund Recovering Alternative energy mutual funds are continuing to recover from a slump which started in fall 2014. Annual returns range greatly, though, from a high of 15.6% for Brown Advisory Sustainable Growth (BIAWX), to a low of -15.8% for Guinness Atkinson Alternative Energy (GAAEX). The large 12-month drop by GAAEX was precipitated by painful losses in some of its top weighted holdings… Alternative Energy ETFs Remain Volitile Green ETFs are showing a wide variety of returns, reflecting the volatility of the renewable energy sector....

Bank of America’s call on Tesla is Foolish

Tesla's "Long Shot" Could be a Game-Changer By Jeff Siegel “It's a long shot at best.” That's what Bank of America analyst John Lovallo recently said regarding Tesla's new stationary battery packs being designed for individual homes. While we know Lovallo is incredibly bearish on Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) – locking in a sell rating and a $65 price target on the stock – he is right. Such an ambitious goal is a long shot. But you know what else is a long shot? The existence of a superior electric car that can travel 200 miles on a single...

More Gevolution

Jim Lane The results from Gevo’s (GEVO) 4th quarter are in, and a worth a look-see, not only for fans of isobutanol and its prospects. Also for a look at how this member of the 2010-12 IPO group of companies is crossing the multiple Valleys of Death that have arrayed before it. In the fourth quarter of 2014, Gevo continued to progress the commercial operation of isobutanol at Luverne under the Side-by-Side mode of production (SBS), meeting its stated milestone in December 2014 of producing greater than 50K gallons of isobutanol in one month. This achievement, Gevo notes,...

The Tesla Home Battery Pack Will Change The World

By Jeff Siegel On the 30th of April, everything is going to change... Why? Because Elon Musk says so. OK, maybe he didn't actually say that, but he did recently reveal that on April 30th, he'll be making a major announcement about a new product that is NOT an electric car. Most analysts have suggested that the announcement is regarding the release of what could ultimately be a game-changer for the solar industry  a game-changer that, if it delivers the way the Tesla Model S has delivered on performance, design, and efficiency, could catapult Tesla (NASD:TSLA) into one of...