Monthly Archives: May 2015

EPA Slashes Corn Ethanol Targets Under Proposed Renewable Fuel Standard

Renewable Diesel Takes Smaller Cut Jim Lane “EPA continues to assert authority under the general waiver provision to reduce biofuel volumes based on available infrastructure,” says BIO. “This is a point that will have to be litigated. It goes against Congressional intent.” In Washington, the EPA released its proposed standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016 and volumes for renewable fuels. The volumes, as widely expected, include substantial reductions from the statutory standards in the original 2007 Energy Independence & Security Act. The EPA also released a 2017 proposed standard for biomass-based diesel. Yet, while attracting significant...

Saudis Confirm Switch from Oil to Solar

By Jeff Siegel You probably wouldn't recognize him if you saw him on the street. Heck, you probably don't even know his name. But Ali Al-Naimi is one of the most powerful men in the world. As the Saudi oil minister and chairman of Saudi Aramco, Al-Naimi is not particularly popular with U.S. oil producers, especially after telling the media he didn't care if oil prices crashed to $20 because it was not in the interest of OPEC producers to cut production  regardless of price. Still, he remains the most influential oilman on the planet. Listed as one of Forbes' 50...

My Yieldco Raised Its Dividend With This Weird Trick

Tom Konrad CFA Clean energy yieldcos buck the general trend by paying out a large proportion of cash flow to investors, and rapidly increasing their dividends at the same time.  The key to this trick has been their rapidly appreciating stock prices. High yield companies generally grow slowly, while high growth companies have low dividend yields. Normal companies grow by investing some profits in new business opportunities.  Early stage growth companies typically retain all their earnings to invest in new business.  More mature companies have fewer opportunities, and so share a larger proportion of...

Warren Buffett: Closet Tree-Hugging Billionaire

By Jeff Siegel Is Warren Buffett sending mixed messages on green energy? That's what the folks over at Bloomberg Business have suggested. But nothing could be further from the truth. After all, Buffett's making a fortune in the alternative energy space. Yet here's what was reported in Bloomberg this week: Warren Buffett highlights how his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. utilities make massive investments in renewable energy. Meanwhile, in Nevada, the company is fighting a plan that would encourage more residents to use green power. Berkshire’s NV Energy, the state’s dominant utility, opposes the proposal to increase a cap on...

Yingli is Tanking, but the Solar Industry Remains Vibrant

By Jeff Siegel Solar stocks are getting a thrashing today after Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE) came clean about a possible bankruptcy. The stock tanked at the open and is still trading below $1.00 – down from yesterday's closing price of $1.70. Of course, the writing was on the wall with this one. Yingli's been struggling for a long time. And while I'm extremely bullish on solar, I've kept a safe distance from Yingli, as well as a lot of other China solar stocks. That being said, even the solid, revenue-generating companies not operating out of China are...

Darling Ingredients: At the Margin

by Debra Fiakas CFA This week Darling Ingredients (DAR:  NYSE) reported earnings of $100,000 on net sales of $874.7 million in the first quarter ending March 2015.  Darling is a recycler of sorts, collecting by-products of the food production industry and recycling the left-overs and waste into proteins, fats and leathers.  Nothing goes to waste.  Every last chicken feather, hide, gallon of used cooking grease and cake crumb gets up-cycled to a usable material for feed, food, fuel or clothing.  Its customers include pet food producers, personal care manufacturers and textile users, among others. Darling used...

Yingli’s New Deadline, Hanergy’s Plunging Value

Doug Young  Bottom line: Yingli’s shares could rebound a bit as concerns ease about an imminent bankruptcy, while Hanergy’s shares are likely to continue sliding when trading resumes to correct from a massively speculative recent run-up. This week has been a volatile time for solar company stocks, which have taken a beating after Yingli (NYSE: YGE) warned about its ability to stay in business due to its heavy debt load. Now Yingli has put out a new statement saying its earlier warning was misinterpreted, helping to reverse a huge sell-off of its shares as it laid out the next...

Yingli In Danger Of Default

by Doug Young Bottom line: Yingli is in increasing danger of defaulting on its heavy debt load, which could result in a rapid and disorderly bankruptcy if its hometown government fails to provide support. After sending out a steady series of distress signals over the last few weeks, solar panel maker Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE) has sent out its strongest trouble sign yet as it struggles under a huge debt load. The most recent signal comes in a new filing with the US securities regulator, in which Yingli says its big debt could threaten its...

Solar Stocks Bask In Hawaiian “Aloha”

By Jeff Siegel I’ve been all over the world, and without a doubt, there is no place more beautiful than Hawaii, particularly the island of Kauai. The weather, the ocean, the rain forests, the food - it just doesn’t get any better. Although if state lawmakers get their way, there could soon be a cherry on top for renewable energy supporters. As recently reported in Greentech Media … Lawmakers in Hawaii passed legislation last week (in a 74-2 vote) requiring the state to generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2045. If HB 623...

Bears Are Sniffing At Clean Energy Fuels: Should You?

By Jeff Siegel Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ: CLNE) has been having a pretty good year. The stock reached a 2015 high of $10.48 on May 4. Up from $5.03 at the start of the year. But the natural gas fueling company co-founded by legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens took it on the chin today after missing analysts’ estimates for earnings and revenue in Q1. When CLNE first came on the scene, I was a fan. I even recommended the company shortly after it went public. And we did pretty well, eventually clocking out with a gain in...

US Crawls Closer to Energy Policy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week President Obama signed into law the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015.  The law is intended to reduce energy requirements in commercial buildings, manufacturing facilities and residential structures.  The law improves building codes, provides assistance to manufactures to achieve energy efficiency and paves the way for conservation activities by federal agencies.  It is the closest thing the United States has to an energy policy…..so far. It took years to get this small piece of energy policy through Congress.  Indeed, at one point in its convoluted travels through the House of...

The Value of Net Metered Electricity in New York

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D. Net metering is unfair and is dangerous for the long term health of utilities, at least according to Raymond Wuslich, when he spoke at the 2015 Renewable Energy Conference in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Wustlich is an attorney and partner at Winston & Strawn, LLP., and advises clients across the electricity and natural gas industries on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) matters. To make his point, Wuslich used a simplified New York residential electric bill.  In this simplified bill, the customer was charged 12¢ per kWh for...

Alaska Airlines and Gevo to Demonstrate Alchohol-to-Jet Fuel

In Colorado, Gevo (GEVO) and Alaska Airlines announced a strategic alliance to purchase Gevo’s renewable jet fuel and fly the first-ever commercial flight on alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ). The demonstration flight is expected to occur after Gevo receives ASTM International certification for its fuel, sometime in mid to late 2015. Gevo has been working through the rigorous ASTM process for six years, which includes extensive engine testing and data analysis by all of the major original equipment manufacturers to establish the specification for this drop in fuel. Once approved, this fuel can be seamlessly integrated into the existing distribution...

Tesla Just Killed Your Power Company

By Jeff Siegel Last Thursday at around 11:00 p.m., the world changed. I don't mean to sound so dramatic, but there's no other way to put it. You see, that night, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA)) CEO and super-genius Elon Musk unveiled something so monumentally game-changing, it's almost hard to put into words without sounding like a lunatic. But I'm going to try anyway... Out of the Starting Gate When I first started covering the renewable energy space in 2005, it was like pulling teeth to get investors to pay attention. After all, the renewable energy industry had a...

Are Solar Stocks Cheap For A Reason?

by Debra Fiakas CFA The last post “Meeting Solar Challenge in the Courtroom” discussed how European solar manufacturers are complaining about China’s exports.  A complaint made by industry association EU ProSun charges China manufacturers of solar cells and panels of circumventing Europe’s anti-dumping measures by channeling their products through Malaysia and other intermediaries in order to disguise the China origin.  A report by released last month by IHS (formerly SolarBuzz) makes clear there is much at stake in the solar industry.  IHS forecasts global solar photovoltaic capacity could reach 498 gigawatts by 2019.  That call is...

Amyris Reaches Positive Cash Flow

Jim Lane In California, Amyris announced positive cash flow of $1.7 million in the first quarter despite negative currency effect of $1.2 million. Overall, Amyris recorded Q1 2015 non-GAAP cash revenue inflows of $30.3 million, compared with $17.9 million for Q1 2014. Total Q1 2015 revenues were $7.9 million, an increase of 30% compared with same quarter last year. Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $44.9 million at March 31, 2015, an increase from $43.4 million at December 31, 2014. “We’re pleased with our continued execution toward diversifying and growing our revenue base through an expanding...