Monthly Archives: October 2015

Yieldcos: Calling The Bottom

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA On a podcast recorded on September 14th, I said I thought that Yieldco stocks had bottomed at the end of September.  Two weeks later, that call still looks like a good one (see chart.) I'm starting to hear optimistic noises from other Yieldco observers, although the general tone remains quite bearish. Why do I think September 29th was the likely bottom? End of quarter.  Some institutional investors such as mutual funds reshuffle their portfolios at the end of the quarter so that they don't have...

Tesla Mulls Local Chinese Production

Doug Young Bottom line: Tesla’s newly announced modest China sales and announcement of a plan for potential local production reflect the uphill road it faces in the Chinese market, which is unlikely to get much easier in the next 2 years. China is fast becoming the land of promising upstart companies that failed to reach their potential, with word that former new energy superstar Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) has posted very ho-hum car sales in a market where it once held out big hopes. The rare China sales figures...

Green Asset-Backed Bond From Hannon Armstrong Has Measured GHG Savings

by the Climate Bonds Team Hannon Armstrong’s (HASI) second green ABS, $118.6m, will save 0.39 tons of GHG annually per $1,000!  ($100.5m, 4.28%, 19 yr, A and $18.1m, 5.00%, 19 yr, BBB) Hannon Armstrong (NYSE:HASI) closed its second green ABS bond (Sustainable Yield Bond) following its inaugural issuance in December 2013. The ABS was a private placement split into two tranches with different credit ratings (from Kroll Bond Credit Rating Agency): $100.5m with a rating of A and 4.28% interest rate, and $18.1m with a rating of BBB and 5.00% interest rate. Both tranches have a 19-year tenor....

US Yieldcos Will Survive

by Susan Kraemer As unrealistic expectations of dividend growth are scaled back, yieldcos are now on a more sustainable path. Weaknesses in the US yieldco model came into sharp relief this summer as share prices fell along with oil and gas stocks. This was in part due to investor confusion about energy stocks but also in response to a flaw in US yieldco expectations. Manager of the Green Global Equity Income Portfolio and AltEnergyStocks.com editor Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA had warned of the looming potential for exactly this kind of market correction in a conversation a...

Notes On YieldCos, Future Fuel, and Aspen Aerogels

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Since I have not had much time to write for AltEnegyStocks, I thought I'd share with readers some notes I wrote for investors in the JPS Green Economy Fund, a hedge fund for which I'm director of Research, regarding our holdings in the third quarter: In the third quarter, we took advantage of the general decline of clean energy "YieldCos" to add two of these owners of wind and solar farms to our portfolio at attractive yields.  Pattern Energy Group (PEGI) is an owner of wind farms having long term power purchase agreements...

Energy Recovery Recovers Its Own Energy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Energy Recovery (ERII:  Nasdaq) has announced a breakthrough license of its hydraulic fracturing pump to oil and gas patch service provider Schlumberger (SLB:  NYSE).  Called the Vorteq by Energy Recovery, the pump features the company’s core pressure exchange technology, representing an entirely new approach to driving the chemical-laced water producers send deep into the earth to extract oil and gas.  Energy Recovery develops and markets components and equipment for fluid flow and pressure cycles found industrial processes.  Its patented pressure exchange devices are designed to take advantage of energy created in...

Can Rubicon Hire Bring Shine Back To Sapphire?

by Debra Fiakas CFA On Friday Rubicon Technology, Inc. (RBCN:  Nasdaq) announced the appointment of a new chief operating officer to manage the company’s sapphire materials production.  Rubicon is a producer of materials used in electronics components, including the company’s specialty, monocrystalline sapphire materials.   Rubicon chose a seasoned operator for the COO post, which now encompasses functions previously carried about by managers in two different positions.  The new hire, Hany Tamim, was previously with SunEdison (SUNE:  Nasdaq), the developer and producer of solar cells and modules.  He has experience in managing crystal growth and...

Is The Big Win For The Liberals In Canada Also A Big Win For...

Jim Lane Liberals sweep to victory in Canada; Trudeau to become Prime Minister, pledging sharp increases in infrastructure investment and a renewed focus on clean technology. In Canada, the Liberal party, under the leadership of 43-year old Justin Trudeau, swept to victory in the Canadian federal elections. As of 6am Eastern time, the Liberals have won 184 seats 14 seats more than needed to form a majority government. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party won in 99 ridings, a loss of 60 seats, while the New Democratic Party has reeled in 44 seats, a...

YieldCo Bubble: The Aftermath

Readers may be interested in listening to this podcast. Where Stephen Lacey and Shayle Kann of GreenTechMedia speak with me about the current YieldCo landscape. Follow this link to The Interchange Podcast. -Tom Konrad, Editor

Chinese Government Bails Out Yingli, Sort Of

Doug Young  Bottom line: Yingli’s sudden repayment of 70 percent of a maturing bond shows the government may provide partial assistance for struggling solar panel makers, in an effort to engineer an orderly shut-down of these weaker companies. The story of China’s troubled solar panel sector has taken an unexpected twist, with word of a last-minute partial reprieve for Yingli (NYSE: YGE), one of the weakest major players that looked set to default on a large debt payment. The development came quite quickly and had a few unusual elements that hint strongly at government intervention. Yingli’s case is...

Blue Sphere To Start Biogas Commercial Operations

by Debra Fiakas CFA The Blue Sphere, Inc. (BLSP:  OTC/QB), stock price has weakened in recent months as investors registered their apparent frustration with fundamental developments.  Proposed acquisitions of operating biogas power plants in Italy have taken much longer than expected and majority interest in planned biogas plants in the U.S. were sold into joint venture arrangements rather than held as 100% equity positions.  Despite these developments, Blue Sphere management has doggedly moved forward on all fronts and there has been measurable progress toward first revenue. Commercial operation dates have been set for...

Holistic Approach Needed to Charge Up China EVs

Doug Young Bottom line: Beijing should take a more holistic approach to developing green cars in China, which should include education of owners and creation of owner communities in addition to financial incentives and infrastructure building. China made the latest new move to boost its sputtering electric vehicle (EV) program over the holiday, disclosing an ambitious plan to sharply accelerate installation of charging stations across the country. The plan was aimed at countering one of the biggest obstacles to EV development, namely concerns from potential owners about difficulties they might face recharging their vehicles. The new move...

BioAmber’s Sarnia Plant Operating At Commercial Scale

Jim Lane Ultra-secret yeast tech also exceeding expectations in yield, productivity and quality, BioAmber reports. Baby Sarnia checks in at 60 million pounds, no ounces, doing fine. In Canada, BioAmber’s (BIOA) Sarnia joint venture with Mitsui & Co. Ltd. has begun shipping bio-succinic acid to customers and is operating its manufacturing process at commercial scale, meeting a significant company milestone, the company said. Yeast biotechnology exceeds performance targets BioAmber has confirmed the performance of its proprietary yeast in the production fermenters in Sarnia. The fermentation performance achieved is significantly above the initial targets set for...

Schizophrenic Signals Surround Sino Solar Stocks Yingli, ReneSola And Jinko

Doug Young Bottom line: YIngli’s debt restructuring plan and ReneSola’s early debt repurchase will bring some confidence to solar shares, but pessimism will quickly return as their situations deteriorate without major signals of new government support. Shares of Yingli (NYSE: YGE) and ReneSola (NYSE: SOL) have taken investors on a wild ride these last few weeks, reflecting the alternating hopes and fears gripping 2 of the shakiest companies in a solar sector crippled by a downturn now entering its fourth year. If I were a betting man, I would say the chances are better than 80 percent...

Velocys: A Key To Advanced Biofuels At Scale

Jim Lane Four new technologies approach scaled operations, all with one element in common – Velocys (VLS.L) technology on the back-end. Why Velocys, why now? The Digest investigates. In Oklahoma, Southeast Oregon, Eastern Ohio, and a site near London we’re about to see the commercial-scale debut of Velocys technology, a smaller scale gas-to-liquids processing technology that converts natural gas or biomass into premium liquid products, such as diesel and jet fuel. In this case, specifically designed for smaller scales, resulting in standardized modular plants that are economic, easier to ship and faster to install, at lower risk,...

10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2015- September Performance

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Sorry I did not have time to write the usual monthly update article this weekend, but I hope to get to it in the next couple weeks. Until then, here is how the stocks were doing through the end of September (click for larger version): The recent market downturn continues to make my relatively conservative picks (especially the income stocks) generally outperform. For the year, the model portfolio is down only 6% in dollar terms compared to its clean energy benchmark, which is down 30%, and almost...