Monthly Archives: June 2016

How Economics Finally Brought Community Solar to IREA

by Joseph McCabe, PE My uber-conservative utility, Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) has been against solar since before I moved into the service territory in 2007.  IREA's long-serving general manager, Stanley Lewandowski Jr., would include climate change denial leaflets in the envelope along with the monthly electric bills. Now he is gone, and attitudes seem to be changing towards solar. With a new general manager, a couple of forward thinking board of directors and a handful of active IREA owners/members the solar landscape has changed and now includes a large solar project. Currently IREA...

Amryris: Zombie With Attitude

Jim Lane Zombies with attitude. New partnerships for making magic molecules and exploitin’ the heck out of ’em. These days, nothing in Hollywood beats a great zombie movie, more than 50 have been released in recent years. Zombies rise from the dead, and change everything around them. It’s not always pretty, or predictable, but they’re a disruptive force. Well, Amyris (AMRS) is proving to be a zombie story these days starting with being labeled a “zombie company” by The Motley Fool. TMF writes: Amyris was a pioneering industrial biotech that went from darling of the field to a company now trading well...

Trex: While The Sun Shines

by Debra Fiakas CFA It appears to be the ‘summer of the small-cap’ as performance in the sector outpaces other sectors on the first day of summer 2016.  In keeping with the adage “make hay while the sun shines”, we shifted into a higher gear to find promising small companies that might participate in the small-cap renaissance.  Trex Company (TREX:  Nasdaq) bubbled to the top of a couple different screens based on growth and return.  There is much to like in a company delivering strong growth.  A bargain price is just icing on the cake.  With a ratio...

Tesla Considering Shanghai For New China Plant

Doug Young  Bottom line: Tesla will announce a joint venture production facility in Shanghai within the next 1-2 months, and could see its China sales pick up sharply after its more affordable Model 3 reaches the market next year. Just a week after Disney (NYSE: DIS) launched its newest theme park in Shanghai, media are saying that new energy car superstar Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) is also eyeing China’s commercial capital as the location for a new production base costing up to $9 billion. We should note from the start that the potential partner mentioned in the reports, the Shanghai...

Capstone Turbine: Not a Pretty Picture

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week microturbine manufacturer Capstone Turbine (CPST:  Nasdaq) reported financial results for the final quarter of its fiscal year ending March 2016.  Sales were $18.9 million in the quarter, bringing total sales for the year to $85.2 million.  FY2016 sales shrank 26.2% from the prior fiscal year for the second year in a row.  Some shareholders may be taking solace in the FY2016 net loss of $25.2 million or $1.39 per share in that it is an improvement over the even deeper loss in the year before.  That does not necessarily mean that operating...

Green Plains Primes The Pump

by Debra Fiakas CFA Ethanol producer Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. (GPRE:  Nasdaq) announced today plans to build a fuel terminal point in Beaumont, Texas.  The terminal will be located at a facility owned by Green Plains’ partner in the venture, Jefferson Gulf Coast Energy Partners.    It will be helpful to have a friend in the project that is expected to cost $55 million to complete just ethanol storage and throughput capacity.  Planned storage capacity is equivalent to 500,000 barrels, with the potential to expand to 1.0 million barrels.  Capacity to handle biofuels or other...

Fossil Fuel Companies Should Be Issuing Green Bonds

by the Climate Bonds Team      ‘Fossil fuel companies should not be issuing green bonds because they are not green businesses.’ Varying versions of this statement crops up often at green bond conferences and in articles. We disagree, and here is why: It’s use of proceeds that matter Green bonds are about use of proceeds. What matters is the green characteristics and features of the projects that are being invested in, the ‘use of proceeds’, not the balance sheet backing the bond. This is an accepted concept in the green bond market...

DAR the Rins Blow!

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week the management of  Darling Ingredients (DAR:  NYSE) staged a webinar on its opportunities in biofuels.  Darling produces biodiesel in Kentucky and Canada and is in a renewable diesel joint venture with Valero Energy (VLO:  NYSE) in Louisiana.  As a recycler of wastes and excess from the food production processes, the production of energy with organic feedstock is a logical extension of Darling’s collection and aggregation infrastructure. The event did not do much for Darling’s share price, but the presentation triggered a few questions about RINs  -  shorthand for...

High Income Green Investing For Small Investors

Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Until recently, green income investing was an oxymoron. Most companies people think of as green (think Tesla Motors (TSLA) or First Solar (FSLR)) are relatively new companies that are investing all of their profits (such as they are) back into the business.  Meanwhile traditional income sectors like utilities, oil and gas, and coal mining are deeply tied into fossil fuels.  Real Estate Income Trusts (REITs) are the sole exception.  A REIT is as green as the property it owns, and a few such companies are real leaders in sustainable buildings......

Ocean Power Nets A Discerning Buyer

by Debra Fiakas CFA Earlier this week shares of Ocean Power Technologies (OPTT:  Nasdaq) soared as the company announced its first commercial order for its PowerBuoy hydrokinetic devices.  The order represents a modest $975,000 in potential revenue, but the customer, Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., provides extra value as a discerning buyer.  PowerBuoys are built to capture the energy in ocean waves to drive an electrical generator.  Power output can be delivered to nearby ocean or terrestrial installations.  With worldwide interests in the numerous marine markets, Mitsui could develop into a large and long-standing customer. OPTT...

Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2016: Earnings Season

Tom Konrad CFA May was a tough month for most clean energy stocks, even though the broad market was up slightly, but my Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2016 model portfolio continued to out-perform, mostly because of strong earnings for several stocks.  The model portfolio was up 3.1% for the month and 3.8% for the year to date, even though its clean energy benchmark fell 2.0%, for a decline of 2.8% for the year through May 31st.  The broad market of small cap stocks also rose, and was up 2.2% for a total gain of 2.4% for the...