Monthly Archives: February 2017

Will Trump Bump, Thump, Or Dump The Renewable Fuel Pump?

Jim Lane  “Trump Reiterates Support for Ethanol, RFS” is the major headline to come out of the National Ethanol Conference in San Diego, which is the Renewable Fuels Association’s annual conflab and as usual produced a flurry of studies, keynotes and statements on the viability and importance of US ethanol to everything from American jobs to advanced American manufacturing. The Trump headline came out of a letter sent to the delegates to the event by President Trump which itself is a hopeful sign of support. But did the President really offer support for the Renewable Fuel Standard?...

An In Depth Guide To Buying and Installing a Home Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Most plug-in vehicles (both pure electric and plug-in hybrids) come with a "level 1" charging station which allows the vehicle to be charged from a standard household outlet.  If your vehicle is a plug-in hybrid with limited electric range, or you don't drive much, this is likely all you will need.  Otherwise, you will want a "level 2" charging station.  If you are a do-it-yourself-er and like to get into the nitty-gritty, you should read the whole article.  If you just want some quick advice about the best charging station for you, skip...

Alterra Power: Deep Geothermal

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week, one of the leaders in a development consortium, Iceland’s largest privately owned energy generator HS Orka hf, announced the completion of a project to prove the merits of deeper geothermal wells.  The project in the Reykjanes Peninsula in southern Iceland reached 4,659 meters depth in January 2017, where temperatures measured 427 degrees Centigrade and fluid pressure was 340 bars.  By all accounts the project was successful, suggesting that deep wells could a cost effective approach to geothermal energy. The drilling program was mentioned in early December 2015 a recent post “Hot...

A Better Battery Or Bust

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last month BioSolar (BSRC:  OTC/PK) reported positive test results for its proprietary energy storage technology.  The company is developing an alternative anode material for lithium ion batteries using silicon-carbon materials.  BioSolar’s engineers are targeting dramatic improvement in anode performance and equally impressive reductions in cost.  If they are successful, it could mean longer lithium ion battery life, greater capacity and shorter charging time  -  the dreams of every manufacturer with an electronic product. Most lithium ion batteries rely on graphite for the battery anode.  However, silicon anodes could offer as much as ten...

Why We Can’t Take Our Eyes Off Gevo

Jim Lane  So, feel the bioeconomy backbeat and let the music flow. AY-YI YI-YA AAAY, Gevo (GEVO) just can’t stop dancin’. (Whoops, that was Becky G‘s Can’t Stop Dancin’, not Gevo’s.) But there’s something so cool in that technology that we can’t take our eyes off the company and its progress, even though looking at the balance sheet can feel like watching a car crash in slow motion. This week, Gevo executed a series of moves including signing up its first direct customer for hydrocarbons for the proposed expansion of its Luverne, Minnesota plant. The highlight was a...

Bioplastics Maker Avantium’s IPO Plans

Jim Lane Here’s our 10-minute version of the filing, slightly re-organized to make sense to Earthlings instead of aliens from the Planet Prospectus. In the Netherlands, bioplastics maker Avantium is planning an initial public offering and listing of all shares on Euronext Amsterdam and Euronext Brussels. The company expects to raise up to €100 million (USD$106 million) and complete the offering by the end of the current quarter. More than half of the offering has already been secured via commitments from cornerstone investors. Avantium’s YXY technology converts plant-based sugar into chemicals and plastics, including 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, a precursor...

The Republican-Proposed Carbon Tax

by Noah Kaufman A group of prominent conservative Republicansincluding former Secretary of State James Baker III, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Walmart Chairman Rob Waltonmet with key members of the Trump administration on Wednesday about their proposal to tax carbon dioxide emissions and return the proceeds to the American people. Such an economy-wide tax on carbon dioxide could enable the United States to achieve its international emissions targets with better economic outcomes than under a purely regulatory approach. Attributes of the Republican Carbon Tax Proposal While the details on the...

What Good Is Shareholder Advocacy?

By Marc Gunther.  Last week, ExxonMobil added Susan Avery, a physicist, atmospheric scientist and former president of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutions, to its board of directors. Shareholder advocates, led by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), which has been organizing shareholder campaigns at ExxonMobil for nearly two decades yes, two decades welcomed the appointment. Tim Smith, the director of environmental, social and governance (ESG) shareowner engagement at Walden Asset Management, said in a news release: “This action by the board is encouraging for shareowners and we want to commend Exxon for this prudent and...

The Trump Trade

by Garvin Jabusch The first two weeks under the Trump administration have been a shock to the system. With the change in administration, how will you approach your stock portfolio(s)? For starters, your fundamentals should remain unchanged. For me, that means looking for great companies in expanding markets that are enabling long-term economic growth, and reducing systemic risks. Of course, this also means buying these stocks at low valuations. Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett were right about ‘wonderful companies at fair prices.’ That is never going to change. With that said, let’s look at what has changed and...

Broadwind Catches a Breeze

by Debra Fiakas CFA Two weeks ago wind tower builder Broadwind Energy (BWEN:  Nasdaq) announced $28 million in new orders.  Plans are to deliver all the towers within the year, giving a nice boost to the top-line for a company that recorded $170.3 million in sales over the last reported twelve months, well below the same period the year before.  In addition to wind towers, the company produces gearing mechanisms used in the oil, gas and mining industries.  Unfortunately, demand from these customers has been weak in recent periods. The company has had some difficulty in establishing...

What Happened To Solar In 2016, And What To Expect In 2017

by Shawn Kravetz, Esplanade Capital What happened to solar industry fundamentals in 2016? Global demand shattered records growing ~40% to ~80 GW The U.S. grew ~75% to ~14 GW with solar accounting for 40-50% of new generation capacity in 2016 (vs. close to 0% in 2004 when Esplanade started investing in solar.) China installed 34 GW, a massive but volatile figure with record H1 installations giving way to an air pocket in the third quarter followed by a fourth quarter rebound Solar now competes against natural gas, coal, and other wholesale electricity sources not...

Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2017: January Jump

Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA The year got off to a spectacular start for my tenth annual Ten Clean Energy Stocks model portfolio. (You can read about the performance in 2016 and prior years here.)  The portfolio and its income and growth subportfolios were up 9%, 8%, and 14%, respectively.  Clean energy stocks in general also did well, with my three respective benchmarks up 2 to 3% each.  (I use the YieldCo ETF YLCO as a benchmark for the income stocks, the Clean Energy ETF PBW as a benchmark for the...

Climate Bonds 2016 Highlights

by the Climate Bonds Team A record year with green bond issuance of USD 81bn, up 92% on 2015 figures The Trends A maturing of the green bonds market, diversification across issuers, products and use of proceeds are the main trends identified in our Green Bonds Highlights 2016 summary. The Big Numbers 92% – growth on 2015 making 2016 the most prolific year to date USD 11.8bn – November issuance, the largest month on record 24 – number of countries with green bond issuers 27% – proportion of Chinese issuers 241 – number of labelled green bonds issued (median size USD133.7m) >90 – number of new issuers >50 – number...