Advanced Energy: Bargain Green Stock Turns Around

by Debra Fiakas CFA Everybody likes a bargain.  Investors really like a good cheap buy.  A review of our four alternative energy industries revealed three stocks trading below industry average multiples of forecasted earnings. This is the final article in the series, the first looked at Ormat (ORA:NYSE), and the second looked at Kadant (KAI:NYSE).    The first week in November 2014, could have been a turning point for trading in shares of Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (AEIS:  Nasdaq).  The company reported flat sales in the quarter ending September 2014, compared to the same quarter last...

Are Solar PV and Wind Incompatible with Nuclear and IGCC?

Paul Denholm, a Senior Analyst at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), sees an upcoming struggle between renewable sources of electricity such as photovoltaics (PV) and wind with low-carbon baseload alternatives for space on the low carbon grid of the future.  These baseload alternatives are nuclear and Internal Gasification Combined Cycle coal plants with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (IGCC w/ CCS, refereed to by advocates as "Clean Coal). This may come as a shock to advocates of the idea that Global Warming is such a big problem that we will need all forms of low carbon electricity, because the...

2010: The Year of the Strong Grid? Part VI: Will the Real Strong Grid...

Tom Konrad, CFA For clean electricity to flourish, the electric grid needs not only to be smarter, but more robust.  This is where my strong grid stocks come in.  But stringing wires for power is a lot like stringing wires for telecommunications as well a large number of other businesses which do not have much to do with the energy trends I hope will boost the long term prospect of these companies.  Knowing how much these companies earn from grid infrastructure helps predict how much they will benefit from the trend. Unlike many of the financial statistics...

Strong Grid Stocks Getting Stronger

Will 2012 Finally be the Year of the Strong Grid? Tom Konrad CFA Utility infrastructure companies are seeing the beginnings of the long-anticipated infrastructure boom, and have the rising revenues and backlog to prove it. Investing in electric utility infrastructure has long been one of my favored ways to invest in the growing renewable energy sector without having to take a bet on unproven technology.  The North American grid is in badly in need of an upgrade, and increasing penetration of variable and distributed resources such as solar and wind will require further upgrades in order to...

The Ontario Green Energy Act: What Can Alt Energy Legislations Do For Investors

Dedicated legislations have been at the core of some of the most impressive regional growth stories in alternative energy, most notably in Germany with the Renewable Energy Sources Act or in California with the various legislative solar initiatives. On Monday, the Canadian province of Ontario became the latest jurisdiction to join the fray as lawmakers introduced the Green Energy and Green Economy Act. Why should investors care? Because such legislations have been at the core of some of the most impressive regional growth stories in alternative energy.  As a bit of a backgrounder on Ontario, there...

Inexpensive Grid Stability Solutions

Tom Konrad, CFA With all the discussion of grid based energy storage for renewable energy integration, the two cheapest and most mature solutions are overlooked.  They are also the solutions most often overlooked by investors captivated by the story of clean technology. A few years ago, I put together some graphs to show this as dramatically as possible.  I surveyed the available data on energy storage and other grid integration technologies for the costs of existing installations, and calculated average cost per installed kW (power), per installed kWh (energy) and round trip efficiency (the percent of energy...

Demand Planning: The Future of Demand Side Management

Electric utilities have a process by which they project future expected demand for electricity, and then find resources, either new electric generation or energy efficiency (Demand Side Management, or DSM) resources to meet that expected demand, or reduce that demand.  Progressive utilities and utility regulators now include DSM among the mix of resources as a matter of course.  According to Martin Kushler, of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) who spoke at the Southwest Regional Energy Efficiency Workshop about an upcoming report from ACEEE, DSM resources cost an average of 3 cents per kWh of energy...

2010: The Year of the Strong Grid? Part III

Two Strong Grid Stocks in Hiding Tom Konrad, CFA A look at two transmission (or "Strong Grid") stocks I missed previously: EMCORE Group and AZZ Incorporated. In part I of this series, I made the case that 2010 might be the year that transmission stocks caught investors' attention, as smart grid stocks did in 2009.  In part II, I looked at the transmission stocks in our Electric Grid stock list, and compared their financial strength.  My initial screen, based on Current ratio, Cash on Hand, Debt, Cash from Operations, P/E ratio, and dividend yeild allowed...

The Grid Impacts of Net Metering

Net metering describes the requirement that an electric utility buy electricity from any of its customers that generate their own electricity (usually with some sort of renewable energy, such as solar or wind) at the same price that they sell it to the customer.  That seems fair, doesn't it? The Utility Perspective It doesn't seem fair to the utility.  Utilities do more than just generate and sell electricity to customers.  They also are responsible for transmission (delivering the electricity) and reliability (making sure that the lights work when you flip the switch.) Taking just the reliability requirement, suppose that...
grid storage diagram

Energy Storage as Transmission Explained

by Blackridge Research The latest trend is that power transmission companies around the world are increasingly looking at energy storage technology to defer or replace transmission system upgrades. How this works is energy storage is placed along a transmission line and operated to inject or absorb power, mimicking transmission line flows. Going with names like “virtual transmission” in Australia and “GridBooster” in Germany, projects totaling over 3 GW of capacity are poised to increase system efficiency and reliability across the world. Storage as transmission offers an array of benefits over traditional transmission infrastructure. They are faster to deploy, have smaller footprint,...

Grid-scale Energy Storage: Lux Predicts $113.5 Billion in Global Demand by 2017

John Petersen Last month Lux Research released a bottom-up evaluation of the cost effectiveness of eight energy storage technologies in six grid-scale applications throughout 44 countries, including all 50 U.S. states. Their report titled "Grid Storage under the Microscope: Using Local Knowledge to Forecast Global Demand" predicts that annual global demand for grid-scale energy storage will reach an astounding 185.4 gigawatt-hours (GWh) by 2017 and represent a $113.5 billion incremental revenue opportunity for an industry that currently generates sales of $50 to $60 billion a year. In the grid-scale sector alone, Lux predicts an average...

Wind and Heat Pumps: A Winning Combination

This article has been cross-posted on The Oil Drum. Last month, I brought you some nice maps showing when and where good wind resources are found in the US.  Now I've found something better: a visual comparison of electrical load with wind farm production, published by the Western Area Power Administration in 2006.  The study compared electricity production from five wind farms in Northern Colorado, Southwestern Nebraska, and Central Wyoming in 2004, 2005, and the start of 2006, compared with electricity consumption in the same area over the same time period. Comparison of Wind Production to...

EESAT And Energy Storage Opportunities On The Smart Grid

John Petersen Last week I appeared as a luncheon speaker at EESAT 2009, a biennial international technical conference sponsored by the DOE, Sandia National Laboratories and the Electricity Storage Association that focuses on storage technologies for utility applications. The conference included dozens of high-level technical presentations from storage technology developers and was far and away the best-organized event I've ever attended. The only notable absence was a large contingent of buyers, which left some participants wondering whether they were preaching to the choir. Nevertheless, I was encouraged by rapid growth in the number and size of utility-scale demonstration...

Geothermal Transmission 101

Paul Schwabe Among renewable resources, one of the most valuable attributes of geothermal electricity is the baseload characteristic of the energy resource. That is, geothermal electricity generators are able to deliver a stable level of power production over time. Yet for better or worse, this baseload characteristicalong with other notable factors such as size constraints and varying market segmentsreveals that interconnecting a geothermal plant to a transmission or distribution system poses unique challenges compared to other renewable energy technologies . A recent report by NREL, "Geothermal Power and Interconnection: The Economics of Getting to the Market," delves...

Wise Energy Use Stocks, Part 6: Smartgrid Pioneers

Companies taking steps towards the Smart Grid: Xcel Energy, Duke Energy, Whirlpool, Samsung Electronics, and Freescale Semiconductor.

PowerSecure on a Solar Roll

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week PowerSecure International (POWR:  Nasdaq) announced the award of orders valued at $100 million for new solar projects.  About 15% of the work will be completed in the final quarter of this year and the rest of the revenue will be recorded in 2016.  The announcement sent investors into a tizzy.  PowerSecure reported $283.4 million in total sales for the twelve months ending March 2015, primarily for solar power infrastructure and smart grid technology destined for electric utilities and microgrids.  Securing orders equivalent to 35% of its current revenue run rate...