ABB: Improving Transmission and Distribution Efficiency

Diamond in the Rough Alternative energy stocks are usually exciting, development stage companies with break-through technology which just might to totally transform the way we live.  Unfortunately, that's a better description of a speculative lottery ticket style company than a solid investment which will provide solid, long-term capital gains.  So it's always a pleasure to find a company whose products are so commonplace that we don't even notice them, even when we see them every day, and yet is involved in essential work to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.  I took this picture in...

Grid-based Energy Storage: Widely Misunderstood Challenges and Opportunities

John Petersen The most widely misunderstood subject in the field of energy storage is the potential for grid-based applications. They fire the imagination because the grid is so pervasive and the need is so great. They also present immense challenges to storage technology developers because the fundamental economic value per unit of grid-based energy storage is very low. While the subject of grid-based storage provides rich fodder for media reports and political posturing, the reality bears little relation to the perception. On March 9th, Lux Research published a sorely needed reality check in a new report titled "Grid...

Hidden Gems? Why Green Investors Should Look at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Ener1

Part 2 of 2 Bill Paul Neither Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd., which trades OTC under the symbol DWOTF, nor Ener1 Inc., which trades on NASDAQ under the symbol HEV, is an obvious candidate for having hidden potential. Heck, Daewoo isn’t even a green energy stock. Or is it? Lost in the hubbub of Copenhagen and Congress, there’s been important news about both these companies that strongly suggests – at least to me – that each has plenty of undiscovered potential that will really start paying off over the next 18 to 24...

Democratizing the Grid

by Daryl Roberts In a previous article I investigated the question of whether private sector capital was being stimulated sufficiently enough to build out renewable infrastructure on pace to reach climate goals.  I found that on the upper end, giant institutional funds were only mobilizing a tiny fraction of their total Assets Under Management, due to regulatory constraints and uncompetitive yields.  On the lower end, smaller scale funding seemed to be growing, with facilitation from intermediaries, fintech aggregation services, and increased access at lower levels to complicated derisking strategies. But I now find reporting that capital is over-mobilized, that solar may...

Powering Advanced Energy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Solar power producers have many challenges.  One is the direct current to alternating current dilemma.  Solar panels create power that flows one way in a direct current (DC).  We use electricity in our homes and businesses in alternating current (AC) that flows both directions, forward and backward.  So solar cell producers must use solar inverters that convert the electricity from the direct current in the solar panel into alternating current. This is where Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (AEIS:  Nasdaq) comes in. AEIS makes power inverters for the solar power industry.  The...

Smart Grid Stocks For The Obama Stimulus Package

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how a new Obama administration would renew with Keynesianism (i.e. large-scale counter-cyclical infrastructure spending) but with a green twist to: (a) get the US economy out of its funk and (b) propel America into the 21st Century by providing a massive push for its green industries. I discussed certain rail stocks and electric grid stocks that could benefit as a result. By-and-large, I've been right on both counts about the President-elect's strategy (i.e. Keynesian and green), but I did forget to mention an important part of the plan's focus:...

Storage: The Best Renewable Energy Integration Strategy?

Tom Konrad, Ph.D. In order to electrify transportation, well need batteries, with ultracapacitors and compressed air playing supporting roles.  Based on cost, John has been making the case that the batteries for economical cars are more likely to be advanced lead-acid (PbA) than the media darling, Lithium-ion (Li-ion.)  I generally agree, especially since recycling Li-ion batteries is an expensive and difficult process, although I see a future where both cars and oil are simply more expensive, and we have far fewer of them. But transportation is only one application for energy storage...

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...

Investment Ideas From the One-House Grid

In June, I wrote how intermittent power sources such as photovoltaics and wind would have to compete with baseload technologies such as IGCC "Clean Coal" and nuclear for capacity on the grid.  The key problem is that neither baseload technologies nor intermittent technologies are able to match themselves to the fluctuations of demand.  This creates a need for technologies which can fill the varying gaps between supply from these sources, and normal energy use.  From the comments, it seems like I was not completely clear how intermittent and baseload power cause problems for each other, so I will start...
Enphase M-Score

Hopping Off The Short Enphase Bandwagon

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Last week, I wrote that I'd taken a short position in Enphase Energy Inc. (ENPH). I have now closed out that position and don't intend to go short again. My decision to go short was based on four factors: I'm worried about risk in the overall market, and so am considering opportunistic short positions as a hedge. Prescience Point Capital Management released a report accusing Enphase of earnings manipulation. The report seemed well-researched from a purely accounting point of view. My favored indicator for avoiding companies which might be engaging in earnings manipulation, Beneish M-Score was...

Clean Energy Stocks Shopping List: Five Electricity Transmission Stocks

We may be headed into a renewed market slump.  If so, it will pay to wait before buying, but when the time does come to buy, here are 5 electric transmission stocks I have my eye on. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA On June 2, I wrote that I thought the market was near its peak.  That day, the S&P 500 closed at 944.74.  On June 12, it closed up 0.15% at 946.21, and has since trended down, currently trading down 5% as I write.  I expect further declines this year, either with the market heading straight down from here,...

Fending Cyber Threats with a Fortress

RuggedCom Fortifies the Smart Grid and Captures the Substation Market By Joyce Pellino Crane     I wonder how many utility executives lie awake at night worrying  about cyberthreats to their electricity substations.     If you’ve ever gone a few days without electricity in your home,  you’ll quickly realize how minimal life becomes.  Working on your computerthe speedway to higher thinking and creativity is impossible.     Watching television, charging your cell phone, keeping food frozen, and  micro-waving popcorn, can no longer be done. Every task requires  planning and, much more physical laborconsider what it would take  to wash and...

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...

Welcome To The New World

Perhaps ironically, it took one of the worst financial and economic crises of the past three decades to bring "the grid" into investor focus. To be sure, certain alt energy aficionados such as Tom have been on this topic for a long time (Tom is actually the one who introduced me to the grid as an investment theme). However, it is fair to say that most investors, including alt energy investors, have not historically paid the grid a huge deal of attention. That is because most people outside of alt energy and VC circles held, until recently, the Old...

Tribulations of a Meter Reader

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week Badger Meter (BMI:  NYSE) joined a building fraternity:  companies reporting strong year-over-year sales growth, but delivering weaker than expected earnings.  However, the Badger Meter actually increased earnings by a greater magnitude than it grew sales.  The Company reported $83.5 million in net sales, representing 16.3% growth over the same quarter last year.  Net income grew by 59.3% year-over-year to $4.6 million or $0.32 per share.  As impressive as these results appear to be, the consensus had been for earnings per share of $0.41.  The stock declined sharply as investor registered their displeasure...

Is Composite Technology Corporation Still a Buy?

by Tom Konrad When I asked, Alternative Energy Stocks readers overwhelmingly wanted me to take another look at Composite Technology Corp. (OTC BB:CPTC.OB)  I've discussed CPTC several times over the last year, and consider it my most speculative pick in electricity transmission and distribution.  True to the nature of a speculative stock with no current earnings which is still trying to establish markets for its products, the stock price has been all over the map. The reader interest is doubtless due to the recent sharp decline since mid January.  I personally sold a portion of...