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:...

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...

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...
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,...

Is the New Smart Grid ETF GRID All That Smart?

Tom Konrad, CFA First Trust Launched a Grid Infrastructure Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) on November 17th.  Although the First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge Smart Grid Infrastructure Index Fund (Nasdaq: GRID) is labeled a "Smart Grid" ETF to capture popular excitement around smart grid technology, it covers the whole grid infrastructure sector.  This broader focus is good for clean energy investors. I've been an advocate of investing in electric transmission and smart gird stocks since early 2007, and for almost a year now, a regular reader has been telling me to create a transmission ETF so he can buy...

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...

Is AMSC Ready to Get Back to the Future?

Last week a jury found in favor of the United States government in a suit brought in 2013 by the Obama Administration against the Chinese wind turbine producer, Sinovel Wind Group (601558:  Shanghai).  Sinovel was found guilty of stealing technology from American Superconductor (AMSC:  Nasdaq) that had supplied Sinovel with converter hardware and software solutions.  Sinovel may have to pay hefty fines when the final sentencing step is completed in June 2018. American Superconductor (now called AMSC) had already brought a private suit against Sinovel in China two years before the Justice Department filed its case.  The China court dismissed the case for lack of...

Moving Microgrids Beyond R&D

by Joe McCabe Where is the money in microgrids? My goal at this years Intersolar event was to try and answer this question; to figure out the value proposition of microgrids as they relate to distributed generation, storage, renewable energy and photovoltaics.  A microgrid is an electrical supply and use system that can operate autonomously. Although all microgrids are small relative to the electric grid as a whole, the huge size of the grid leaves a broad range of what can count as “micro.”  Microgrids can be as small as a single building, but range on...

Smart Grid’s Expected 250% 5-Yr Growth Rate is Great News for Cisco, IBM, Accenture,...

Bill Paul Lux Research forecast last week that the global smart grid market will grow some 250% over the next five years, reaching nearly $16 billion by 2015 compared with today’s $4.5 billion. Interestingly, Lux further forecast that only a few select firms will take full advantage of this looming largesse. It’s understandable why the payoff won’t be widely shared. As regulated entities (on the transmission and distribution side), electric utilities have an obligation (specifically, the time-honored “obligation to serve”) that effectively requires that they be conservative when partnering with IT firms that can provide the money-saving,...

Transmission Stocks: Bringing Wind Power to Where it’s Needed

Last week, Charles told us to expect wind power industry suppliers to benefit from shortages in wind turbine components. Owens Corning (NYSE:OC) which I mentioned in my Blue Chip Alternative Energy Portfolio fits nicely into this category with their composites for turbine blades, as do the power converter stocks I mentioned two weeks ago. As essential to wind power as any of these is improved power transmission. The National Wind Coordinating Collaborative states, Electrical transmission facilities connecting windy areas and load centers are sometimes non-existent or minimal. Even in cases where a good wind resource has...

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...

Playing the ‘Global Grid Game’ – Japan’s NGK, GE Majority-Owned Indo Tech Look Strong

Maintaining and expanding the world's electric power grids in order to avoid stupendous blackouts, add gigawatts of green power, and bring electricity to a billion additional people, will cost hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years. Retrofitting just the U.S. power grid will cost $130 billion, estimates the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). China has earmarked $135 billion to upgrade and expand its high-voltage grid. India will need to spend billions if it has any hope of reaching its goal of increasing electrical generation capacity to 200 GW by 2012 from roughly 150 GW currently. Among...

Energy Infrastructure Construction Made Easy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Electric power companies need plenty of generating plants and distribution works to bring electricity to our doors.  Electric utilities are very good at generating electricity and managing relationships with the families and businesses that use the power, but building all that infrastructure  -  drawing up plans, hauling in materials and fastening girders  -  is not necessarily a power company’s strong suit.  Enter Quanta, Inc. (PWR:  NYSE) with a full menu of design, engineering and construction services for electricity generation and distribution infrastructure. Solving problems for electric utilities is good business for Quanta.  The...

Digital Electrification: Less Waste, More Capacity

One potentially huge contributor to decarbonization of the economy could come from dramatic efficiency gains obtainable from digitally improving the power quality of electricity, as it is being generated, transmitted & being consumed.   The enabling technology is emerging from developments in computing that is associated with the Internet of Things (IOT). DOE estimates indicate that approximately 38.2 quads of electricity are produced, from all sources, but that 25.3 quads, or 66.2% is deemed “Rejected Energy”, so only 33.8% of generated electricity is actually being used.  Within that 66% a distinction is recognized between “Losses” & “Waste”: Loss is non-recoverable, I2R...

2010: The Year of the Strong Grid? Part IV: General Cable

Tom Konrad, CFA General Cable (BGC) is a strong grid stock that's suddenly looking a lot cheaper.  Time to buy? General Cable is not only one of my Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2010, it was also holding it's own in my list of "strong grid" (that is, electricity transmission) stocks that have strong financials.  About 59% of the company's revenues come from what I would consider "strong grid" markets: their "electrical utility" and "electrical transmission" segments.  I published the most recent version of that list on February 11.  In both these articles I cautioned that I...

EnerNOC Broadens Scope in Smart Grid Sector

Demand Responder Eyes New Growth Areas as Key Market Prices Dip  by Joyce Pellino CraneEnerNOC, Inc., announced its acquisition of Cogent Energy, Inc., on December 9, signaling a strategic move into the energy efficiency sector that is designed to help it capitalize on the Smart Grid’s growth potential.But the company was launched in 2004 as one solution to the country’s burgeoning demand for energy, and has grown into a leader among a handful of competitors in the demand response market.  Boston-based EnerNOC (Nasdaq: ENOC) helps businesses and grid operators reduce electricity consumption when demand is peaking and capacity strained. The...