Understanding Manufacturing Economics for Grid-Scale Energy Storage

John Petersen I have a new favorite word AGGREGATION! At the risk of sounding like a reporter, I’m going to summarize a pre-holiday news story you might have missed but need to know about. In late November the PJM Interconnect, the largest of nine regional grid system operators in the US, announced that it had begun buying frequency regulation services from small-scale, behind the meter, demand response assets in Pennsylvania. The first resources brought on-line by PJM were variable speed pumps at a water treatment plant and a 500 kW industrial battery array...

The Sector Information Technology Forgot

Tom Konrad CFA Information technology has mostly passed the energy sector by... but for how long? Information Technology revolutionized the way we buy things (Amazon, eBay), how we get information (Google, Wikipedia, the decline of newspapers), and how we interact with out peers (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.)  Yet so far, it has had little, if any transformative impact on energy.  Tim Healy, CEO of EnerNOC (ENOC), the world's largest  third party provider of Demand Response to utilities and grid operators, thinks that's about to change. Demand Response (DR) began decades ago with Interruptible loads and Interruptible rates,...

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...

Equus: A Solar Inverter Play For Free!

Equus Total Return (NYSE: EQS) is a closed-end fund that trades at a 42% discount to its net asset value (NAV). The fund invests primarily in both debt and equity instruments of small-caps and private companies. Each quarter, management must report the fair value of its net assets, but the stock market value of Equus is much lower than that of its net assets. Here's a chart showing Equus' discount to its net assets for the last five years: As we can see, Equus is used to trading at a discount to its NAV, but...

Net Metering Is the Solar Industry’s Junk Food

Shoppers who bring reusable bags to the grocery store buy more junk food. This example is part of a growing body of behavioral psychology research showing that when we feel good about ourselves for doing one thing right, we give ourselves permission to be careless in other areas. The solar installation industry seems to be falling into the "reusable shopping bag" trap. Solar itself is the reusable shopping bag. The junk food is net metering. Net metering is a simple, intuitive way to pay for solar generation at retail rates. But it puts solar companies on...

Clean Energy Stocks Shopping List: Smart Grid and Strong Grid

My five favorite stocks with technology to improve grid reliability. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Although the market has risen above where it was in early June, when I said "We're near the top," I'm still bearish.  And I'm still making lists of stocks to buy when prices seem more favorable.  Previous articles in this Clean Energy Stocks Shopping List series are listed at the end of this one. The Strong Grid I recently wrote about our list of Smart Grid Stocks, and at least two readers were prompted to ask why wasn't (1) Beacon Power (BCON) on the...

The Best Peak Oil Investments Meet the Strong Grid: CVTech Group

Tom Konrad CFA CVTech Group (CVT.TO, CVTPF.PK) operates in two of my favorite clean energy sectors: electricity transmission and distribution and efficient vehicles.  Here is a look at the company's fundamentals. In "The Strongest Strong Grid Stocks" of my 2010: The Year of the Strong Grid? series, I took a quick look at CVTech Group's financial ratios, and decided not to look deeper because they had considerably more debt in comparison to income than the other electricity transmission ("strong grid") stocks I covered in that article.  I came across CVTech again while looking at companies involved in...

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...

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...

The Value of Net Metered Electricity in New York

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D. Net metering is unfair and is dangerous for the long term health of utilities, at least according to Raymond Wuslich, when he spoke at the 2015 Renewable Energy Conference in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Wustlich is an attorney and partner at Winston & Strawn, LLP., and advises clients across the electricity and natural gas industries on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) matters. To make his point, Wuslich used a simplified New York residential electric bill.  In this simplified bill, the customer was charged 12¢ per kWh for...
Electric bucket trucks for electric grid repair n Puerto Rico

List of Electric Grid Stocks

Electric grid stocks are publicly traded companies whose business involves electric infrastructure, including transmission, distribution, pricing, conversion, and regulation.  Includes the list of smart grid stocks. Advanced Energy Industries (AEIS) AMSC (AMSC) Avangrid, Inc. (AGR) AZZ Incorporated (AZZ) China Ruifeng Renewable Energy Holdings Ltd (0527.HK) Digi International (DGII) Echelon Corporation (ELON) EMCORE Group, Inc (EME) ESCO Technologies, Inc. (ESE) Fortis, Inc. (FTS, FTS.TO) General Cable (BGC) Hammond Power Solutions Inc. (HPS-A.TO, HMDPF) Hubbell, Inc. (HUB-B, HUB-A) InfraREIT, Inc. (HIFR) Itron (ITRI) Landis+Gyr Group AG (LAND.SW) MasTec Inc. (MTZ) MYR Group Inc. (MYRG) National Grid PLC (NGG) Prysmian S.P.A (PRI.MI, PRYMF) Quanta Services Inc (PWR) Red Electrica (RE21.SG, RDEIY) Schneider Electric (SU.PA, SBGSF, SBGSY) Siemens AG (SIE.DE, SIEGY) SMA Solar Technology (S92.DE) SolarEdge (SEDG) Stella Jones (STLJF) Superconducting...

AMSC’s “Secret Sauce” Starts to Simmer

Market Heats Up for Disruption-Resistant SuperconductorsBy Joyce Pellino CraneWhen electrical transmission cables and tree branches glisten in brilliant sunlight, drop your camera and run to the nearest hardware store for a generator. I learned this hard lesson in December after an ice storm left downed wires, branches and debris throughout several counties northwest of Boston and across six other northeastern states, leaving one million without electricity, some for as long as two weeks. It will be a long time before I forget what it’s like to wrap holiday presents by a smoky fire with gloves on. American Superconductor’s (AMSC:...

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...

The Case For Transmission, and Transmission Stock List

by Tom Konrad CFA We cannot choose between transmission and renewable distributed electricity.  Local renewable generation requires long distance transmission to even out variations of supply.  Hence, both advocates of distributed renewables and large wind and solar farms should support transmission improvements.  Here are a few stocks which should benefit from such investments. Shortly after I launched Clean Energy Wonk, Blogger took the site down because I made the mistake of including both the words "Cheap" and "Free" in the title of an article about Energy Efficiency.  Since it can apparently take up to 2 months for a human...

How to Invest in the Pickens Plan

A friend recently asked me how to invest in the Pickens Plan.  I named a stock (see below). He then surprised me by saying "You are the fifth person I've asked, and no one else knew how.  Several said it could not be done." You can invest in T. Boone Pickens's plan.  Here's how: The Plan T. Boone's plan is both simple and audacious.   We will build wind farms all over the Great Plains. Build the necessary transmission to get that electricity to cities, displacing natural gas used in electricity generation for the use in automobiles.   This will...

2010: The Year of the Strong Grid?

Part I: With Smart Grid Brains and Transmission Brawn... Tom Konrad, CFA A robust national grid will be essential to achieving high penetration for renewable electricity at reasonable cost, and the companies that can help build it are an essential part of a clean energy portfolio.   Many renewable energy advocates, especially those enchanted by the gigantic potential for solar, think that we can get by with local renewable energy.  While it's a pretty vision, the timing of wind and solar (the only forms of renewable energy that have the potential to produce 100% of our electricity) mean that this...