How Energy Deregulation Affects States and Stocks

by Elaine Thompson Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in an executive summary of its New Energy Outlook 2017 report, predicts renewable energy sources will represent almost three-quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power-generating technology. Analysts outline several reasons for this increase in spending, such as the decreasing costs of wind and solar and consumers’ increasing interest in solar panels. Competition between power sources also continues to grow, with products like utility-scale batteries upsetting coal and natural gas’s roles in the marketplace. But more importantly, state-driven renewable portfolio standards pave the way for additional ventures in renewable energy technologies, particularly...

Is Ruggedcom, Inc. as Solid as its Networks?

Tom Konrad, CFA Our recent article on Ruggedcom's (RUGGF.PK, RMC.TO) technology for a smart grid that's also robust against a number of threats such as cyberterrorism and electromagnetic pulses prompted a long-time reader to ask if we also think it's a good investment at these prices. Good question.  As outlined in the article, Ruggedcom, Inc. has a robust business providing ruggedized routers for mission-critical networks, including electric utilities growing smart grids.  But not every great business is also a great stock. What Makes a Great Stock There are several things I look for in a great stock, and a...

Keynes Meets Carson, And How You Can Invest It (Part 1)

I'm not sure whether John Maynard Keynes, the father of Keynesian economics and an ardent proponent of government interventionism during hard economic times, and Rachel Carson, the mother of modern environmentalism and the author whose work is credited for the eventual creation of the EPA, ever met during their lifetimes. But if current voter sentiment holds until November 4, their ideas could soon converge and form the basis of government policy for at least the next four years. Let me explain. First, John Maynard Keynes. There is no doubt that the deliberate and coordinated nationalization of financial services...

Ten Solid, Clean Companies Ready For Stimulus, and Five That Aren’t

by Tom Konrad Last February, I wrote " I expect the Fed-induced reprieve to be fairly short lived, ten solid companies I'd be happy to buy more of if and when the bottom really falls out of the market."  When I wrote those words, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was over 12,700.  Now, it's around 8,500, and I doubt anyone remembers the "Fed-induced reprieve" I was referring to.  The "bottom fell out" in September and October.    On October 12, with the DJIA at 8451, I wrote "I don’t know where the market will go from here, but I...

Congress Approves Billions in Energy Storage Incentives

On Friday, the House of Representatives and Senate passed H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and sent the bill to President Obama for his signature. The impact on companies that manufacture advanced batteries and other energy storage devices will be staggering. The principal energy storage appropriations include: $2,000,000,000 for grants to manufacturers of advanced battery systems and vehicle batteries that are produced in the United States, including advanced lithium ion batteries, hybrid electrical systems, component manufacturers, and software designers;  $4,500,000,000 for grants for “Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability” including activities to modernize the electric...

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...

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...
Smart meter for smart grid applications

List of Smart Grid Stocks

Smart grid stocks are publicly traded companies that use or enable information technology to operate the electric grid more efficiently.  They are also included in the list of electric grid stocks. Advanced Energy Industries (AEIS) AMSC (AMSC) Arrow Electronics (ARW) Digi International (DGII) Echelon Corporation (ELON) EnSync, Inc. (ESNC) ESCO Technologies, Inc. (ESE) Itron (ITRI) Landis+Gyr Group AG (LAND.SW) Schneider Electric (SU.PA, SBGSF, SBGSY) SMA Solar Technology (S92.DE) SolarEdge (SEDG) Superconducting Technologies, Inc. (SCON) If you know of any smart grid stock that is not listed here and should be, please let us know by leaving a comment. Also for stocks in the list that you think should be removed.  

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

Ten Solid Clean Energy Companies to Buy on the Cheap: #2 National Grid (NGG)

Like Quanta Services, (#8 in this series), National Grid PLC (NYSE:NGG) allows investors to participate in the massive build out of electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure necessitated by years of neglect and the growing need to decarbonize our electric infrastructure.  See the article linked above for more detail on these two forces driving the sector. Having its origins in British electricity deregulation in the 1990s, Nation Grid is a regulated utility in Britain and the United States, and operates high pressure gas pipelines and high voltage transmission in Britain, and electricity transmission and natural gas distribution in the Northeastern...