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,...

The Light at the End of the Tunnel is Energy Efficient

The Solar Investment Tax Credit has been extended, and the market for mortgage debt "rescued," but neither renewable energy nor the rest of the economy are out of the woods.  We'll probably be feeling the effects of the financial imbalances which have built up in our economy for years to come. While the extension of the tax credit will help renewable energy technologies raise funding, the headwinds from the continued fallout of the structured finance and real estate bubble will be blowing in the other direction.  This will be a problem both for developers of new technologies, and...

The Value of Energy Efficiency

I've begun acting as a consultant to the Colorado Energy Efficiency Business Coalition (CEEBC) in a rulemaking docket for Demand Side Management (DSM) case before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC).  In the 2007 Legislative session, the Colorado legislature passed enabling legislation calling for utility-wide Demand Side Management programs for natural gas utilities.  To date, all DSM in Colorado has been focused on low income customers.  Crucially, the legislation allows for non-energy benefits, such as increased comfort, economic multiplier effects (i.e. jobs), and reduced volatility of energy costs be included in the evaluation of the benefits of programs. ...

Energy Recovery Offers Savings to Gas Industry

by Debra Fiakas CFA In early December 2014, Energy Recovery (ERII:  Nasdaq) staged an analyst and investor event in New York City principally to introduce its most recent technology innovation, VorTeq.  The product is a hydraulic fracturing solution for the gas industry.  Unlike its other products, the VorTeq is a colossal apparatus requiring a semi-tractor to transport it into place as a replacement for the ‘missiles’ now found at natural gas well sites. VorTeq Animation In the current configuration, high pressure pumps are used to drive a blend of fracturing sand, water and chemicals down into the well hole.  Pump components,...

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...

Distributed Energy Systems to Add $3.4 Million Cogeneration Power System to Transamerica Pyramid Building

Distributed Energy Systems Corp (DESC) has been awarded a $3.4 million contract by AEGON USA Realty Advisors. Under the agreement, they will install and commission a 1.1 megawatt (MW) combined heat and power (CHP) system for the landmark Transamerica Pyramid at 600 Montgomery Street in San Francisco, California. The 48-story building, managed by Lowe Enterprises, is known as the "Pyramid," and is located in the heart of San Francisco's financial district.

It’s Energy Efficiency, Stupid!

It's no longer breaking news, Deloitte released earlier this week the results of two surveys, one of state public utility regulators and one of residential electricity consumers (both PDF documents). Deloitte's interpretation of the results can be found here. The results have also been interpreted by two prominent alt energy/environmental blogs: the WSJ's Environmental Capital and Grist. The former argues that policy-makers and 'smart-money' are out of whack with the little guy, because the little guy simply isn't willing to pay for solutions to climate change out of his electricity bill. The latter, looking at the same data,...

LED Stocks Get Some Respect

Cree's Wild Ride On May 21, I noticed a big up-move in Cree, Inc. (CREE), a company I've been adding to most of my managed portfolios for the last year, at prices averaging around $18.  Checking recent news stories, I noted two articles on TheStreet.com which had recommended it over the weekend (as a beaten down stock and chart of the day.)  It turns out this was just the beginning of a feeding frenzy among the media which has gone on for the last couple weeks, bringing a lot of attention to what I call "the next compact fluorescent:"...

Waterfurnace 7 Series vs. Climatemaster Trilogy Geothermal Heat Pumps: The Best of the Best

UPDATE: I just looked into the 7 Series vs the Trilogy 40 in more detail here and came to a slightly different conclusion. Tom Konrad CFA Geothermal heat pump diagram via Bigstock Waterfurnace Renewable Energy (TSX:WFI, OTC:WFIFF) launched its new highly efficient 7 Series geothermal heat pumps (GHP) today.  The 7 Series commercial release beats Climatemaster’s (a division of LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU)) Trilogy 40 as the first commercially available GHP with a variable speed compressor.  The Trilogy 40 is currently available as part of a pilot program, and is expected to be commercially available...

Hannon Armstrong Declines to Raise Dividend, Sets 3 Year Guidance

Investors did not like Hannon Armstrong's (NYSE:HASI) fourth quarter earnings announcement last night.  While core earnings were a little weaker than expected, that is not what has the stock trading down 11% today.  What shocked investors is the fact that the company did not raise the dividend this year for the first time since the REIT went public, and it gave 3 year guidance which likely disappointed many investors. Last month, I wrote, I expect that Hannon Armstrong will continue to be a well run and conservative business in 2018, and that management will raise the dividend at the lower end...

Clean Energy Stocks Shopping List: Five Energy Efficiency Stocks

Stocks may be expensive now, but they won't be forever.  Five energy efficiency plays to buy when they're cheap again in efficient HVAC, desalination, thermal imaging, and lighting. Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA This article continues my Clean Energy Stocks Shopping List series.  In the first, I looked at five clean transport stocks I'll be looking to buy when the market falls.  In the second, I took a step back, and outlined why it makes sense to wait for better prices than to buy these companies now.  Here are five stocks I'll be looking to buy  in my all time...

Autodesk and the Future of Sustainable Design

Joel Makower If you start with the premise that many of the solutions to our global sustainability challenges require smart design and systems thinking, it doesn’t take long before you find your way to Autodesk (ADSK). The 29-year-old design software company has made a series of impressive moves into the sustainability realm over the past few years. It’s one of those largely unheralded companies creating the tools used by architects, designers, manufacturers, and most recently cleantech entrepreneurs to produce the next generation of greener, cleaner, more efficient products. Over the past year or so, I've had...

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...

Ten Solid Clean Energy Companies to Buy on the Cheap: #9 Koninklijke Philips Electronics...

Readers of this blog are well aware that I'm a fan for energy efficiency in general and efficient lighting in particular as good investments as more and more people and companies reduce their energy use in order to lower costs and green their image.  With the exception of niche players such as Cree and Lighting Science, efficient lighting is dominated by General Electric (GE), Osram Sylvania (a division of Siemens (SI)), and Koninklijke Philips (PHG.)   I'm a fan of all three of these companies, and both GE and Siemens are honorable mentions in this series. While Siemens and GE...

Recycler Priced for Recovery

by Debra Fiakas CFA Shares of Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCI:  Nasdaq) has trended downward over the last year, despite some strong fundamental progress in the company’s position the recycling sector.  The corporate name tells at least part of the company’s story.  Besides recycling appliances such as washers, dryers and refridgerators, ARC also sells new and like-new appliances right out of the box.  The company has eighteen stores branded ApplianceSmart across the country.  Services to electric utilities and other energy companies related to energy efficiency programs provide yet another revenue source. In the twelve months ending March 2017, ARC reported...

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:...