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,...

Ten Alternative Energy Speculations for 2008: LEDs and Ultracaps

Investing in Renewable Energy Stocks seldom fails to be exciting, although it can lead to crushing losses as well as mouthwatering gains (Think Ethanol stocks and Thin Film Solar in 2007.)  With this in mind, I usually emphasize that the majority of most investors portfolios should be targeted towards larger, profitable companies, especially those focused on Energy Efficiency rather than the more sexy Renewable Energy technologies.  This is the philosophy behind Alternative Energy Stocks' Blue Chip Portfolio: companies which aren't sexy, but which still are well positioned to take advantage of rising oil prices and increasing efforts to reduce...

NovX21: Urban Miner

by Debra Fiakas CFA There's Platinum in them catalytic converters. Mention platinum and most of us think about beautiful and expensive jewelry.  However, platinum can be found in the dullest of products.  Catalytic converters used in automobiles for emissions control represent about one-third of the demand for platinum. The devices attached to the rear of our cars uses a mix of previous metals to remove nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons from engine exhaust.  The catalytic converter on a typical car uses a gram or less of platinum,...

Book Review: Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World (Geothermal + Efficiency)

Charles Morand Last Thursday, I reviewed two chapters from the recently published book "Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World"*. This post reviews two more.  Geothermal Energy Alexander Richter, Glitnir Bank (now Íslandsbanki) Geothermal is one of the most interesting forms of clean power generation there is. As noted by the author, the most convincing argument for geothermal electricity is the fact that it operates at capacity factors in the upper 90s. This makes it the only renewable technology suitable for baseload power with the exception of dam-based (i.e. large-scale) hydro. However, as...

The Alternative Energy Fallacy

John Petersen In 2009, the world produced some 13.2 billion metric tons of hydrocarbons, or about 4,200 pounds for every man, woman and child on the planet. Burning those hydrocarbons poured roughly 31.3 billion metric tons of CO2 into our atmosphere. The basic premise of alternative energy is that widespread deployments of wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles will slash hydrocarbon consumption, reduce CO2 emissions and give us a cleaner, greener and healthier planet. That premise, however, is fatally flawed because our planet cannot produce enough non-ferrous industrial metals to make a meaningful difference and the prices...

Investors: Concentrate on This Alternative Energy Sector and You Should Make a Lot of...

Bill Paul For my money, energy efficiency (aka, the “fifth fuel”) is the best alternative energy sector for investors because it’s primarily about saving money, only secondarily about saving the planet. The energy services industry reportedly has grown by more than 20% per year every year since 2004 and efficiency service providers now pull in an estimated $5.6 billion a year just on U.S. commercial buildings. Pike Research says there is a reservoir of untapped projects worth $400 billion. “There’s this huge untapped potential” for energy efficiency, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson was recently quoted as saying....

Lighting Science Group Enters into Distribution Agreement for Its Low Bay Lights in Asia,...

Lighting Science Group Corp. (LSGP.OB) announced that it entered into an agreement with OptiLED Holdings Co. Ltd. ("OptiLED(TM)") for distribution of Lighting Science's Optimized Digital Lighting(TM) (ODL(TM)) Low Bay fixtures in the People's Republic of China (including the Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions), Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. The terms of the agreement include payment by OptiLED to Lighting Science of a royalty fee per unit sold within the countries covered by the agreement. The Low Bay LED fixtures replace a wide range of older, inefficient lighting technologies in many types of commercial, industrial, educational,...

Power Efficiency Corporation Announces Successful Tests at Boyd Gaming Corporation’s Sam’s Town Las Vegas

Power Efficiency Corporation (PEFF) announced that it completed successful tests on two escalators at the Sam's Town Las Vegas, one of the flagship properties of Boyd Gaming Corporation. These test show a 36% decrease in energy consumption for the electric motors. The results of these tests reinforce the drastic power cost reductions possible with Power Efficiency's products in commercial and industrial facilities. Equipment powered by electric motors that operate at constant speed, but have a variable load, are excellent candidates for energy savings with the Company's technology. This includes not only escalators and elevators, but also many types...

Energy Recovery Recovers Its Own Energy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Energy Recovery (ERII:  Nasdaq) has announced a breakthrough license of its hydraulic fracturing pump to oil and gas patch service provider Schlumberger (SLB:  NYSE).  Called the Vorteq by Energy Recovery, the pump features the company’s core pressure exchange technology, representing an entirely new approach to driving the chemical-laced water producers send deep into the earth to extract oil and gas.  Energy Recovery develops and markets components and equipment for fluid flow and pressure cycles found industrial processes.  Its patented pressure exchange devices are designed to take advantage of energy created in...

Power Integrations Enables Manufacturers to Earn the ENERGY STAR Label on External Power Supplies

Power Integrations Inc (POWI) announced that its EcoSmart technology enables manufacturers to earn the Energy Star label for their external power supplies. An expansion of the Energy Star program announced this week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency addresses external power supplies, the adapters that power such products as cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, PDAs and many other household and office devices.

Are Air Source Heat Pumps A Threat To Geothermal Heat Pump Suppliers?

Tom Konrad CFA Last year, geothermal heat pump (GHP) manufacturers introduced new heat pumps with break-through efficiency based on variable-speed compressor technology.  These manufacturers include Waterfurnace Renewable Energy  (TSX:WFI, OTC:WFIFF) and ClimateMaster, a division of LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU). Air Source and Ground Source Variable speed compressor technology was not restricted to geothermal heat pumps (also known as ground source heat pumps or geoexchange): It had first found its way into what are often considered ground source’s poor cousins: air source heat pumps (ASHP). Both types of heat pumps use a refrigeration cycle to draw heat from the outside in winter to heat...

Canadian Insulation Companies Likely to Benefit from Next Budget

Tom Konrad CFA On March 22, the Conservative Canadian federal government released its proposed 2011 budget. The biggest news about the budget is not what is in it, but the fact that it is likely to lead to a no-confidence motion in Parliament, and bring about a new election.  One provision of the conservative budget is the C$400 million ecoEnergy Retrofit program was included in the budget as a sop to lure support from the New Democrat party, but proved insufficient to gain their support. Canadian insulation manufacturers hailed the inclusion of the home insulation...

Can Rubicon Hire Bring Shine Back To Sapphire?

by Debra Fiakas CFA On Friday Rubicon Technology, Inc. (RBCN:  Nasdaq) announced the appointment of a new chief operating officer to manage the company’s sapphire materials production.  Rubicon is a producer of materials used in electronics components, including the company’s specialty, monocrystalline sapphire materials.   Rubicon chose a seasoned operator for the COO post, which now encompasses functions previously carried about by managers in two different positions.  The new hire, Hany Tamim, was previously with SunEdison (SUNE:  Nasdaq), the developer and producer of solar cells and modules.  He has experience in managing crystal growth and...

How Infrared Imaging can Sell Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency breaks the laws of economics.  Despite the fact that it's considerably cheaper then traditional energy sources, as well as providing substantial benefits in terms of comfort, economic growth, safety, and the environment, barriers arising from misplaced incentives and the attitudes, awareness, perceptions, and general level of knowledge all conspire to prevent people from taking steps which would otherwise be extremely rewarding. The key to better implementation of Energy Efficiency programs are programs to raise people's interest or awareness.  For instance, there is the example of how Woodstock Hydro found that their customers' electricity usage dropped 15%...

Orion Energy Systems: Seeing The Light

by Debra Fiakas CFA On Monday Orion Energy Systems (OESX:  NYSE) issued a press release to reiterate previous guidance for sales in the quarter ending March 2015.  Given that the quarter has already ended, it is more like a pre-announcement of results than guidance.  At any rate management has indicated the results, when finally reported will bring sales for the fiscal year ending March 2015, to some point in a range of $72 million to $74 million. The announcement might not be so much motivated by a need to assure shareholders of financial performance, as much as...

Hannon Armstrong’s Strong Q2 Keeps It In My Top Picks

By Jeff Siegel Hannon Armstrong (NYSE:HASI), one of my top picks for 2014, just made me very happy. Yesterday, the company announced its Q2 Core Earnings of $4.7 million or $0.22 per share. On a GAAP basis, the Company recorded net income of $2.9 million. Here are some other highlights. . . Raised approximately $70 million in April, 2014 in a follow-on offering. Increased the flexibility and expanded the capacity of its existing credit facility by $200 million. Completed more than $200 million worth of transactions, including the acquisition of a $107 million portfolio of land...