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...

Lime Energy Sells ESCO Business to PowerSecure

Tom Konrad On March first, Lime Energy (NASD:LIME) announced the sale of its Energy Service Contracting (ESCO) business to PowerSecure International, Inc. (NASD:POWR). The deal will provide Lime with approximately $1.9 million in cash, plus the assumption of $9.9 million in liabilities associated with various ongoing projects, offset by $6.3 million in assets transferred to PowerSecure.  This makes the effective purchase price of the business approximately $5.5 million (not the $11.9 million I earlier reported).  The deal should be good news for both Lime and PowerSecure shareholders. From Lime Energy’s Perspective After nine months of worrying about misreported and potentially fictitious revenue, it’s...

Money and Reduced Emissions Don’t Sell Energy Efficiency, but Comfort and Health Do

    As an expert witness in an energy efficiency ("Demand Side Management" or DSM in utility-speak) docket before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, I have been making the case that non-energy benefits of energy efficiency measures such as the increased safety and comfort of an efficiently operating home need to be included in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency programs.  There has been much resistance to the inclusion of these benefits, mainly because they can be difficult to quantify.  Yet we omit them at our peril. Why Energy Efficiency and Health Matter     Last summer, I explored why the...

Lime Energy: Delivering Energy Efficiency

Tom Konrad CFA The high upfront cost of efficient buildings (and efficiency in general) is more than offset by the significant long term rewards, as you can see from the McKinsey chart below. Despite the long term benefits, the upfront cost is often a barrier, especially to government entities in today's tight budgetary environment. Performance contracting offers them a way to square the circle between the long term budget benefits of efficient buildings and the often significant capital cost. This works by funding the capital improvement with debt secured by future energy savings. An...

You Call This Cleantech?

David Gold Invest in a solar, biofuels, or LED lighting company, and nobody will question the company’s cleantech pedigree.  Invest in a manufacturer of network switch upgrades for telephone companies, then call it “cleantech” and you’ll see a lot of raised eyebrows.  I know, because we did just that. We are investors in Aztek Networks, a company that makes replacements for the TDM switches that handle much of the phone traffic from standard landline phones.  Telecom companies are excited about Aztek’s product because it enables them, for the first time, to incrementally switch out their old...

How Geothermal Heat Pumps Can Soar Like Solar

Tom Konrad CFA Geothermal Heat Pumps (GHP) are a niche market.  They shouldn’t be. Disclosure: Long WFIFF, short LXU puts (a net long position.) A Better Mousetrap? Ralph Waldo Emerson never said “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”  The mousetrap that likely inspired the misquote was invented seven years after his death.  Unfortunately, many people take it literally.  GHPs have all the hallmarks of a better mousetrap: They do the job of heating and cooling a building more efficiently than any other option.  Despite...

The Pure Technologies Takeover of Pressure Pipe Inspection Company

Tom Konrad CFA In February, I published an interview with Sam Healey portfolio manager at Lamassu Holdings about Pure Technologies (PUR.V, PPEHF.PK), a company that can find and repair leaks in water systems without shutting down the system. Last week, Pure Technologies announced that it intended to acquire Pressure Pipe Inspection Company for cash and stock worth as much as C$34.9 million.  The market's reaction was initially positive with PUR.V gaining C$0.29 on Wednesday, the day following the announcement, but most of these gains were given back on Thursday and Friday. My initial feeling is that this...

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...

What I Sold: Carmanah Technologies (CMHXF, CMH.TO)

On Monday, I told readers that I was getting out of companies some which I feel are likely to need to raise new money over the next couple years.  I also provided a list of stocks I will be buying when I judge we're near the bottom.  This is the first in a series of short articles about those stocks.  Carmanah Technologies (CMHXF) I've mentioned Carmanah Technologies (CMHXF) in passing in articles about LED companies.  I first became interested in Carmanah in 2005. The company's integrated LED-solar lighting solutions caught my attention because they were (and are) economic regardless...

LEDs: A better light bulb. Again.

by Marc Gunther.  So you remember CFLs, right? The curlicue bulbs? The time they took to go on? The harsh light? Despite their drawbacks, compact fluorescents have sold fairly well in the US. They save customers money. Utilities promoted and subsidized CFLs, particularly in California. Walmart (NYSE:WMT) pledged to sell 100 million of them. Time magazine put one on the cover. By 2012, CFLs represented 27 percent of the bulbs installed in the over 3 billion medium screw-based sockets in the United States, according to a Navigant study quoted by NRDC. Other researchers put the number lower, about 20 percent,...

Geothermal Heat Pump Stocks

Geothermal heat pumps (GHP), also know as Geoexchange, or ground-source heat pumps have been recognized by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy as the most efficient and environmentally friendly way to heat and cool a building available.  The downside of GHPs has always been the large up-front cost associated with the cost of the ground loop.   With Obama promising a massive energy efficiency overhaul of federal buildings, the up-front cost is unlikely to be important so long as the expected returns on the investment are sufficient to pay for the upgrade.  Since geothermal...

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%...

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’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...

Wise Energy Use Stocks, Part 5:Global Services Companies

General Electric (GE), Honeywell (HON), IBM, Johnson Controls (JCI), Siemens (SI)

Wise Energy Use Stocks Part 4: Metering and Energy Management

A look at Itron, Echelon, Woodward Governor, EnerNOC, and Energy Recovery