A push for renewable energy in Colorado

Colorado is the first state in the nation to place renewable energy on its ballots, thanks in part to grassroots support from Summit County. On Nov. 2, Colorado voters will decide whether to require the state's seven largest utilities to generate 10 percent of their electricity from environmentally-friendly sources like wind power by 2015.

Geothermal Stocks Overview

Tom Konrad CFA Geothermal power generation has several advantages over higher profile alternative energy such as wind and solar, but gets much less attention.  Part of the lack of recognition for Geothermal power arises from a confusion with the technology variously called Geoexchange, Ground Source Heat Pump, or Geothermal Heat Pumps.  Geoexchange uses the near constant temperature of the soil a few feet to a few hundred feet below the ground to heat and cool a building.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Geoexchange is the most efficient way to heat and cool a building, and...

Geothermal Heat Pumps: The Next Generation

Tom Konrad CFA The most efficient way to heat and cool a building just got more efficient. Geothermal heat pump diagram via Bigstock Climatemaster, a division of LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU), recently announced that their new Trilogy 40 geothermal heat pump (GHP) had been certified by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to exceed 40 Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) under ground loop conditions. EER is the ratio of effective cooling (heat removed) to the energy used, at maximal load, and is the standard...

US Geothermal: Egregiously Undervalued?

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week US Geothermal (HTM:  AMEX), a power generator from geothermal projects in California, Oregon, Nevada and Idaho, made an appearance at the Marcum Microcap Conference in New York City.  The company stood out among most of the companies appearing in Marcum’s so-called ‘energy track’ as one of the few with solid revenue and profits.  US Geothermal reported a net profit of $1.9 million on $28.8 million in total sales in the twelve months ending March 2014.  The net profit is commendable, but what I find more interesting is the conversion of 30%...
geothermal eruptions

Blindsided with Advance Warning

Holders of Ormat Technologies (ORA:  NYSE) shares may feel somewhat blindsided by the cessation of operations at the Puna geothermal power plant on the Hawaii Island.  Lava flowing from neighboring Kilauea volcano has overrun two of the geothermal wells as well as a warehouse and an electricity substation. Shareholders cannot claim they were not forewarned.  Ormat’s annual report for 2017 mentions the risk of volcanic eruptions seventeen times.  However, since no geothermal power company has ever experienced an interruption in operations due to a volcanic eruption, investors most likely overlooked the real dangers of locating a business on top of geological ‘hot spot.’ https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3a/Hawaii_Mount_Kilauea%27s_eruption_opens_new_lava_vent.webm Ormat is not the...

Ormat Buys Added Stake in Geothermal Guatemala Plant

Ormat Technologies (ORA) said it has agreed to buy a 50.8 percent partnership interest in Orzunil I de Electricidad Ltd., owner of a geothermal plant in Guatemala, for $14.8 million. The Zunil project includes one power plant with a capacity of 24 megawatts that is expected to generate $12.5 million in revenue next year and boost Ormat's net income by $1.9 million in 2006.

Nevada Geothermal Power Inc.: Blue Mountain Drilling Results DB-2 Test Indicate Potential Shallow Geothermal...

Nevada Geothermal Power Inc. (NGLPF) is pleased to report on recent flow and injection testing of Deep Blue No.2 (DB-2) which penetrated the upper reaches of the geothermal resource, and an eight-hole temperature gradient drilling program at the Blue Mountain project in Nevada. The program has provided positive information on production capability of the inferred resource and expanded the known extent of the thermal anomaly.

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...

US Geothermal: A Knack For Hot Rocks

by Debra Fiakas CFA U.S. Geothermal (HTM:  AMEX) is scheduled to report third quarter 2013 financial results on November 15th, taking every day allowed to a public company to reveal the fruits and labors of a quarter.  There will be plenty to talk about in the conference call with analysts and investors.  USG closed a loan financing to support the first phase of its San Emidio geothermal power project in Nevada.  The loan valued at $30.7 million bears a fixed interest burden of 6.75% will replace a $25 million construction loan for the project and supply working capital...

Report: Solar and Geothermal Projects Have Over 10% Returns, But Finance Remains Difficult

Ryan Hubbell Despite healthy expected returns, finance-related challenges remain the largest barriers to renewable energy development, according to NREL's Renewable Energy Finance Tracking Initiative (REFTI). Two recently released reports on solar and geothermal technologies show greater than 10% expected returns for both developers and tax equity investors. Yet roughly half of both geothermal and solar respondents (350 in total) reported financial issues (project economics, PPAs, creditworthiness, and raising capital) as the largest barriers to development. In light of this, only 11%-13% of respondents reported abandoning their projects. Figure 1. Expected returns...

Blue Mountain Disappoints; Nevada Geothermal Power Looks Like a Takeover Target

Tom Konrad CFA Which company might snatch battered Nevada Geothermal Power out of the scratch-and-dent bin for a song? When Raser Technologies (RZTIQ.OB) declared bankruptcy at the end of April, I shrugged it off.  I saw the writing on the wall for Raser in September 2009, when they failed to get a DOE loan guarantee.  But part of the letdown also had to do with resource risk: the company was producing consistently less power from their 10MW (rated) Thermo plant than expected. Early in 2011, Ram Power (RPG.TO, RAMPF.PK) stock was clobbered when they announced construction...

Geothermal: The Other Base Load Power

Last Thursday and Friday I attended the Geopowering the West Investors' Forum in Montrose, CO (hosted by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association, Colorado's most progressive Rural Electric Cooperative.)  I've long been interested in geothermal stocks, and I first started adding them to managed portfolios in 2003.  As a whole, those stocks have more than doubled in the 1-4 years since they were purchased. Fundamental Advantages of Geothermal Electricity Why did I make those first purchases?  Geothermal power has some unique advantages over other forms of renewable energy. Geothermal is base load power.  Utilities have a strong preference towards...

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...

Geothermal Stocks Warming Up

Tom Konrad CFA Geothermal Plant at The Geysers.  Photo Source: Calpine (CPN) After a couple years of chilly investor sentiment, geothermal stocks are starting to warm up.  The sector has been so beaten down that the small exploration and production players seem to have lost what little following they had, and so recent good news has gone mostly unnoticed. Last week, industry leader Ormat Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ORA) set the stage by beating analyst expectations for both earnings and revenue per share in the third quarter, and announcing a deal to buy a...

Ormat Breaks Ground on New Geothermal Power Plant

Ormat Technologies (ORA) broke ground today on the first geothermal electric generating plant to be built at Steamboat, Nevada since 1991. Known as the Galena Geothermal Project, when completed the plant will be added to the existing Steamboat geothermal plants and bring the total output from this geothermal complex to 44 megawatts of electricity through a process that extracts and re-injects the hot geothermal waters from the ground. One megawatt of electricity can supply energy up to approximately 1,000 typical homes in the area.

Ormat: Cash Generation Justifies Earnings Multiple

Ormat Heat exchanger at GKW Landau. Geothermal water evaporates the carrier medium. Preheater and the evaporator. The steam line above connects to the turbine. Photo by Claus Ableiter via Wikimedia Commons by Debra Fiakas CFA Shares of geothermal power producer Ormat Technologies (ORA:  NYSE) are trading at 29.2 times the 2014 consensus estimate of $0.93 per share.  That multiple looks fair compared to growth expected at Ormat in the next year, but more dear against the company’s long-term growth prospects.  The stock has been flying off...