Offshore Wind Investment Opportunities

By Harris Roen A significant alternative energy investment theme with potential for growth over the next few years is offshore wind. This article looks at the promise of marine based wind, potential pitfalls, and names three investments that could benefit from large-scale offshore wind development that is likely coming. The Potential of Offshore Wind In 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Interior jointly published a national offshore wind strategy. According to the report, in areas with less than 100 feet of water the generating potential of offshore wind equals...

Broadwind: Optimism In The Wind

by Debra Fiakas CFA   In early October 2013, Broadwind (BWEN:  Nasdaq) announced over $100 million in new wind tower orders, tipping the value of orders received in the year 2013 over the $300 million mark.   Wind energy has been a fickle market to pursue, alternatively showing great promise as policy makers show support for renewable energy sources and then sinking as cheap natural gas substitutes flood the market. Broadwind’s expertise is in gearing of various kinds.  In addition to supplying gearboxes for wind turbines, the company offers maintenance services to tower owners.  Oil in gearboxes...

Did You Catch Kaydon In Time?

by Debra Fiakas CFA Most investors with an interest in the alternative energy industry think first of the energy source  -  solar, wind, geothermal or biofuel.  There are other roads to access the returns promised by the shift from fossil fuel to alternative sources.  But do not waste time as these gems are in the sights of strategic buyers as well. Kaydon Corporation (KDN:  NYSE) produces components and sub-systems used in the alternative energy industry.  Its friction control products are critical for the efficient operation of wind turbines and blades.  These products include large diameter...

Finavera Wind Energy: Slow Progress

Tom Konrad CFA Without a press release since June, and the stock price in the doldrums, investors have been looking for updates on Finavera Wind Energy (TSXV:FVR, OTC:FNVRF.  Disclosure: I own this stock.)  In fact, there has been an update: Finavera’s second quarter interim report, filed on August 28th on SEDAR, but without a press release or news articles, many investors seem to have missed it. Despite the lack of updates, progress continues behind the scenes, although Jason Bak, Finavera’s CEO is yet not able to say much about the ongoing initiatives.  On Friday, he told...

Finavera Takes $28M for Two (Not $40M for Four)

Tom Konrad CFA Monday morning, Finavera Wind Energy (TSXV:FVR, OTC:FNVRF) announced that it had finalized its agreement with Pattern Energy Group  to sell two of its four Canadian wind energy projects for $28 million.  This should come as a relief to shareholders, who had been concerned when the original date by which they had expected to ratify the deal, March 31st came and went. Since the start of March, when shareholders would reasonably have expected to have heard an announcement of the meeting date and the circulation of proxy materials, Finavera’s stock had drifted down 15% (from C$0.20...

Key Players in New Wind Turbine Technology

David Appleyard   Vestas Wind turbines in Sloterdijk. Photo by Aloxe. With annual market growth of almost 10 percent, and cumulative capacity growth of about 19 percent according to the latest figures from the Global Wind Energy Council, the wind sector continued to make robust progress in 2012. But while these figures suggest a relatively buoyant market for installations, perhaps a more accurate way to judge the health of the wind sector is to consider investment in R&D, and more specifically the products of that research, development and testing....

Maxwell’s Misreported Revenue: More to Come

Tom Konrad CFA On March 7th, Maxwell Technologies (NASD:MXWL) announced problems with revenue timing.  Unlike Lime Energy (NASD:LIME), which I discussed in the previous part of this series, there was no hint of any fictitious revenue.  The disclosure was very specific that “The errors relate to the timing of recognition of revenue from sales to certain distributors.”  The announcement went on to discuss “arrangements … regarding the payment terms for sales” at these distributors.  As a result of the discovery, “certain employees were terminated and our Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing resigned.”  Maxwell is reviewing deficiencies in...

Zoltek Rebuffs Offers, But Quinn Isn’t Going Away

Tom Konrad On March fifth, St. Louis, MO based carbon fiber manufacturer Zolek’s (NASD:ZOLT) shares jumped 14% to $10.52, having traded as high as $11.70 intraday when Quinpario Partners LLC  and allied investors disclosed a 10.13% stake in the company. Jeffry Quinn wants to help Zoltek penetrate new markets and increase its global presence. Quinpario is an investment firm  focused on the specialty chemicals and performance materials sectors, and also based in St. Louis.  The firm was founded in 2012 by Jeffry N. Quinn and several senior executives from Solutia Inc,...

GE Snatches Wind Installation Crown from Vestas

James Montgomery Offshore Wind Farm photo via Bigstock. Preliminary rankings of global wind installation capacity show something not seen in 12 years: longtime market leader Vestas looking up at someone else. BTM Consult, a division within Navigant's Global Energy Practice, says General Electric (NYSE:GE) installed more wind turbine MW capacity than any other original equipment manufacturer (OEMs) in 2012. While not offering specific numbers, Aris Karcanias, senior analyst with BTM, acknowledged that it was "a clear win" for GE, and "not a difference of 50 megawatts)," though...

Western Wind & Brookfield: Time To Declare Victory and Go Home

Tom Konrad CFA Yesterday, I tendered my shares of Western Wind Energy (TSX-V:WND, OTC:WNDEF) to Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners' (TSX:BEP.UN, OTC: BRPFF) extended offer for Western Wind at C$2.60 a share.  This is despite the fact that I think (and was even quoted in a Western Wind press release) saying Western Wind is worth more than C$2.60. Two things have changed.  After conversations with other investors, Western Wind CEO Jeff Ciachurski, and a representative of Brookfield, as well as reading some evidence of extremely bad governance in Western Wind's Q3 2012 filing, I no...

Why Did Finavera Wind Energy’s Stock Crash?

Tom Konrad CFA A month ago, I was convinced that Finavera Wind Energy’s (TSX-V:FVR, OTC:FNVRF) stock was only temporarily trading at depressed levels in the low 20 cent range because investors were disappointed at the deal with Pattern Energy.  Many shareholders had been hoping for an outright sale, and were selling into the thinly traded holiday markets.  I predicted that Finavera stock would “quickly rebound to at least the C$0.30 range over the next few days or weeks, as liquidity returns to the market, and investors revalue the stock based on the agreement with Pattern.”...

Valuing Finavera’s Deal With Pattern Reveals Buying Opportunity

Tom Konrad Finavera's Wildmare Wind Energy Project is one of three projects in Bristish Columbia to be sold to Pattern Renewable Energy Holdings Canada for C$40M. An earlier sale to of Wildmare Innergex Renewable Energy fell through in September.  Photo source: Finavera. On October 1st, following the failed sale of Finavera Wind Energy’s (TSX-V:FVR, OTC:FNVRF) 77 MW Wildmare Wind Energy Project to Innergex Renewable Energy Inc (TSX:INE, OTC: INGXF), Finavera announced that it was in talks with three potential bidders and would review all offers for the company.  Finavera...

Improved Wind Energy Tax Credit Extension Passes with Fiscal Cliff Deal

Renewable Energy World Editors Offshore Wind Farm photo via Bigstock. On January 1, 2013, Congress passed legislation that included the long-sought extension of wind energy tax credits in a bill to avert the "fiscal cliff" that now moves to President Obama for his expected signature. The extension of the production tax credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is expected to save up to 37,000 jobs and create far more over time, and to revive business at nearly 500 manufacturing facilities across the country....

Zoltek: High in Fiber, Low in Valuation

by Debra Fiakas CFA   The Stohr DSR has an all carbon fiber body (Photo credit: Rhots/Wikimedia Commons)   Zoltek Companies (ZOLT:  Nasdaq) is in the business of fibers, mostly carbon fibers.  Plain, simple fibers may not seem very impressive.  However, Zoltek’s carbon fibers are in wide demand for renewable energy applications such as wind turbines blades and deep sea oil and gas wells.  After two years swimming in red ink, Zoltek has managed to bring sales back up to 2008 levels.  The company earned $22.9 million in...

China Finances Ming Yang Wind in India

Doug Young Rice farmer in India with wind turbines.  Photo courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems (VWDRY) With its new energy sector tottering on the brink of collapse, China no longer seems to care if foreign government accuse it of unfairly supporting its sector with low cost loans and other state subsidies. That at least appears to be the message from a new plan by Ming Yang Wind Power (NYSE: MY), which has just announced a massive new tie-up with policy lender China Development Bank to provide financing...

Western Wind to Sell Company, Avoid Proxy Battle

Tom Konrad CFA Western Wind and the Toronto Hedge Funds Last October, Western Wind Energy (TSXV:WND, OTC:WNDEF) received an unsolicited takeover bid of $2.50 a share from Algonquin Power (TSX:AQN, OTC:AQUNF) to buy the company.  Before the bid, the stock had been trading in the $1.20-$1.25 range, but President and CEO Jeff Ciachurski felt that it did not fully value the company’s projects and assets, including approximately $1 per share of US tax assets which the Canadian company Algonquin would not be able to use. Large shareholders at the time were in favor of the sale, including at least one shareholder...