The Many Shades of Hydrogen

by Ishaan Goel INTRODUCTION In 2020, hydrogen shot to the forefront of the renewable energy conversation, with stakeholders making major investments in its growth. The European Union has allocated nearly EUR 400 billion to hydrogen within its Covid-19 recovery package, to ramp up production capacity ~150 times by 2030. Globally, hydrogen production projects under development have nearly tripled (by capacity) with several firms announcing ambitious gigawatt-scaled ventures. The appeal of hydrogen stems from its excellent capabilities as both an energy carrier and storage medium. Beyond its extensive usage in high-temperature industrial processes and manufacturing, it shows potential in areas that have proven...
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Buying Foreign Stocks: To ADR or Not To ADR

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Since my 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2021 list contains 5 foreign stocks this year, a reader asked about the relative merits of buying a foreign stock compared to a US ADR.  Here is a summary of the relative merits (for US investors) of buying a foreign stock directly compared to buying the American Depository Receipt (ADR). First, let’s look at the tickers for the five foreign stocks in the list.  There are four types of ticker in the list this year: The stock on its home exchange in the local currency.  These have the form...

10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2021: Diversification

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Rounding out the discussion of the stocks in my 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2021 list are the two that don’t fit either of the themes I highlighted for 2021: Picks and Shovels or a Possible Yieldco Boom.  Both help with diversification, both in terms of their industry and geography. MiX Telematics (MIXT) was retained from the Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2020 list because I expect its prospects to improve rapidly as the world comes out of covid lockdowns.  The global vehicle telematics provider has a large number of its customers among mass transit, logistics,...
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The Yieldco Virtuous Cycle

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Readers who followed my coverage of the Yieldco bubble in 2015 know the Yieldco Virtuous Cycle.   A Yieldco’s stock price rises It issues new shares, and invests the money in renewable energy projects.   Because the stock price is high, it is able to buy more project cash flow by issuing fewer shares than it has in the past. Cash flow available for distribution (CAFD) per share increases, despite the increasing number of shares outstanding. Yieldco management sets a target for continued rapid annual distribution growth, which can be met either by further share issuance (if...
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Four Picks and Shovels Stocks

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA The last three months of 2020 brought an explosion in clean energy stock prices. Solar stocks (as measured by the Invesco Solar ETF (TAN), nearly tripled.  So did the Invesco Wilderhill Clean Energy ETF (PBW), which includes a broader spectrum of companies.  Wind stock rose 61%, and even the relatively sedate Yieldcos were up 32%.  The stars of the last half of 2020 was undoubtedly Tesla (TSLA, up 246%) and other electric vehicle stocks. Money Flows Out of Fossil Fuels and Into Clean Energy I believe that the cause of the current rise in stock prices is largely...
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Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2021: The List

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA An annual tradition, here is my Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2021, which is also the new model portfolio for the year, with equal dollar values of each stock using closing prices on 12/29/2020.    Returning Stocks Mix Telematics (MIXT) Green Plains Partners (GPP) Covanta Holding (CVA) Red Electrica (REE.MC, RDEIF, RDEIY) Valeo, SA (FR.PA, VLEEF, VLEEY) Veolia (VIE.PA, VEOEF, VEOEY) New Stocks Scorpio Bulkers, Inc. (SALT) - Dry bulk shipper converting to offshore wind construction.  Thanks to Thad Curtz for bringing my attention to this one. Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners (BEP) - A leading clean energy Yieldco...

Hydrogen Fuel Cells: Comparing Efficiencies

The previous articles in this series focused on the power costs and operational lifetimes of hydrogen fuel cells. These factors are important, as cheaper and long-lasting fuel cells are vital for the adoption of hydrogen as a fuel. (For details of how these cells work, refer to the first article). Cost and durability are far from being the only characteristics of fuel cells worth consideration. Here we focus on fuel cell efficiency - this is the proportion of the chemical energy stored within the hydrogen supplied to the fuel cell, that is eventually converted into usable electricity. The graph shows the...
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List of Green Investment Advisors

If you want your money to help with the transition to the clean energy economy, most investment advisors will probably try to accommodate by finding a few green mutual funds for you. There are now hundreds of mutual funds and ETFs that brand themselves as green, but many will not meet your definition of what is "green." This could mean not being completely divested from fossil fuels, investing in nuclear power, or owning too much of non-fossil fuel stocks like Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) and not enough green-focused  companies like Tesla (TSLA). An investment advisor who does not consider values...
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Early Thoughts On 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2021

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA In the past, I've allowed readers to pay for early access to the list of the 10 stocks I will pick for the model portfolio the next year.  This year, early access to the top 10 list will be a perk for all my patrons on Patreon, who get a first peak at drafts of all my articles.  I posted a draft of this article on December 18th. It's going to be hard to pick 10 stocks that I think are good values this year, but it's past time to start thinking about it.  I thought...
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Compiling a Directory of Investment Advisors Who Specialize in Green Portfolios

My friends in the divestment movement often ask me how to find an investment advisor who has a focus on fossil fuel free or otherwise green investing, so I thought I would compile a list for publication on AltEnergyStocks.com. If your advisory firm would like to be on this list, leave a comment with your Firm Name, location (city, state, country), and website, plus no more than 100 characters of notes where you can say whatever you want about your firm.  I will review each firm's website to make sure that they are properly registered, and that some flavor of...
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529 Plans Without The Fossil Fuels

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA The most popular way we have to save for our children's future education is destroying their future. A 529 savings plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to help pay for education. There are also prepaid tuition plans set up under the section 529 tax rules, but this article is focused on 529 savings plans, and will be what I mean by “529 plans” for the rest of the article. The money in 529 plans can be used for college as well as K-12 education, apprenticeship programs, and paying off some student debt.   Savings plans grow...
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Funding The Energy Transition at Clean Energy Credit Union

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA With interest rates as low as they have ever been, I believe there is little point in small investors investing in bonds or bond funds, even if an allocation to fixed income is needed to match their investments to their ability and desire to take on risk.  With little potential upside from interest, I believe it is better to take advantage of the added safety of federally backed insurance by depositing money in a bank or credit union savings account or certificate of deposit (CD) ladder.  We can do that and avoid having our deposits fund...
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10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2020: Rose Colored Covid

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA The stock market took off in November, fueled by very positive covid-19 vaccine news, and possibly also the prospect of a little competence and sanity in the White House.  While both of these are unambiguously positive for the economy, I think investors are seeing the future through rose colored glasses. Rose colored covid-19. What a Biden Victory Means for the Economy A Biden victory is good news in that we will finally have someone in the White House who will work to reduce the infection rate in the pandemic, rather than vacillating between wishful thinking and actively spurring...

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone is having a happy Thanksgiving, and, more importantly, staying safe by keeping your gatherings small and staying close to home.  Next year, it looks like we will have multiple, highly effective vaccines. Just like in the market, this holiday season, the waiting is the hardest part. Tom Konrad, Editor

PEM Fuel Cells – Hoping to Challenge Internal Combustion

The first article in this series introduced the two prominent types of hydrogen fuel cells - alkaline fuel cells (ALKFCs) and proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Fuel cells are devices that convert stored hydrogen into usable energy, and constitute an essential part of the hydrogen economy. Subsequent articles shall focus on various characteristics of these two cells.  The graph above shows the power costs ($/kW) of PEMFCs and ALKFCs as the technology has advanced over time. In other words, they show the initial capital cost for every 1 kW of fuel cell  capacity (note that this axis is in the...

Alkaline Fuel Cells – In Need of Revival

The previous article in this series on hydrogen fuel-cells focused on proton-exchange membranes fuel cells (PEMFCs). These cells have been the interest of the industry in recent years, and make up the majority of the market. However, it is also worth discussing alkaline fuel cells (ALKFCs), an older variety of cells that remain prominent today. (For details on how these cells work, refer to the first article in this series). The graph shows the power costs ($/kW) of PEMFCs and ALKFCs as the technology has advanced over time. In other words, it plots the initial capital cost for every 1...