From Paris to Drawdown

by John Fullerton Yes, it was a shameful poke in the world’s eye by the dangerously narcissistic, temporary occupant of the White House. Like other unconscionable and unfathomable acts of the early 21st centurya period of historic great change alreadyTrump’s pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement has sent me searching for the deeper meaning of it all, while the pundits flail away.   The attack on the World Trade Center, an iconic symbol of globalization if there ever was one, triggered for me a period of introspection and a personal existential crisis as it opened up...

Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2017: First Quarter Earnings

Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA In the two months since the last update, most of the stocks in my Ten Clean Energy Stocks model portfolio have reported first quarter earnings.  There were few surprises, and those were mostly pleasant ones, allowing the model portfolio to add to its gains, and pull a little farther ahead of its benchmark.  For the year to the end of May, the model portfolio is up 13.8%, 2% ahead of its benchmark.  The benchmark is an 80/20 blend of the clean energy income...

Smarting Up Electrical Grids

by Debra Fiakas CFA My recent post “Bull Case in Rick Perry’s Grid Study” highlighted efforts by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to help the coal industry with a study of the U.S. electrical grid.  Coal has long claimed advantage as a ‘dispatchable’ power source, i.e. a consistently available power source suitable to supply power for the base load.  Technology is making base load less important.  Indeed, modernized or ‘smart’ electrical grids are making it possible to take advantage of low-cost renewable power sources even though they produce power intermittently and are therefore considered ‘not dispatchable’. ...

Amyris: 90 Days To Build The Future

Jim Lane In California, Amyris (AMRS) reported Q1 revenues of $13.0M compared with $8.8M for Q1 2016, and touted the “significant increase in product sales, primarily in the personal care and health and nutrition markets, offset by a slight decline in collaboration revenue.” Collaboration revenues contributed $4.7M and product sales added $8.3M for the quarter. Big Q1 miss vs analyst expectations As Jeff Osborne at Cowen & Co noted, “Amyris reported revenue of $13.0mn, well below our estimate of $37.1mn due to much lower collaboration payments than we had anticipated. Management has highlighted that these payments can...

Ethanol and Biodiesel: Production Cost and Profitability

For a number of years, this (now old and outdated, but) very useful chart has been in circulation in energy circles, mapping the supply of energy to the world by looking not at prices, but at production costs. For one thing, it goes a long way to explaining why the price of oil can tumble so quickly when there is a fall off in demand, and explains why OPEC is troubled by unconventional oil in a way it is not so bothered by other energy sources such as renewable fuels. Renewables not only have been traditionally at the...

US Geothermal Fizzles

by Debra Fiakas CFA Geothermal power generator US Geothermal (HTM:  NYSE) came up short in reporting financial results for the first quarter ending 2017  -  at least from the perspective of the four analysts with published sales and earnings expectations for the company.  Operating revenue of $8.4 million slipped slightly from the same period a year ago, but produced slightly lower net income of $1.1 million.  The company’s share was $260,000 or a penny per share.  Not good enough say the analyst’s who were collectively looking for two pennies per share in earnings! Missing earnings expectations has...

Ocean Power’s Stock Offering

by Debra Fiakas CFA The first two lines of the prospectus for the April 2017 public stock offering by Ocean Power Technologies (OPTT:  Nasdaq) say all investors need to know about the market opportunity for the company’s wave power generation products.  First, the earth’s surface is covered 70% by water.  Second, over 40% of the world’s population lives within 150 miles of a coastline.  If the earth is dominated by water and a good share of our energy-hungry population lives near that water, doesn’t it make sense to turn the ocean into a renewable energy source? If...

Icahn’s Pig in a Poke

By Brent Erickson, Biotechnology Innovation Organization Members of the U.S. Senate are questioning whether Carl Icahn’s lobbying to change the Renewable Fuel Standard creates an ethics conflict with his role as advisor in the Trump administration. In addition to the ethics question, Members of Congress and some in the biofuels industry should examine whether Icahn could even deliver on the purported quid-pro-quo even if he wanted to. In late February 2017, Icahn and a biofuel trade association reportedly discussed a presidential executive order to make Icahn’s desired change to the RFS Point of Obligation (the so-called POO) in...

Amyris Boards The Sweet Fleet

Jim Lane Back in September 2015, we reported that Amyris inked a multi-year agreement with the US Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, the famed DARPA that gave us everything from kevlar to the Global Positioning System and the Internet the goal in this $35M agreement with the Biological Technologies Office was to create new research and development tools and technologies compressing the time to market for any new molecule by at least 10-fold in both time and cost. The story expanded this week when we heard from Amyris (AMRS) that it had completed strain engineering and...

Take A Bromide For Flow Battery Frustration

by Debra Fiakas CFA The most recent article Vanadium Flow Battery Stocks: Barely A Dribble may have disappointed some investors who were expecting more opportunity for a stake in building energy storage.  Large scale energy storage is an idea to which many in the utility industry speak, but few power producers have made significant investments beyond lithium ion batteries.  Flow batteries have long been touted as a cost-effective and technically superior alternative for wind or solar power storage or for load-balancing efforts on the electric grid, as examples.  In the last post we looked at the flow battery...

New Energy Exchange Limited Has A Market Cap of $3 Million, But Owns $54...

Esplanade Capital Issues Open Letter to the Board of New Energy Exchange Limited Urges the Company to Reregister with the SEC to Maximize Value for Shareholders Esplanade Capital LLC, a significant shareholder of New Energy Exchange Limited (OTC PINK: EBODF), announced today that it has issued an open letter to the Board urging the Company to reregister with the SEC in order to maximize value for shareholders. The full text of the letter follows: April 25, 2017 New Energy Exchange Limited (f.k.a. Renewable Energy Trade Board Corp.) Board of Directors Shun Tak Centre West Tower...

Vanadium Flow Battery Stocks: Barely A Dribble

by Debra Fiakas CFA   The previous post “Investing With The Flow Battery” introduced a series of articles on flow batteries for grid-scale energy storage.  Investors focused on renewable investments should at least consider the implications of storage requirements in evaluating renewable energy technologies even if storage developers are not considered portfolio-worthy.  Owners of grid-connected solar and wind power systems must design a network that can meet the highest peak load of the year even if a large part of the generating capacity sits idle for extended periods.  Storage technologies convert electrical power into chemical or mechanical energy...

The Problem With Proxy Ballots

Vote With Money Instead by Garvin Jabusch Many people assume that engagement with public companies through proxy voting and resolution filing is the best  if not only  way to see positive environmental, social, and governance outcomes from your investments. For me, this approach misses a fundamental point of market-based solutions: you make in investments in the most compelling ideas that reflect what you think is likely to grow, where you think the economy is headed, and yes, outcomes you support. That means using investments to favor firms that are already making innovative sustainable contributions to the global economy...

Investing With The Flow Battery

by Debra Fiakas CFA   The looming threat of global warming has nearly everyone  -  except perhaps those bickering with each other in the Whitehouse  -  scrambling for lower carbon energy sources.  Intermittancy remains a stumbling block for several of the lower-carbon renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar energy systems.  To be a serious contributor to grid-connected power systems these energy sources need utility scale batteries that can store energy when the sun is down or winds have died away.  Unfortunately, with current technology the cost of such battery capacity increases the levelized cost of energy (LCOE)...

New Bio-Based Tacky Resins Launched With Amyris Technology

Jim Lane In France, Cray Valley has launched new tackifying resins produced with Amyris’ (AMRS) biologically derived Biofene branded farnesene. Tack is the measure of stickiness vital to everything from adhesives that need to hold things in place to inks that need to stay on the printed page. According to independent market research firm, MarketsandMarkets.com, the global tackifier market is projected to reach USD 3.56 billion by 2020. This poses a large opportunity for renewable farnesene-based tackifiers and Amyris believes it can access a large market share as its product applications within the space achieve commercial scale. Cray...

White House Reveals Its Own Fake News

Almost Everyone Believed It by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Press Secretary Sean Spicer reveals the joke. This morning, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer began an epic five-hour press conference with a one-word statement from President Donald Trump:  "Bazinga!" Spicer then launched into a detailed explanation of how the President (with help from many Republicans and conservative think-and-humor-tanks) had convinced the nation and the world how he did not believe in climate change.  In fact, efforts to roll back EPA regulations like the Clean Power...