PowerSecure on a Solar Roll

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week PowerSecure International (POWR:  Nasdaq) announced the award of orders valued at $100 million for new solar projects.  About 15% of the work will be completed in the final quarter of this year and the rest of the revenue will be recorded in 2016.  The announcement sent investors into a tizzy.  PowerSecure reported $283.4 million in total sales for the twelve months ending March 2015, primarily for solar power infrastructure and smart grid technology destined for electric utilities and microgrids.  Securing orders equivalent to 35% of its current revenue run rate...

Understanding Manufacturing Economics for Grid-Scale Energy Storage

John Petersen I have a new favorite word AGGREGATION! At the risk of sounding like a reporter, I’m going to summarize a pre-holiday news story you might have missed but need to know about. In late November the PJM Interconnect, the largest of nine regional grid system operators in the US, announced that it had begun buying frequency regulation services from small-scale, behind the meter, demand response assets in Pennsylvania. The first resources brought on-line by PJM were variable speed pumps at a water treatment plant and a 500 kW industrial battery array...

Tres Amigas Proposes Three-way Transmission Link

by Michael Giberson If completed, the Tres Amigas project will encourage renewable power development and efficient power flows.  Publicly traded wind power and superconducting cable company American Superconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: AMSC) is a large minority shareholder and the planned supplier. Tres Amigas LLC has proposed building a three-way superconducting HVDC link between the three separate power systems that span the United States and much of Canada: the Eastern Interconnection, the Western Interconnection, and the Texas (ERCOT) Interconnection.  The three systems currently are linked by a small number of separate and relatively unimportant DC interties.  The proposed three-way...

Ten Solid, Clean Companies Ready For Stimulus, and Five That Aren’t

by Tom Konrad Last February, I wrote " I expect the Fed-induced reprieve to be fairly short lived, ten solid companies I'd be happy to buy more of if and when the bottom really falls out of the market."  When I wrote those words, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was over 12,700.  Now, it's around 8,500, and I doubt anyone remembers the "Fed-induced reprieve" I was referring to.  The "bottom fell out" in September and October.    On October 12, with the DJIA at 8451, I wrote "I don’t know where the market will go from here, but I...

Microgrids: The Electric BTM Line

by Joeseph McCabe, P.E. Which vendors at Intersolar 2016 in San Francisco supply the best behind the meter self generation microgrid solutions?  I’ve asked similar questions about utility owned inverters, storage, and microgrids at previous Intersolars. This year I looked into the microgrid highest value propositions for photovoltaics (PV). What is a microgrid, and why they are coming of age now? A microgrid is a distinct electric system consisting of distributed energy resources which can include demand management, storage and generation.  Loads are capable of operating in parallel with, or independently from, the...

2010: The Year of the Strong Grid? Part V: Hubbell Inc.

Tom Konrad, CFA Hubbell Inc. (HUB-B) is a strong grid stock that also has strong financials, signaled by a recent dividend increase. I came across Hubbell Inc. (HUB-B) when researching General Cable (BGC) for my recent article on the company.  Just one more example of when you start researching a sector, (in this case electrical transmission and distribution, or "strong grid") you never know what new companies you may find. Hubbell is a diversified electrical supplier, serving electric utility, residential, commercial, and industrial markets worldwide.  About a quarter (26%) of its revenue comes from the "Power...

2010: The Year of the Strong Grid? Part III

Two Strong Grid Stocks in Hiding Tom Konrad, CFA A look at two transmission (or "Strong Grid") stocks I missed previously: EMCORE Group and AZZ Incorporated. In part I of this series, I made the case that 2010 might be the year that transmission stocks caught investors' attention, as smart grid stocks did in 2009.  In part II, I looked at the transmission stocks in our Electric Grid stock list, and compared their financial strength.  My initial screen, based on Current ratio, Cash on Hand, Debt, Cash from Operations, P/E ratio, and dividend yeild allowed...

Is the New Smart Grid ETF GRID All That Smart?

Tom Konrad, CFA First Trust Launched a Grid Infrastructure Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) on November 17th.  Although the First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge Smart Grid Infrastructure Index Fund (Nasdaq: GRID) is labeled a "Smart Grid" ETF to capture popular excitement around smart grid technology, it covers the whole grid infrastructure sector.  This broader focus is good for clean energy investors. I've been an advocate of investing in electric transmission and smart gird stocks since early 2007, and for almost a year now, a regular reader has been telling me to create a transmission ETF so he can buy...

Axion Power – A Battery Manufacturer Charging Forward

John Petersen Last week Debra Fiakas of Crystal Equity Research published an article titled "No Battery Producer Left Behind" that was based on old information about the relationship between Exide Technologies (XIDE) and Axion Power International (AXPW) and reached several erroneous conclusions. Since I'm a former Axion director, the stock is my biggest holding and I follow the company like a hawk, Tom Konrad asked me to clarify the record and present a high level overview of Axion's business history, stock market dynamics and technical accomplishments over the last four years. Since Tom's request is a...

The Electric Grid Index

Charles Morand A little while ago, we received the following request from a reader: " when are you going to start an ETF or mutual fund called "Energy TS&E". T for transmission, S for storage, and E for efficiency. I guess you need an index first. I'm thinking Quanta, Amer Superconductor, Exide, Axion, Itron, Echelon, etc. There is no good one stop shop for this subsector. Sign me up." While we don't plan on launching a licensable index or a mutual fund because of all the regulatory thicket we'd...

The Light at the End of the Tunnel is Energy Efficient

The Solar Investment Tax Credit has been extended, and the market for mortgage debt "rescued," but neither renewable energy nor the rest of the economy are out of the woods.  We'll probably be feeling the effects of the financial imbalances which have built up in our economy for years to come. While the extension of the tax credit will help renewable energy technologies raise funding, the headwinds from the continued fallout of the structured finance and real estate bubble will be blowing in the other direction.  This will be a problem both for developers of new technologies, and...

MasTec (MTZ): Connectivity to the Smart Grid

By Harris Roen An important part of the smart grid will be devices that connect the user to the grid, or “reading points”. These reading points go way beyond the current meter reading system that just monitor the amount of energy used. The long held belief that meter reading was the only way to monitor household and business’s consumption is quickly being replaced with alternate ideas.   MasTec (MTZ) is a contracting firm with $2.1 billion in annual sales focused on utility and communications infrastructure. It specializes in communications, high-speed Internet and electric distribution, as well as...

Congress Approves Billions in Energy Storage Incentives

On Friday, the House of Representatives and Senate passed H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and sent the bill to President Obama for his signature. The impact on companies that manufacture advanced batteries and other energy storage devices will be staggering. The principal energy storage appropriations include: $2,000,000,000 for grants to manufacturers of advanced battery systems and vehicle batteries that are produced in the United States, including advanced lithium ion batteries, hybrid electrical systems, component manufacturers, and software designers;  $4,500,000,000 for grants for “Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability” including activities to modernize the electric...

Democratizing the Grid

by Daryl Roberts In a previous article I investigated the question of whether private sector capital was being stimulated sufficiently enough to build out renewable infrastructure on pace to reach climate goals.  I found that on the upper end, giant institutional funds were only mobilizing a tiny fraction of their total Assets Under Management, due to regulatory constraints and uncompetitive yields.  On the lower end, smaller scale funding seemed to be growing, with facilitation from intermediaries, fintech aggregation services, and increased access at lower levels to complicated derisking strategies. But I now find reporting that capital is over-mobilized, that solar may...

Playing the ‘Global Grid Game’ – Japan’s NGK, GE Majority-Owned Indo Tech Look Strong

Maintaining and expanding the world's electric power grids in order to avoid stupendous blackouts, add gigawatts of green power, and bring electricity to a billion additional people, will cost hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years. Retrofitting just the U.S. power grid will cost $130 billion, estimates the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). China has earmarked $135 billion to upgrade and expand its high-voltage grid. India will need to spend billions if it has any hope of reaching its goal of increasing electrical generation capacity to 200 GW by 2012 from roughly 150 GW currently. Among...

Smart Grid Sector Gaining Traction from Stimulus Funds

Digi International Positioned for Growthby Joyce Pellino CraneCaught between a maturing sector and a nascent one, Digi International, Inc., (Nasdaq:DGII) is stirring opposition among research analysts, who view its recent acquisitions as either a brazen entry into an emerging area, or a compensatory cover for poor performance.Over the past five years, the company has ventured into the smart grid sector through several acquisitions of wireless and cellular technology companies. One industry observer, who did not want to be quoted, said acquisitions artificially increase revenues during a down economy.  Another, who asked not to be identified, said the Digi...
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