Orion Energy Systems: Seeing The Light

by Debra Fiakas CFA On Monday Orion Energy Systems (OESX:  NYSE) issued a press release to reiterate previous guidance for sales in the quarter ending March 2015.  Given that the quarter has already ended, it is more like a pre-announcement of results than guidance.  At any rate management has indicated the results, when finally reported will bring sales for the fiscal year ending March 2015, to some point in a range of $72 million to $74 million. The announcement might not be so much motivated by a need to assure shareholders of financial performance, as much as...

GE’s big bet on natural gas

Marc Gunther General Electric Co. (GE) is betting big on natural gas. The $150-billion a year company, whose power plants generate about one-fourth of the world’s electricity, today announced a new natural-gas power plant that it says is more efficient and flexible than any other in the market. By phone from Paris, where the announcement was made, Steve Bolze, president of GE Power & Water, told me:  “This is about transforming the industry over the next five or 10 years.” GE says it invested more than $500 million in the new plant development. It will be manufactured in...

Ten Alternative Energy Speculations for 2008: Batteries, CHP, and Transmission

This article is a continuation of my Ten Alternative Energy Speculations for 2008, with picks #8, 9, and10 published last Thursday.  If you haven't already, please read the introduction of that article before buying any of the stock picks that follow.  These companies are likely to be highly volatile, and large positions are not appropriate for many investors.   My least risky picks (#8,9, and #10) are part of that same article; my most speculative plays (#1-3) will are here. #7 Electro Energy, Inc. (NasdaqCM:EEEI) $0.68 Electro Energy has risen 36% in the month and a half since I last...

Feel-Good Government Grants Leading Cleantech Astray

David Gold Grants for smart grid projects. Grants for battery manufacturing lines. Loan guarantees for renewable energy project development. Grants to private companies for energy efficiency projects. And with each it seems that the cleantech world cheers. Yet for all our desire to create sustainability in our consumption and use of energy, this model of getting us there is not only unsustainable but is of questionable value. I want to emphasize that I am speaking about government grants to the private sector where the government is not the end customer and...

Is Cree, Inc. (CREE) Likely to Burn Out?

Tom Konrad, CFA Pioneering light-emitting diode (LED) maker Cree, Inc. looks overvalued. Light-Emitting Diodes, or LEDs, can be made to shine more brightly by increasing the power to them.  This has the unfortunate effect of overheating the leads and shortening the lifespan of the LED.  A similar effect may soon hit the stock of LED maker, Cree, Inc. (CREE.) Since I began the tradition, Cree has been a mainstay of my annual portfolio of ten stocks for the next year, published each January (See the 2008 and 2009 lists.  The Cree-free 2010 list is here.)  LEDs have been among...

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...

Why I’m Selling Rockwool

Tom Konrad CFA Photo: Cubes made of rockwool for indoor cannabis cultivation by D-Kuru/Wikimedia Commons. While some users may use Rockwool insulation to grow their highs, the recent highs in the stock price have led me to sell part of my holdings. Earlier this year, I bought Rockwool International A/S (COP:ROCK-B, OTC:RKWBF) with the intention of holding it for the long term. I chose Rockwool because it was expanding in the US, provides excellent international diversification, has a strong balance sheet with no net debt, and (not least) is a leader in...

Distributed Energy Systems Corp. Announces its Northern Power Systems Unit Wins Contract to Provide...

Distributed Energy Systems Corp (DESC) has been awarded a $3.1 million contract by Honeywell to provide a turnkey on-site combined heat and power (CHP) system for the United States Postal Service (USPS) Margaret L. Sellers Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in San Diego, California. The facility is the main mail handling facility for the San Diego district and supports more than 40 post offices within the performance cluster. The turnkey CHP system will provide 1.5MW of electricity in normal operation; an amount equal to 85% of the Sellers facility's forecasted power requirements. Recovered heat from the engine's exhaust...

A Little More Respect for Lime Energy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week Lime Energy (LIME:  Nasdaq) reported exceptional sales growth in the quarter ending June 2015.  Revenue from the company’s energy efficiency solutions was $32 million, increasing and impressive 135% compared to a year ago.  Sales were boosted beginning by the March 2015 acquisition of EnerPath, a provider of software solutions for utility energy efficiency.  However, several of the company’s utility programs were expanded and that drove organic sales as well. Is it time to give Lime some new respect? In the renewable energy sector, efficiency programs are often overlooked...

Energy Recovery: A “Slender” Stock

by Debra Fiakas CFA Investors who in the small-cap sector are familiar with the profile:  a company with a great invention that ends up with a business narrowly-focused on a particular market or customer group.  If it is a public company, the stock price is equally thin  -  if it trades at all.  Energy Recovery (ERII:  Nasdaq) is one of those slender stocks.   Over the last year ERII has traded in a relatively tight range between $3.50 at the high point and $1.55 on the low side.  The stock is seemingly stranded today 29.4% off the...

Energy Efficiency Stocks Rally on Shaheen-Portman Bill

Tom Konrad CFA Senator Jeanne Shaheen (Photo credit: sskennel) and Sentaor Rob Portman (official photo) While the chance for broad energy reform to come out of our dysfunctional and divided Congress are slim,  there is one area of broad agreement across the aisle: Energy Efficiency is good for jobs, and the environment.  Much can also be done at modest or no cost to the taxpayer. Today, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) are reintroducing their Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, supported by a broad range of industry leaders, energy efficiency advocates, and...

Wise Energy Use Stocks Part 4: Metering and Energy Management

A look at Itron, Echelon, Woodward Governor, EnerNOC, and Energy Recovery

FLIR: Another Dividend-Paying Energy Efficiency Stock

Tom Konrad CFA FLIR Systems' (FLIR) IR cameras save energy not just by spotting leaks, but by spotting intruders in the dark. When I published my list of dividend paying energy efficiency stocks in January, I missed one, and it is a long-time favorite.  FLIR Systems (FLIR) business is focused around thermography, and I picked FLIR as a stock likely to benefit from the stimulus in March 2009 because FLIR's cameras are used by energy raters.   FLIR did benefit from the stimulus, rising 56% by the end of 2009 from the $21 price when I...

When Contrary Pays

Debra Fiakas Power One (PWER) looks like a promising contrarian play. It is a scenario that has plays out quarter after quarter.  A leading company in popular sector reports decent results, but surprises investors with guidance below the prevailing consensus.  Then the stock price crashes as sell-side analysts cut estimates, price targets and ratings.  It is a situation that many investors fear as they see once profitable stock positions lose value. Not the contrarian investor!  There are potential profits to be made for the obstinate, but fearless investors willing to do their homework.    This...

Hannon Armstrong Declines to Raise Dividend, Sets 3 Year Guidance

Investors did not like Hannon Armstrong's (NYSE:HASI) fourth quarter earnings announcement last night.  While core earnings were a little weaker than expected, that is not what has the stock trading down 11% today.  What shocked investors is the fact that the company did not raise the dividend this year for the first time since the REIT went public, and it gave 3 year guidance which likely disappointed many investors. Last month, I wrote, I expect that Hannon Armstrong will continue to be a well run and conservative business in 2018, and that management will raise the dividend at the lower end...

The Value of Energy Efficiency

I've begun acting as a consultant to the Colorado Energy Efficiency Business Coalition (CEEBC) in a rulemaking docket for Demand Side Management (DSM) case before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC).  In the 2007 Legislative session, the Colorado legislature passed enabling legislation calling for utility-wide Demand Side Management programs for natural gas utilities.  To date, all DSM in Colorado has been focused on low income customers.  Crucially, the legislation allows for non-energy benefits, such as increased comfort, economic multiplier effects (i.e. jobs), and reduced volatility of energy costs be included in the evaluation of the benefits of programs. ...
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