Companies Helping New York Take the Lead in Offshore Wind

by Debra Fiakas The Lieutenant Governor of New York, Linda Hochul, has predicted that the state will be a world leader in off-shore wind power  -  a bold assertion for a state that still derives three-quarters of its electric power from fossil fuels.  Natural gas has become the most important fossil fuel source.  Yet in 2016, for the first time, over one million megawatt hours of electricity were sources from solar power and 24% of electricity is generated by renewable sources.  This is remarkable given that just a few years ago even that accomplishment was given very low odds.  There...
6 month BDI/SALT chart

SALT: Buying the Balitc Dry Dips

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D. CFA The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) is a shipping and trade index created by the London-based Baltic Exchange. It measures changes in the cost of transporting various raw materials, such as coal and steel. Since the BDI is a measure of the income which firms that own dry bulk cargo ships can earn, changes in the BDI tend to drive changes in the stock prices of such companies. Stock Price Correlation Until recently, one such company was Scorpio Bulkers (SALT), one of my Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2021 picks. The chart below shows the last 5 years, with...

Offshore Wind Blows Into The US: Seven Stocks To Catch The Breeze

Tom Konrad CFA The Growth of Offshore Wind Offshore wind has finally gotten a toe hold in the United States.   The United States' first offshore wind farm, the 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm, is under construction.  A new project, the South Fork Wind Farm will be  three times the size of Block Island (90 MW), is set to be approved by the Long Island Power Authority.  This project will be located 30 miles East of Montauk, NY and Southeast of Block Island in a wind energy area designated by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy...

Epic Changes Are Coming in the Electric Power, Transportation and Energy Storage Sectors

John Petersen Epic is the only word I can use to describe an evolving tragedy that killed tens of thousands of people, inflicted hundreds of billions in property damage, destroyed 3.5% of Japan's base-load power generating capacity in a heartbeat and will cause recurring aftershocks in the global electric power, transportation and energy storage sectors for decades. While I'd love to believe the worst is behind us, I fear the times of trouble have just begun. Since it's clear that Japan will have to turn inward and serve the urgent needs of its own population first, the...
Vestas Turbine

Warm Wind For Vestas

by Debra Fiakas, CFA A stream of impressive news has been delivered by wind turbine producer Vesta Wind Systems AS  (Copenhagen: VWS.CO, US OTC: VWSYF, US ADR: VWDRY) over the last few weeks.  Over the last two months the company has received orders for wind power turbines totaling 3,781 megawatts.  Customers in the U.S. appear to be quite shy, withholding their names and the final destination of the power projects. Nonetheless, the more transparent European, Chinese and Brazilian customers provide a good view on how well regarded Vestas has become. Business has been so good Vestas is opening a new nacelle and hub assembly factory in...

Petersen’s Wind Power Paradigm Paralysis

Tom Konrad CFA I published my rebuttal to John Petersen's recent article "Gone With The Wind – Debunking Geographic Diversity" on November 1st last year.  It was titled Alternative Energy: The Paradigm is the Problem.  That article had two parts.  The first part focused on electric vehicles, and argued that the problem with the electric car was not electric propulsion, but the car paradigm.  I concluded that electric propulsion makes considerably more sense for electric bikes, trains, and buses.  John clearly understood that section, because he published an article just last week "Lux Research Confirms that...

Is AMSC Ready to Get Back to the Future?

Last week a jury found in favor of the United States government in a suit brought in 2013 by the Obama Administration against the Chinese wind turbine producer, Sinovel Wind Group (601558:  Shanghai).  Sinovel was found guilty of stealing technology from American Superconductor (AMSC:  Nasdaq) that had supplied Sinovel with converter hardware and software solutions.  Sinovel may have to pay hefty fines when the final sentencing step is completed in June 2018. American Superconductor (now called AMSC) had already brought a private suit against Sinovel in China two years before the Justice Department filed its case.  The China court dismissed the case for lack of...

Alternative Energy Companies Posting Large Returns

Alternative energy companies delivered compelling returns for investors.  A look at Crystal Equity Research’s ‘indices’ of renewable energy, conservation and environmentally-friendly technology companies found some exceptional price moves.  We review five companies here that have experienced top price moves from 52-week lows. Codexis, Inc. (CDXS:  Nasdaq) has gained 257% from its 52-week low. The company won a place in our Beach Boys group through development of proteins for a mix of applications from biocatalysts for industrial enzymes, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.  While the company has started generating revenue from its technology, it has yet to post a profit.  Codexis delivered a smaller than expected loss in the...

How to Invest in the Pickens Plan

A friend recently asked me how to invest in the Pickens Plan.  I named a stock (see below). He then surprised me by saying "You are the fifth person I've asked, and no one else knew how.  Several said it could not be done." You can invest in T. Boone Pickens's plan.  Here's how: The Plan T. Boone's plan is both simple and audacious.   We will build wind farms all over the Great Plains. Build the necessary transmission to get that electricity to cities, displacing natural gas used in electricity generation for the use in automobiles.   This will...

Rarer Rare Earths Are Not Going To Sink The Wind Power Sector

Charles Morand Once the electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle frenzy fizzles out, as cleantech frenzies typically do when reality comes knocking (i.e. corn ethanol and solar PV), the next hot thing to hit the world of alternative energy investing could very well be rare earths, or the lack thereof. Rare earth metals are used in a number of technologies, most importantly for alt energy investors in NiMH HEV batteries and in permanent magnets for wind turbine generators and electric motors (made with the element neodymium). This article, as its name indicates, will focus on the wind sector. ...

Book Review: Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World (Wind + Solar)

Charles Morand Tom and I recently received complimentary copies of a new book called "Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World", edited FTSE Group's Director of Responsible Investment Will Oulton*.  The book is a compendium of articles by 31 different authors broken down into three main categories: (1) environmental and low-carbon technologies; (2) investment approaches, products and markets; and (3) regulation, incentives, investor and company case studies. While Tom will provide a comprehensive review of the book once he's finished reading it in its entirety, I will instead review a few selected chapters over...

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....

Our Undiversified Wind Portfolio

Wind advocates like to say "The wind's always blowing somewhere" to counter concerns about the variability of wind power.  This is true, and it means that wind can always be relied on to produce some power, but that does not mean that wind can always meet demand.  In the United States' Great Plains wind belt, wind is typically anticorrelated with demand, meaning that, unless we can shift demand to times when the wind is strong, either through time of use rates or demand planning, overall energy production from wind will not be able to exceed 25-35% of overall demand...

Change Winds Blow for Renewable Energy Income Trusts

Renewable energy is still very much in its infancy, which means that companies in the space are either profitless or high-multiple startups, or divisions of much larger companies (GE Wind (NYSE:GE), or utilities such as FPL Group (NYSE:FPL) and Xcel (NYSE:XEL) which get much of their power from conventional generation.) This presents a dilemma for investors who understand the compelling drivers for the sector, but whose risk tolerance or financial needs indicate an income-based investing strategy. Canadian Income Trusts in Renewable Energy A few Canadian Income Trusts have historically gone some way towards filling this niche....

Oil & Alt Energy Redux

Charles Morand Last week, I conducted an analysis showing the lack of evidence supporting claims that oil and alt energy returns are strongly correlated (claims that sometimes come from outfits as reputable as Bank of America Merrill Lynch).     I don't want to belabor this topic but I thought I would post the results of another, similar analysis I conducted following comments I received on how to improve the first one. In a nutshell, the comments suggested I do the following: 1) Look at daily correlations or even smaller periods, as "common knowledge" market...

Saviors and Saboteurs in Alternative Energy

John Petersen Last week Societe Generale published a thematic research report titled "A new world order, when demand overtakes supply" which examines the macro-economic and demographic trends that will transform the global economy over the next 20 years. It mirrored the theme of Jeremy Grantham's April 2011 quarterly letter titled "Time to Wake Up: Days of Abundant Resources and Falling Prices Are Over Forever" and did a great job of summarizing an issue I touched on in "How PHEVs and EVs Will Sabotage America's Drive For Energy Independence." In the words of Societe Generale: "So, while...
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