Posts Tagged ‘solar power’

The Nuclear Option

The Nuclear Option

By Marin Katusa, Chief Investment Strategist, Casey’s Energy Opportunities 

Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced large new federal loan guarantees for the nuclear energy industry – totaling about $54 billion, or more than triple the current level of funding. Philosophically, we abhor government subsidies to any industry, but we also recognize that they’re a fact of life these days, with an inordinate influence on markets. So even though we’d prefer the government didn’t pick industry winners and losers, we must be mindful of what Washington is doing if we expect to reap profits as investors. 

In this instance, the ramping up of government support means boom times are coming for the nuclear energy industry, which is about to awaken from a three-decade long sleep. And if you correctly position your energy investment portfolio, you can benefit from a comeback that’s baked in the cake. 

Power is all about the numbers. Consider the illustration below, which shows how current electricity generation technologies stack up when it comes to producing energy (cost is in dollars per megawatt hour). Solar and wind generators are not cheap and don’t work when it’s dark or calm. They’re competitive only with heavy government subsidies and even then, will never contribute much juice to the grid. 

Source: EIA. Adapted from http://www.investingdaily.com/tes/17201/sell-wind-and-solar-energy-stocks.html 

Hydro, biomass, and geothermal fare much better, easily competing with more traditional technologies, and there are good investment opportunities among them that we’re following. But again, in the larger picture they’re minor players. 

In terms of bang for the buck, it still comes down to coal, gas and nuclear, and Washington realizes we’re going to need all three to meet our future energy needs, especially as electric vehicles begin to replace those that run on gasoline. 

The Obama administration is all for going as “green” as possible, but realizes that wind and solar are not going to cut it. Thus, after thirty years in the doghouse, the nuclear option has regained the respectability in America that it enjoys among nations such as China, where ten new plants per year are proposed (our last new construction project broke ground in 1977). 

Despite lingering doubts among those who remember Three Mile Island, uranium has been dusted off and presented to the public as a safe, environmentally friendly, cost-effective source of power. And the new generation of plants is all of those…
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Solar Power: Sunshine’s Cloudy Days

Solar Power: Sunshine’s Cloudy Days

By Mark Halper, courtesy of TIME

AP, posted in TIME Mike Ahearn, chairman of the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels, had every reason to party in September. That’s when his company, First Solar, based in Tempe, Ariz., was picked by China to build what promises to be the world’s biggest solar-electricity plant: a Manhattan-size facility in Inner Mongolia providing 2 gigawatts of power, about twice the size of a large coal plant or average nuclear power station. But the Chinese facility will take years to build, and the party buzz subsided pretty quickly. The next month, Wall Street analysts downgraded First Solar’s stock after the company missed its third-quarter revenue target. "I think the Wall Street perspective is pretty short-term," says Ahearn.

That’s true, but it’s also true that, while photovoltaic cells that turn sunlight into electricity may play a potentially vital role in weaning the world from fossil fuels, a transition will take decades — and the business metrics surrounding the solar-power industry currently are anything but bright. After a period of rapid expansion, panel manufacturers today are reeling from a pronounced supply surplus, falling prices and stagnating sales. In 2009, industry revenue plunged by nearly 40% to about $25 billion from $40 billion the previous year, according to BankAmerica Merrill Lynch alternative-energy analyst Steven Milunovich. Solar-panel output far outstripped demand last year; manufacturers made 66% more product than they were able to sell, estimates research firm iSuppli located in El Segundo, Calif. Some analysts believe the dismal conditions will persist into 2011, setting up marginal players worldwide for failure. "A large number of manufacturers will not survive," says Paul Semenza, an analyst with research company DisplaySearch, based in San Jose, Calif.

The global glut has been building for a number of years as hundreds of solar cell and panel start-ups, attracted by a potential boom in alternative energy as oil prices climbed and by government solar-energy-subsidy programs, swarmed into the market. Because the industry’s barriers to entry are relatively low — crystalline solar cells are rudimentary semiconductors that are comparatively easy to make — the number of solar-panel and photovoltaic suppliers mushroomed nearly tenfold from 2002, when there were about 80 manufacturers, to somewhere between 500 and 800 today, according to iSuppli. In China and Taiwan, whole solar-energy sectors sprouted almost overnight. Stefan de Haan, an analyst for iSuppli, says industry profit margins,…
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Mad Hedge Fund Trader’s Global Market Comments

Mad Hedge Fund Trader’s Global Market Comments
October 1, 2009

Featured Trades: (IDX), (INDONESIA), (FSLR), (STP), (YGE)
 
1) Was that nice for you, dear? Now that cash for clunkers has expired, new car sales have cratered. September is coming in at a 7 million unit run rate, lower than before the program started, and down 24% from already depressed YOY levels. It really makes you wonder what will happen when the other government stimulus programs run out. The $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers ends November 30, and unless you have a deal in contract, the program is effectively over. That is thought to be behind the recent weakness in new home sales, the biggest beneficiaries of the program. Is this the beginning of the “square root,” or the “W.”

squareroot-1.jpg picture by madhedge         or   w3t-1.jpg picture by madhedge      ?
 

2)  If you are looking for another emerging market to add to your list of  things to buy on dips, then take a look at Indonesia. The world’s largest Muslim country offers a combination that I love, a population with great demographics that is also a major energy and commodities exporter. The archipelago is the biggest country in Southeast Asia and a huge exporter of oil and LPG to Japan on long term contracts. (An old friend of mine torched their Borneo fields at the beginning of WWII, and spent four years in a Japanese prison camp for his troubles.) Other big exports include marvelous textiles, rubber, and increasingly rare tropical hardwoods. The global financial crisis only knocked their growth rate from 6.1% to 4.5%, and now it is back above 6%. No doubt, $63 billion of direct foreign investment into the country helped. A series of tax reforms promise to keep the train moving, cutting the top corporate rate from 30% in 2008 to 28% this year, and 25% next year. Wisdom Tree had the “wisdom” to launch the country’s first ETF (IDX) in January (what timing!), which became one of the best performers this year, rocketing over 300% from the lows to $60.  Islamic inspired terrorism is still a lingering concern. I keep Indonesia in the category of highly volatile, high risk, high return frontier markets that you only want to buy on a big dip. Keep it on your…
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Balance sheet wars – US solar companies vs. the Chinese government. Who’s going to win?

Warm solar-powered welcome to Financial Hippie, the long and the short of it…

Balance sheet wars – US solar companies vs. the Chinese government. Who’s going to win?

solar powerCourtesy of Financial Hippie

We all know the foot race that is going on in the solar industry – companies are trying to achieve the lowest per megawatt cost for an installed system. Until the next leapfrogging technology comes along, the most important factor to drive down cost is scale*. Here is where the US solar companies will have serious problems competing against the Chinese solar companies because the US solar companies lack cheap, indiscriminate access to capital like their Chinese cohorts.

Let’s take First Solar (FSLR) for example. FSLR is funded by private money. Even though the US government is offering tax incentives for installing solar projects, they are not however involved in the funding of the company in any way. Why would they? FSLR has one plant in the US, the rest of the plants are mostly in "low cost locations" – ie. Malaysia. Have you ever heard of the "United Solar Workers"? I would guess a few hundred out of the 3,500 FSLR employees are Americans. My point is… if they closed shop tomorrow, there will be plenty of companies to fill the supply void. I wonder if the Malaysian government has the capacity or the desire to step up and lend.

The Chinese solar manufacturers are a different story. Remember, the number one goal of the Chinese government is to maintain social stability. Suntech Power (STP) employs close to 10k employees by itself, and these are "high quality" jobs that are looked upon favorably by the Chinese Government. If I include all of STP’s peers in China, their upstream suppliers such as LDK Solar (LDK) and the downstream system installers, I would guess the Chinese solar industry employs probably a few hundred thousand people throughout the value chain.

Now let’s look at the banking relationships. Many of these loans are unsecured and covenant lite and represent roughly on average 25% of total capital. Top 3 Chinese solar related company by market capitalization and their respective government backers are:

  • Suntech Power (STP) : China Construction Bank,  Bank of Communication.
  • Yingli Green Energy (YGE) : Export-Import Bank of China, China Development Bank
  • LDK Solar (LDK) : China Construction Bank, China Development Bank, Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of


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Phil's Favorites

Why hearsay isn't a problem for Congress in impeachment hearings

 

Why hearsay isn't a problem for Congress in impeachment hearings

I heard him saying… ASDF_MEDIA/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of James Steiner-Dillon, University of Dayton

Wednesday’s testimony by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland included the allegation that Sondland pushed Ukraine to investigate the Biden family in exchange for U.S. political support at the “...



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Zero Hedge

"It's Not Sustainable:" PG&E Rolling Blackouts To Hit 181,000 Customers Wednesday 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Seriously, every time the wind blows in California, it transforms into a third world country with rolling blackouts. And if you've ever been to let's say South America where this happens frequently, it's not a pleasant thing to experience. 

So Californians will get another taste of what it's like to live in Venezuela or Argentina on Wednesday. Nearly 181,00 customers in Northern California on early Wednesday will see their power cutoff so that Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) can avoid sparking another deadly wildfire. 

...



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Insider Scoop

GM Sues Fiat Chrysler, Alleges Racketeering And Corruption In UAW Negotiations

Courtesy of Benzinga

General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) is suing rival Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE: FCAU), alleging Fiat executives bribed union officials to gain an advantage over GM in how its contracts were structured.

The alleged corruption has also been the focus of a federal criminal probe into Fiat Chrysler and the Unit...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

New York Stock Exchange Double Topping or Sending A Strong Bullish Message?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

A very broad index is testing last year’s highs, as monthly momentum is creating lower highs? Which indicator is more important, price or momentum?

This chart looks at the New York Stock Exchange Index (NYSE) on a monthly basis over the past 15-years.

The index peaked in January of 2018, as momentum was the highest since the peak in 2007.

The rally off the lows around Christmas last year, has the index testing the highs of January 2018. While the rally has taken place over the past 12-months, lofty momentum has created a series of lower highs.

Can you believe th...



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Lee's Free Thinking

NY Department of Welfare Announces Increased Subsidies for Primary Dealers, Thank God!

 

NY Department of Welfare Announces Increased Subsidies for Primary Dealers, Thank God!

Courtesy of , Wall Street Examiner

Here’s today’s press release (11/14/19) from the NY Fed verbatim. They’ve announced that they will be making special holiday welfare payments to the Primary Dealers this Christmas season. I have highlighted the relevant text.

The Open Market Trading Desk (the Desk) at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released the schedule of repurchase agreement (repo)...



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The Technical Traders

VIX Warns Of Imminent Market Correction

Courtesy of Technical Traders

The VIX is warning that a market peak may be setting up in the global markets and that investors should be cautious of the extremely low price in the VIX. These extremely low prices in the VIX are typically followed by some type of increased volatility in the markets.

The US Federal Reserve continues to push an easy money policy and has recently begun acquiring more dept allowing a deeper move towards a Quantitative Easing stance. This move, along with investor confidence in the US markets, has prompted early warning signs that the market has reached near extreme levels/peaks. 

Vix Value Drops Before Monthly Expiration

When the VIX falls to levels below 12~13, this typically v...



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Biotech

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

A vial of insulin. Prices for the drug, crucial for those with diabetes, have soared in recent years. Oleksandr Nagaiets/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Jeffrey Bennett, Vanderbilt University

About 7.4 million people ...



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Chart School

Dow Jones cycle update and are we there yet?

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Today the Dow and the SP500 are making new all time highs. However all long and strong bull markets end on a new all time high. Today no one knows how many new all time highs are to go, maybe 1 or 100+ more to go, who knows! So are we there yet?

readtheticker.com combine market tools from Richard Wyckoff, Jim Hurst and William Gann to understand and forecast price action. In concept terms (in order), demand and supply, market cycles, and time to price analysis. 

Cycle are excellent to understand the wider picture, after all markets do not move in a straight line and bear markets do follow bull markets. 



CHART 1: The Dow Jones Industrial average with the 900 period cycle.

A) Red Cycle:...

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Digital Currencies

Is Bitcoin a Macro Asset?

 

Is Bitcoin a Macro Asset?

Courtesy of 

As part of Coindesk’s popup podcast series centered around today’s Invest conference, I answered a few questions for Nolan Bauerly about Bitcoin from a wealth management perspective. I decided in December of 2017 that investing directly into crypto currencies was unnecessary and not a good use of a portfolio’s allocation slots. I remain in this posture today but I am openminded about how this may change in the future.

You can listen to this short exchange below:

...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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