Two Weeks In Cleantech: 8-11-2012

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Jeff Siegel

August 1: Siemens (NYSE:SI) Lands Major Australian Wind Turbine Deal

  • Yesterday morning, New Jersey’s Public Service Enterprise Group announced that it’s now looking to invest up to $833 million for an expansion of the the utility’s solar power programs. This investment seeks to facilitate the developing of an additional 233 megawatts of solar capacity. The expansion is expected to create about 300 direct jobs annually over the next five years.

  • In 30 days, Mitsubishi Motors will launch its all-new Mirage global compact car in Japan. At a cost of between US$12,800 and US$16,500, the 3-cylinder vehicle offers a very competitive fuel economy of 64 mpg US. This exceeds Japan’s 2015 fuel economy standards by 20%.

  • The forecast for German wind power has been raised after expansion in the first half was greater than expected. Beating estimates by about 200 megawatts (2,200 megawatts vs. 2,400 megawatts), first half installations expanded by 26 percent. Of course, only 45 megawatts of offshore wind was added in the first half, which came below estimates. The shortfall is primarily the result of connection delays. These connection delays are expected to result in Germany’s 10 gigawatt target to be reached later than expected – likely by 2020. Still, 10 gigawatts of offshore wind in less than eight years is nothing to trivialize.

  • Siemens (NYSE:SI) has announced that it has secured its first contract to build a 270 megawatt wind farm in Australia. The new power plant is expected to be online by 2014, and when completed, will provide electricity for 180,000 homes.

  • US firm RenuEn Corporation has just announced that it has secured a 50 megawatt solar project in Pakistan. This project will be managed by a foreign operating subsidiary, which is joining RenuEn upon closing of the acquisition. A 25-year power purchase agreement is in place, with the government of Pakistan being the power purchaser.

August 2: ABB (NYSE:ABB) Lands $55 Million Transmission Deal in Brazil

  • ABB (NYSE:ABB) announced this morning that it has landed a $55 million substation and transmission infrastructure deal in Brazil. Brazil is actively building out its wind power capacity with plans to install 7 gigawatts over the next five years. This will be in addition to the 1.5 gigawatts currently installed. I’m bullish on ABB right now and think at current levels, the stock is undervalued.

  • Frost & Sullivan has recently reported that the number of electric car charging stations in the U.S. could reach 4.1 million by 2017. Today there are about 10,000 publicly-available charging stations. If this isn’t monumental growth, I don’t what is. And it speaks volumes about where this industry is heading, despite what the partisan slaves and naysayers would like you to believe.

  • For some of India’s rural poor, solar saved the day during those massive blackouts last week. This, according to David Biello from Scientific American who wrote, “some of the formerly energy poor – rural subcontinent – found themselves better off than their middle-class compatriots during the recent blackouts, thanks to village homes outfitted with photovoltaic panels. In fact, solar power helped keep some electric pumps supplying water for fields parched by an erratic monsoon this year.” It’s worth noting that India has plenty of reason to embrace solar. For one, it’s becoming harder and harder for India to secure coal supplies. As reported in the Economist, by 2017, domestic coal production in India will meet only 73% of demand. The country’s already spent $7 billion over the past six years acquiring outside coal pits in Australia and Africa. Now there are a lot of folks in India who rely on diesel-powered generators, too. But with higher diesel prices, it actually costs more to run those generators compared to solar. And of course, for a country that was ranked as having the world’s unhealthiest air pollution, according to a Yale study, a little extra solar is certainly going make breathing a lot easier.

August 6: Is First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) Moving to India?

  • General Electric (NYSE:GE) announced today that it will be partnering with Enel Green Power (OTC:ENLAY) to provide about $156 million in common equity for one of Minnesota’s largest wind farms. As is no surprise, this wind farm will be using GE turbines. GE actually owns 51 percent of this 200 MW wind farm now under construction in southern Minnesota. When completed, it will help the state of Minnesota reach its 25 percent renewable energy goals by 2025. With this deal in place, GE’s total wind portfolio is now just shy of 10 full gigawatts.

  • Looks like First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) may be considering manufacturing in India, according to a recent piece in The Hindu. During an earnings conference, First Solar CEO Jim Hughes said in regards to India, “Ultimately, if the kind of visible demand that we expect develops in that market, that is likely a market where we would look to put manufacturing in place.” We’ve discussed the rise of solar in India in the past, and continue to believe India could soon prove to be one of the most lucrative solar markets on the planet. You can read more about that here.

  • To date, the U.S. military has ponied up for 168 road-capable plug-in electric cars. But according to an Air Force spokeswoman, more are on the way. Yes, while partisan slaves and dim-witted naysayers continue to attack the development of electric cars – you know, those things that help us displace an enormous amount of foreign oil and help bolster national security, the military remains quite bullish on electric cars.

  • While the future may not be so bright for the wind energy production tax credit, wind power that is already installed in the United States continues to show its immense value. According to Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL), Colorado’s largest utility, on April 15, nearly 57% of the electricity that was generated in the Centennial State came from wind power. Xcel has credited the record with new advances in technology, including an update of its weather forecasting ability and an upgrade of software the utility uses to control its wind farms and fossil fuel plants.

August 8: China Rescues A123 Systems (NASDAQ:AONE)

  • A123 Systems (NASDAQ:AONE) has announced that it landed a $450 million financing deal with a Chinese auto parts maker. This infusion will likely help the company stay afloat at a time when it continues to bleed cash. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a fan of the company, but I’m still not convinced that AONE can swim upstream against the reality of cost advantages boasted by foreign competitors. Still, today’s news catapulted the stock from yesterday’s close of $0.47 to almost $0.60 in pre-market. It’ll be interesting to see how the stock does today.

  • In an effort to cut its $4 billion annual energy bill and to lessen the potential of blackouts, the Defense Department is working with developers to build solar and wind farms on 16 million acres of open land that currently surrounds military bases. According to a recent DoD study, the lands that surround military bases in Southern California alone could generate seven gigawatts of power. That’s the equivalent of seven nuclear reactors, or enough to power more than five million homes.

  • Although sales of SUVs have fallen over the past few years, mostly due to the fact that it can cost well over $100 to fill one up, Americans still love these vehicles. It’s why smaller, crossover SUVs continue to sell. And to make sure the electric car segment doesn’t miss out on an opportunity to convert internal combustion lovers to electric, a number of automakers are electrifying SUVs. Toyota has its new RAV4 EV, which goes on sale this month, and Ford’s new C-Max Energi comes in both conventional hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric. The conventional hybrid model delivers a stellar 47 mpg and the electric model offers the highest electric-only speed of any plug-in hybrid on the road. So is this the new trend in vehicle design for SUVs? Brad Berman from dives into thi