De-Carbonizing Electricity – Will King Coal Finally Be Dethroned?

Charles Morand Last Friday, the WSJ's Environmental Capital blog noted how, according to HSBC, growing government efforts to de-carbonize the electricity supply across the developed world would hurt makers of power generation technology with high exposure to coal. Yesterday, the EIA released its Electric Power Monthly report for April 2009. In it, the agency notes the following: The drop in coal-fired generation was the largest absolute fuel-specific decline from April 2008 to April 2009 as it fell by 20,551 thousand megawatthours, or 13.9 percent  The April decline was the third consecutive month of historically large drops...

Sol-Wind: New Yieldco With A Tax Twist

By Tim Conneally The pool of public solar yieldcos keeps growing. Just before the Christmas holiday, Sol-Wind Renewable Power LP filed for a $100 million initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This will be the eighth Yieldco to debut since 2013, and the stock will trade on the NYSE under the symbol SLWD. But there's something different about this one. Sol-Wind is a yieldco that utilizes a Master Limited Partnership (MLP) structure, so it will be taxed differently from the other Yieldcos. Generally speaking, a Yieldco is similar to MLPs by nature, but the taxation...

Brookfield Renewable Energy Likely To Vote Against Western Wind Management in Proxy Battle

Tom Konrad CFA When it emerged that Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners (“Brookfield”, TSX:BRP.UN, OTC: BRPFF) had acquired approximately one sixth of Western Wind Energy’s (TSXV:WND, OTC:WNDEF) stock last Thursday from Western Wind’s largest institutional shareholder, Goodman & Company, investors cheered. The transaction was seen as a signal that Brookfield intends to bid at least C$2.25 for Western Wind in its upcoming sale, and so the company’s stock has been trading for slightly more than C$2.25 since the announcement. Despite this, the Brookfield/Goodman transaction may not prove to be a good deal for Western Wind’s other shareholders.  Goodman had not...

Alterra Power: Cash to Invest

Tom Konrad CFA I sometimes think Alterra Power (TSX:AXY, OTC:MGMXF) is unfairly lumped with other small, renewable energy developers. A typical problem for small developers over the last few years has been raising the funds to invest, even when they have compelling prospects.  For instance, Western Wind Energy stock (TSX:WND,OTC:WNDEF) has been beat up recently because a large Federal cash grant is delayed.  Finavera Wind Energy (TSXV:FVR, OTC:FNVRF) has been declining for most of the year as they look for a strategic partner to help fund their permitted wind developments, despite significant progress permitting those projects and...

What to Make of the TXU Deal?

Last weekend, TXU Corporation (NYSE: TXU) made the stunning announcement that it would be acquired by two private equity giants Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Texas Pacific Group (TPG) in a transaction valued at $45 billion. Press release Two things leap out at me from the announced deal. First, the investors are willing to pay a 25% premium over the recent share price, while at the same time committing to a 10% rate reduction for TXU's residential electricity customers in Texas. KKR and TPG are no dummies: it must mean that they truly think...

My Yieldco Raised Its Dividend With This Weird Trick

Tom Konrad CFA Clean energy yieldcos buck the general trend by paying out a large proportion of cash flow to investors, and rapidly increasing their dividends at the same time.  The key to this trick has been their rapidly appreciating stock prices. High yield companies generally grow slowly, while high growth companies have low dividend yields. Normal companies grow by investing some profits in new business opportunities.  Early stage growth companies typically retain all their earnings to invest in new business.  More mature companies have fewer opportunities, and so share a larger proportion of...

Power REIT: Good if They Lose, Much Better if They Win

Tom Konrad CFA It’s Good to be Small Small investors have an advantage over big hedge funds and other professional investors: They don’t have as much money. Why is not having much money an advantage?  It allows us to invest in stocks that large investors simply cannot touch because of lack of liquidity.  If a stock only trades $50,000 worth of shares a day, a even a relatively small $50 million dollar hedge fund would have to buy all of the shares traded for two weeks just to allocate 1% to the stock, and would have...

SunEdison Spinning Yieldcos

by Debra Fiakas CFA Two weeks ago TerraForm Global, Inc. filed yet another amendment to its S-1 registration statement as the SunEdison, Inc. (SUNE:  NYSE) spinout grinds forward with its initial public offering.  TerraForm is a collection of SunEdison’s renewable energy properties, primarily its solar, wind and hydro-electric power generation facilities around the world.  The current portfolio sums up to over 1,400 megawatts in total generating capacity, of which over 900 are spoken for through power purchase commitments that cover the next 19 years.    On a pro forma basis, the assets produced $298.9 million in total revenue, providing...

Yin and Yang of Yield for Abengoa

by Debra Fiakas CFA   The atmosphere started getting uncomfortably hot for power developer Abengoa SA (ABGB:  Nasdaq)  in early August last year  -  and it was not just the seasonal high temperatures in the company’s home town of Seville, Spain.  Management had finally admitted that operations could not generate as much cash as previously expected, causing worries about Abengoa’s ability to meet debt obligations.  At the heart of the company’s cash flow woes is the reversal of Spain’s policies on solar power that has reduced subsidies and feed-in tariffs for solar power producers. In August 2015,...

Focus On Clean Power Income Trusts

Last week, Tom brought you a piece on the Algonquin Power Income Fund (AGQNF.PK), in which he opined that shift in investor attention away from capital gains toward yield might eventually provide a catalyst for the prices of yield-focused securities such as income trusts to rise. So-called utility trusts, or income trusts where the underlying corporation is engaged in utility activities such as power generation, are a common feature of the Canadian income trust sector (the mother of all income trust sectors). A sub-set of utility trusts is the clean power utility trust, where the power generation...

Western Wind Expects Full Cash Grant for Windstar

Tom Konrad CFA The Windstar Wind Farm. Photo credit: Western Wind Energy On July 10, shares of Western Wind Energy (TSX:WND, OTC:WNDEF)plummeted because of a $12.2 million shortfall in the 1603 cash grant from the US Treasury for the company’s Windstar wind farm compared to the application.  In order to reassure skittish investors, the company held a conference call on Monday, July 16. On the tenth, I thought that investors should write off the 1603 cash grant shortfall, despite the fact that the company intended to send a delegation...
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