Climate Change

November 22, 2010

Voracious Surging Coal Demand in India and China Defeats Climate Change Mitigation Efforts

Coal Demand continues to grow at steep pace in India and China defeating the efforts of Climate Change Activists in the Developed World.Building a Thermal Power Project in Europe and USA has become exceedingly difficult due to concerns of the detrimental health,air quality and pollution effects of Coal Derived Electricity and Heat.Coal is considered as the Dirtiest Form of Fossil Fuel Energy making it a prime target in Climate Change Fighting Efforts.However China with around 3 Billion Tons of Coal Consumption and India with another 500 million Tons depend on King Coal for majority of their Energy Needs.While China generates 80% of its Electricity from Coal,India generates around 65%.While both countries have Huge Reserves and Production of Coal,their voracious demand is leading to surging imports.These Imports are being sourced from countries like Australia,Canada and USA which are going through Coal Mining Booms.Ports are getting congested as Infrastructure failed to meet the growing coal needs of India and China.
November 16, 2010

Why are India and Bangladesh Economic and Political Relations Strengthening

India's Relations with its Neighbours in South Asia has mostly been strained despite sharing a common history and culture.While China and Pakistan remains India's topmost concerns with 4 wars being fought with these 2 countries in the last 65 years,the other smaller neighbours have not always been too friendly.However things seem to be improving with Bangladesh which is completely encircled by India on 3 sides.Bangladesh has viewed Big Brother India with suspicion despite India playing a crucial role in Bangladesh's Liberation from Pakistan during 1971.However the Bonhomie since 1971 was lost as subsequent military rulers and the BNP ruled coalition viewed India as an adversary.However the coming back to power of Shiekh Hasina led AWP has put India and Bangladesh on a new level.The reasons behind India-Bangladesh closeness are due to
November 13, 2010

Why do Reputed Consultants like BCG remain Blind and Ignorant to Solar PV Advances and Competitiveness

Solar PV Technology have made a huge advance in the last 2-3 years leading to a demand explosion with more than 100% growth forecast this year.Crystalline PV Technology as well as Thin Film Technology like CIGs and CdTe have reduced their costs drastically.While Solar PV still requires generous government subsidies for their growth,grid parity has come very close.Solar PV Technology has become economically competitive in parts of Italy where a unique combination of high electricity rates and sunshine have made Solar PV Technology very attractive.Costs are being reduced at more than 10% per year which would make Solar PV competitive in 2-3 years in most parts of the world.However mainstream and reputed forecasters and companies like Boston Consulting Group remain blind and ignorant to this.BCG in a recent report has said that biofuels and Concentrated Solar Thermal (CSP) Technology will become competitive.I have issues with both of these technologies.
November 13, 2010

Transport Policy or Lack of One Heading India towards Disaster on Pollution and Congestion

4) Parking Fights - Most of Indian cities are unplanned without any parking for most houses.This leads to a huge problem in terms of illegal parking.Even Legal Parking sees fights between neighbours leading to fights and sometimes even deaths.With thousands and millions of car hitting the roads every day and month,the problem is growing even more acute.No solution in sight as Indian politicians happily line up their pockets in corruption scams. Summary India's Transport Policy is a total mess with no solution in sight.Public Transport is not given enough money or resources to make a difference while Indian auto companies are making huge profits.Construction of the recent Metro Railway to Delhi's satellite city of Gurgaon has already been filled to capacity not reducing the pressure on the main highways which remain chock a block with cars 24 hours a day.India needs to massively invest in public infrastructure and dis-incentivize private modes of infrastructure like cars through congestion and fuel taxes.
October 28, 2010

Pennsylvania Risks becoming a Guinea Pig for Big Oil and Gas which has turned the State into one Giant Shale Gas Well

Pennsylvania is the Ground Zero for Shale Gas Development globally with more  than 2500 Gas Wells in Operation.The State is situated on top of the Marcellus […]
October 25, 2010

First Wind Holdings Review and Analysis – Pure Play USA Green Utility IPO looks a risky leveraged bet

Wind Energy Companies in the Developed Markets have taken it on the chin in 2010.Companies dependent on the Wind Energy Markets in the West like Vestas,Gamesa,Suzlon,Iberdola Renewables etc. have had a very bad 2010 as their stocks price keep finding new lows.A Combination of Tough Financing Markets,Low Gas Prices and Declining Electricity Demand has made the livers of Wind Executives hellish in recent times.More competition in terms of Chinese heavyweights like Sinovel,Goldwind and Koean shipbuidlers precludes an easy recovery.Green IPOs in recent times have faced huge volatility with some managing success while others have led to huge losses.China's Ming Yang Power which is a Chinese Turbine Manufacturer has seen a 30% erosion of its IPO stock price of $14 as it was priced a tad too aggressively.First Wind which is a bit different being a Wind Energy Developer similar to renewable energy developers like Enel Green Power,EDF Novellas might face a frosty reception as well.Its not a good time to be in the wind energy business as increasing competition and declining demand cause problems.Note John Deere sold off its Renewable Energy Arm for a bargain as US Climate Change Legislation seems stuck in an everlasting limbo.Without a Federal RPS and an expiring 30% Treasury Cash Grant for Wind Farms,2011 is very uncertain for Wind Energy in the USA.
October 25, 2010

Green India Funding by Annual Billion Dollar Coal Tax a Good Move

India hopes to derive annual revenues of more than $1 billion dollars from a new coal tax it has introduced.These revenues will go to a proposed Green Bank which will fund Green Energy Projects and R&D in the Country.While initially the funds will be managed by the government's financial agency IREDA,later on a full fledged Green Bank will be managing the annual $1 Billion Coal Tax.Note Coal is the biggest Energy Source for India and China.Both countries are trying to diversify their dependence from Coal as it is the dirtiest form of energy.However the cheapness and abundance has made coal indispensable to the voracious energy requirements of both countries.Coal India Limited (CIL) which came out with an IPO recently was a resounding success in India showing that investors believe that Coal will contiue to grow and dominate the Energy Scene in India.
October 21, 2010

Soybean and Rice Prices Rise in Empathy with Corn and Wheat to make new records

Food Prices are rising at an incredible pace around the world due to a combination of money printing by the USA and Bad Weather in Russia and Asia.The major cause of the Food Price Increase has been the global rush towards investing in commodities as currencies get devalued by countries eager to increase exports in a zero sum game.Wheat Prices were the first to rise after Russia stopped exports leading to the sharpest gain in the last 2 years.Corn prices have increased with increased demand from ethanol,bad harvests and relentless QE.Rice and Soybean prices were bound to rise in empathy with other grain prices.Note these two food varieties are substitutes of corn and wheat.So it makes sense for speculators and consumers to increase the demand for these 2 commodities as well. Rice Price Increase after Flooding in Biggest Exporters Rice Prices have shown a record increase after floods sharply reduced output in the 2 main exporter Vietnam and Thailand.With inventories being sharply cut and harvests going down it is not much of a surprise.Rice importing countries like Philippines will be badly hit as their per capita income is quite low and they have a large poor population highly sensitive to increasing food prices.Expect 2011 to be a Hunger Year for a large chunk of the world's population thanks to Ben Bernake and print his way to prosperity team.
October 20, 2010

South Asia and Africa to Face the Worst Effects of Global Warming

According to a report from Maplecroft,India and Bangladesh are the countries most at risk from the deleterious effects of Climate Change.The other countries in South Asia like Nepal,Myanmar,Pakistan are not far behind.Maldives the smallest country in South Asia is the heaviest in danger with its very existence at stake.Next in the list are African countries like Mozambique,Madagascar and others from Global Warming Changes like Droughts,Floods,Submersion etc.Note Climate Change has faced massive setbacks in recent time with the failure of the Copenhagen meet and not much chance of success with the next Cancun meet.USA and China the two biggest emitters of GHGs have been reluctant to move forward in the the Climate Change issue.Note the poorest countries are the most vulnerable to climate change and they have the least voice in climate change talks.Rich countries like Saudi Arabia have even blocked studies on climate change by poor island nations.
October 18, 2010

After Vedanta,Posco's Giant Steel Project could face the Indian Environmental Axe

India's Massively Growing Industry is clashing head-on with the Environment leading to huge fissures.There have been numerous clashes already with many of the mega industrial projects being cancelled or shifted.Tata Motor's Nano Project in Singur,West Bengal was probably the most famous project to be scrapped after a huge people's uprising due to loss of land and livelihood.Unlike China,where industry manages to always win over people's protests,it is not that easy in India's Democracy.Orissa recently saw Vedanta Resources Bauxite Mining Project cancelled over loss of tribal sacred land loss concerns.This was a huge victory for India's environmentalists as officials and companies were found breaking forest and environment laws.Now POSCO which has been trying to build a $12 Billion Steel Plant in the Mineral Rich State of Eastern India finds that Green Approvals given might be cancelled by a panel of government experts.Note the POSCO project was stopped recently pending an environmental assessment whose report will be published on Oct 25.Despite hectic lobbying by POSCO and the provincial Orissa government,the project looks set for more delays.Note the Steel Plant which was started in 2005 is already way behind schedule.
October 14, 2010

Coal India IPO – Comprehensive News,Facts,Overview,Opinions,Price,Size and Analysis

Coal India IPO the biggest primary market-raising company in the history of the markets has raised a huge amount of investor interest.The investor is barraged with […]
October 11, 2010

Abu Dhabi Lowers its Green Ambitions Further as Reality Humbles MultiBillion Dollar Zero Carbon Dreams

Abu Dhabi has got the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world with asset of over $600 Billion.The small emirate which is a part of the larger United Arab Emirates is one of the richest countries in the world due to its Oil Riches.The country had made ambitious Renewable Energy Plans setting up a Fund/Company dedicated to its Green Ambitions called Masdar.The Company has faced a number of reverses as it tried a number of things all at once in a new industry.Its "Jack of All Trades" Strategy has proven to be a failure as it lost/fired a number of top executives.Its Solar Plans have also come up a cropper as Thin Film Technology has faced a lot of reverses in recent times.The Company has tried to change tactics by concentrating now on Solar Thermal Technology partnering with Abengoa and Total in building a CSP plant near Abu Dhabi.With its Renewable Energy Arm facing a number of reverses,its plan for a futuristic,zero carbon Green Masdar City has also been scaled down.
October 11, 2010

Why has Nuclear Energy hit a Wall in the Developed World

Constellation Energy has become the latest USA Utility to cancel its proposed new nuclear energy plant to be built in Maryland.Despite a Loan Guarantee from Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the US Green Stimulus,Constellation has found the economics of the Nuclear Reactors as unworkable.In fact this is keeping with the trend of other utilities in the Developed World who have found New Nuclear to be too expensive.While a number of cyclical factors are at play (Wind Energy has also been affected) in hindering the development of these plants,it seems a secular shift has occured.Finland has become the poster boy of a Nuclear Project Disaster with the main developer Areva bleeding from losses as time and cost overruns have almost doubled.The increaseing costs of environment and safety regulations has increase manifold since the last spurt of nuclear energy construction in the 1980s.The Nuclear Renaissance has proven to be a complete failure in the Western Countries.While China continues with its aggressive Nuclear Expansion plans,construction in the US has come to a virtual halt.Exelon which is the largest Nuclear Energy Operator in the USA has also halted developed of 2 new reactors in Texas.These Utilities have said that they need much higher energy prices and a carbon tax before going ahead with reaction construction.Note Exelon recently bought a Wind Energy Operator as Solar/Wind become the favored Green Energy choices.
October 11, 2010

Risks and Negatives with Highly Rated Coal India IPO

Coal India is coming out with India's biggest IPO offering in the Stock Market History.The company seems fundamentally strong on almost all aspects and is also pricing itself at a significant discount to its global peers.Both superficially and deep down,the analysis points CIL to be a very safe investment at a cheap valuation.Other analysts are also coming to the same conclusion,as Rating Agency has given CIL a 5/5 Rating which is probably the first in the history of IPO Grading .In order to give a more balanced perspective and avoid herd tendencies,I am listing out what the risks and negatives are with this company.Note this does not make me negative on the stock on which I am very positively biased.It is just to give investors the other side of the debate which I think general analysis will lack. Despite the above Risks , I think that Coal India is one of the best quality stocks to come out in India's Primary Markets.However investors should be wary of the risks which will be glossed over by the mainstream media and brokerages . As with every investment however safe it might look,there are risks.This does not mean that investors should be fearful of every investment.It is by being aware of the risks,that prudent risk management can be done which is essential to successful investing.
October 7, 2010

Coal India IPO to be priced at a Sharp Discount to Comparable Global Coal Plays sees Huge Investor Demand

Coal India Limited (CIL) is the biggest IPO in the history of the Indian markets.The Company has generated a lot of investor interest because of a number of firsts.It is the largest coal producer in the world in one of the biggest demand growth regions.The company has excellent fundamentals being rated 5/5 by the rating agency.The government has disallowed anchor investors for the IPO as it finds that allocation could be construed as biased.Note Anchor Investors in Indian IPOs are favored investor who are preallocated a fixed amount of shares by investment bankers.This is similar to the US practice where all of the IPO is offered to institutional investors by investment bankers solely on their discretion.India is much more egalitarian in its approach to IPO regulation with a fixed amount 35% reserved for retail investors .The pricing of the issue has been a hot topic of speculation with the expected price range to give it a multiple of around 15x which is around 20-30% cheaper than comparable large US and China coal companies like Massey,Shenhua and others.
October 5, 2010

Green Investing in India – Government to Replace Diesel Usage of Telecom Towers by Renewable Energy

The Government of India has formed a high powered panel to look into replacing the usage of diesel powered gensets by Renewable Energy in Telecom Towers.India has around 300,000 Telecom Towers most of which are powered by expensive diesel generators.The reason is that a lot of the telecom towers are situated in far flung areas where the grid does not exist.Also the power supply in India is erratic and not reliable with 10 hour electricity blackouts not an infrequent occurrence.In these cases a backup supply of electricity supply is badly needed.Diesel Generators are the most popular form with Diesel heavily subsidized by the government in comparison to normal petroleum.Also Diesel Generators are widely available without huge capital costs.
September 23, 2010

TecPro Systems IPO Analysis – Construction Play on India's Power Sector Growth at Reasonable Price

However Tecpro Systems differs from the other 2 IPOs in the sense that it is primarily focused on the Power Sector Space.It is a leader in the ash handling and material handling systems and is currently diversifying into becoming a turnkey provider in this segment.Like other infrastructure players it has seen amazing growth in the last 3 years at around 70%+.Its margins have come down and stabilized at around 7%.Cash Flow have been negative due the breakneck growth and the high WC requirements of the Construction Sector.The valuation does not seem expensive with the promoters diluting around 15% of the company. Summary This EPC company seems a good investment to me though not as good as VA Tech Wabag.The valuation at around 17x P/E is not very expensive though the sector concentration increase the risk for the company.However given the management quality,this company seems a better investment that other construction companies.The growth prospects of the Power Sector in India is huge and Tecpro seems well positioned in this space with partnerships with other major companies like Va Tech Wabag.Though there is some concentration risk,I think Tecpro seems a subscribe.
September 21, 2010

Electrosteel Integrated IPO – Investing in the Parent ECL might be safer way to play

Electrosteel Integrated is coming out with an IPO to raise around $50mm to fund its 2.2 million ton plant in Jharkand,India.The company is promoted by its listed parent Electrosteel Castings which has been running for the past 30 years and is leader in the Ductile Pipe Category.This company will have ECL holding of 34% post IPO with the other major shareholders being a bunch of PE firms and Stemcor.The plant construction will require around $1.5 billion capex out of which around 40% has been already been spent.Debt will be around $1.1 billion mostly at 12.25% interest rate. Summary The company has pluses as well as risks,however the plant should start operating in Oct 2010.While the investment is risky,the valuation being offered is cheap with good promoters.For people looking at lesser risk,ECL the parent company also makes a lot of sense.It is trading at 8x trailing P/E and around 1 P/Bx which is again cheap.It has a 34% share in the new company so will gain from any upside as well.Its investment in the company is Rs 700 crore with a total market cap of around Rs 1600 crore.Not expensive and a safer way to invest in
September 19, 2010

Green Investing Weekly 4 – Top Reads from the Web

Renewable Energy SMA Solar raises revenue guidance a second time: expects PV market to top 17GW in 2010 – PV-Tech Gigawatt scale: CEC approves Solar Millennium’s […]
September 17, 2010

Despite US Govt Apathy,NRG Energy follows Exelon snapping Renewable Utility Green Mountain Energy

NRG Energy is one of the largest utilities in the US with around 22 GW of Installed Capacity.However like Exelon,the share of Renewables is relatively low at just 2% of its overall Energy Capacity.Though the US Administration has all but given up on an Energy and Climate Legislation,Big Utilities recognize the need to generate low carbon electricity.Some sort of Carbon Emissions Restraint will be imposed on Utilities sometime in the future with EPA itching for action in restricting CO2 Emissions.Green Sector Stocks have fallen like a rock in 2010 due to the Copenhagen Disaster and lack of movement on a Climate Bill by the US government.Therefore it makes sense for US utilities to buy Renewable Energy Assets on the Cheap.Exelon bought Deere Energy Wind Farms at a dirt cheap price.NRG Energy which has around 550 MW of Wind and Solar Capacity bought Reliant Energy last year for $300 mm.It has augmented its Renewable Energy Portfolio with another $350mm buy of Green Mountain Energy.
September 16, 2010

Algae Biofuel Startup Solazyme pulls ahead of competition with new investors and contracts

Algae Based Biofuels as a Green Investing Opportunity is still some years away as the technology is still quite nascent.Despite a lot of hoopla and a number of IPO's with synthetic biofuels as business,large scale commercial production and profits are still some time away.However the promise of this technology to revolutionize the Fossil Fuel powered Transportation Sector is Huge.Large Oil and Gas is already positioning itself in a small way to take advantage of this opportunity.Shell has been the biggest investor in Biofuels with a $12 Billion tie up with Brazilian Sugar Giant Cosan.Valero has also smartly invested in a number of biofuel startups despite being one of the strongest opponents of Green Energy.Exxon has only promised huge investments without investing much till date.
September 16, 2010

Greed Blinds OPEC to Climate Change – Says $45 Billion Renewable Energy Subsidies "Unfair" despite $550 Billion Fossil Fuel Global Subsidy

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on its 50th Anniversary has called the Developed Nations Subsidies as "Unfair" and has referred Alternative Energy as the biggest challenge facing the Rich Oil Exporting Nation Cartel.OPEC is being a huge hypocrite as Fossil Fuels Subsides totalled $550 Billion last year which is almost 12x the Subsidies given to Green Energy.However no mention of this fact was said as these Green Subsidies were "not acceptable" OPEC.The OPEC Chief Abdalla el-Badri wanted a level playing field with this nascent Green Energy.OPEC is a 12 Nation Club formed mostly of Middle Eastern Nations who control 80% of the Global Oil Reserves and 33% of the Production.Saudi Arabia is the non-official leader of this Cartel and has been known for its opposition to Climate Change efforts.The other nations too support Saudi Arabia recently blocking a group of Poor Island Nations from accessing climate change data.These Nations have shockingly asked for Aid as Global Warming Concerns reduce the Fossil Fuel Demand.Most of the Middle East Exporters are filthy rich generating huge amounts of cash from the Export of Fossil Fuels.
September 11, 2010

EPA probes Water Contamination from Chemicals used in the Shale Gas Hydraulic Fracking Process

The US Congress had got into the act in 2009 through 2 Bills to regulate the Hydraulic Fracking Process and told EPA to study the process.The Stakes are high for the Oil and Gas Companies as Shale Gas represent a Huge Opportunity.North America has been a pioneer in this Technology with Shale Gas Extraction expected to spread rapidly in different parts of the world.The EPA Study and US Regulations will be watched closely by other countries which are formulating their own regulations in this regard.
September 8, 2010

Government to give $500 million Performance Incentive to Greenest Indian States

India’s Powerful Central Planning Commission has decided to give $500 million from next year to Indian States making the most Progress in Going Green.The Agency has […]
September 7, 2010

China's Authorities wake up to Energy Efficiency Targets through ad hoc Electricity Cuts,Plant Closures and Increased Tariffs

The country also has a 20% Energy Efficiency Improvement Plan for 2006-2010 which it is almost sure to miss.China energy reduction plans have gone haywire due its fast growing economy's dependence on fossil fuels.China has recently talked of increasing the percentage of Renewables to 15% by 2020 from the single digit figure now but the progress of Energy Efficiency has been not upto the mark.China's Energy Efficiency in fact decreased in the first half of 2010 instead of increasing.This decrease is due to the breakneck industrialization occurring in Chinese provinces determined to outdo each other in the Growth Game.Diktats by the Central Party Leadership have failed to rein in the provinces.
September 5, 2010

India to make Environmental Protection an Integral Part of the new Shale Gas Policy

Shale Gas Extraction has seen doubts being raised against its Environmental Safety Record.This new form of Fossil Fuel Extraction has seen a Gold Rush from Global Oil and Gas Majors looking to tap into this major new Energy Form.In the initial helter and skelter,environmental norms have been bypassed.Recently a NGO blamed regulators and companies of illegally diverting millions of tons of water in Pennsylvania.India's Biggest Private Company Relaince Industries has invested a huge amount in acquiring Shale Gas Assets in order to assimilate this Technology. The Indian government is writing a new Shale Gas Policy as India is said to have geographical formations with potential Shale Gas Deposits.
September 1, 2010

Coal India Limited (CIL) IPO – In Depth Analysis of India's Largest IPO shows it to be a Safe Investment at Cheap Valuation

Coal India Limited (CIL) would be a safe stock to invest in if it priced in the indicated manner that is a $33 Billion Market Capitalization.This stock won't be a multi bagger but would offer decent price appreciation with almost no downside risks.At trailing P/E of 15x and 3 year average trailing P/E of 20x,the company is not expensive given its competitive strengths.Its dividend yield would be around 1.5% with growth of around ~10-12%.However if you exclude $8.5 Billion in Cash,then the stock seems cheap at around trailing P/E of 11x.It has a P/B of 6x and P/S of around 3x.With its ASP being at a 65% Discount to the International Price,the Company has a huge moat around its business model and I would recommend it as a Buy.
September 1, 2010

Empire Building through Unrelated Expensive Acquisitions make Reliance Industries Stock Underperform

Reliance Industries is known to have one of the smartest management teams in the country.The Reliance Group led by Mukesh Ambani is well connected with proven record in executing huge projects in the Oil and Gas Arena.However outside of their core competence,the Group has suffered.Its Retail Entry has not been much of a success despite big bucks being poured in the last 3-4 years.It entry into marketing of oil based fuels has also meandered without going anywhere.Now the Reliance Group has announced an entry into the Hotels Sector by acquiring a 14% stake in East India Hotels at a significant premium over the market price from the promoter Group.This ~$220 million investment is totally unrelated to Reliance's activities and make no strategic sense.
August 25, 2010

Climate Change Advocate Norway subsidizes Fossil Fuels Five times more than Renewable Energy

Norway has been hailed as the toughest cutter of Greenhouse Gas Emissions amongst the devloped countries promising to cut Carbon Emissions by  30-40% by 2020 from […]
August 23, 2010

Reliance's Strategy in Acquiring Shale Gas Assets is to Assimilate Extraction Technology

Reliance's Strategy in Shale Gas makes a lot of sense.The Technology is but new and unproven on a long time scale.There have been concerns about the environment impact of Shale Gas Extraction.Also low Gas Prices due to the GFC has made the industry growth slowdown.This is a good time to buy Shale Gas Assets relatively cheaply as Economic Recovery will again see Fossil Fuel Prices heading up.