QUICK NEWS, 4-28: PRES BOOSTS NEW ENERGY; A BIG SUN BUY-IN CHANCE; FEDS FUND EFFICIENT HOMES; CLEANER CLEANING
PRES BOOSTS NEW ENERGY
Obama backs renewable energy amid oil hikes
April 23, 2011 (AFP)
"Taking issue with a Republican budget proposal that calls for steep cuts in energy programs, President Barack Obama said on Saturday that higher gas prices require investments in renewable energy…In his weekly address, Obama also called again for an end to the $4 billion in tax breaks the oil and gas industry receives each year…
"Rising gasoline prices are expected to be a crucial factor in next year's presidential election, and Obama has ramped up his public statements on the issue…[He recently announced] a Department of Justice working group that will probe oil price fraud and speculation…The oil and gas industry's billions in tax subsidies were also singled out for criticism during [his] State of the Union address…"
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"The Republican budget plan, aimed at dramatically reducing the country's $14 trillion deficit, calls for steep cuts in transportation and energy, including slashing by 70 percent a Department of Energy loan guarantee program that supports renewable energy like wind farms and solar installations."
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"The Obama budget calls for a 70 percent increase in spending for renewable fuels…[to create] jobs and opportunities…
"Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns, in his Republican rebuttal to Obama's address, said the idea that government policies could create job growth ‘misses the point entirely’…[because job creation] ‘starts with our businesses, especially our small businesses’…"
A BIG SUN BUY-IN CHANCE
BrightSource Files for $250M IPO: A Closer Look; Another greentech IPO aspirant with massive VC and DOE loan funding, negligible sales, big losses, and uncertain costs. And beware the desert tortoise, my son, the jaws that bite, the claws that catch.
Eric Wesoff, April 25, 2011 (Greentech Media)
"BrightSource Energy just filed for a $250 million initial public offering…The big question is: Do public markets and institutional investors have the stomach for a low-revenue, non-profitable, capital intensive energy firm with a technology unproven at scale -- plus, a tortoise problem?
"…BrightSource (BSE) is a utility-scale solar thermal player with massive funding from private equity sources and U.S. DOE loan guarantees…[It uses] an air-cooled 'power tower' architecture in which vast arrays of mirrors or 'heliostats' focus sunlight at a central elevated boiler, producing steam and powering a turbine."
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"Late last month Alstom, the French power plant firm, invested $201 million into BrightSource -- bringing the firm's total VC funding to $530 million…Separately, BrightSource has secured substantial sums for their flagship Ivanpah project…With a total project cost of $2,180 million, the US DOE Loan Guarantee program is to provide loans worth $1.6 billion, NRG has committed up to $300 million in equity, and earlier this month Google committed $168 million…The balance will be contributed by BSE and Bechtel.
"BrightSource has signed 14 power purchase agreements (PPAs) to deliver approximately 2.6 gigawatts of installed capacity to two of the largest electric utilities in the U.S., PG&E, and Southern California Edison…[estimated] as $4 billion of revenue opportunity…Ivanpah is the first project…[It] will have a gross installed capacity of 392 megawatts and a net output of 370 megawatts…"
A 12 megawatt market is projected for the next decade. (from Greentech Media Research - click to enlarge
"According to the S-1 [IPO filing], BSE has a development site portfolio of approximately 110,000 acres under their control in California and the U.S. Southwest, with the potential to accommodate approximately 11 gigawatts of installed capacity…BrightSource has lost a cumulative $177.3 million since its inception with debt and financial obligations totaling $1.8 billion…Total revenue for the firm over the last three years was $32.2 million…[primarily] from Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) applications…
"According to the S-1, VantagePoint Venture Partners is the majority controlling interest in Brightsource. VantagePoint holds 24.9 percent of BrightSource’s stock, Alstom has a 17.8 percent share, Morgan Stanley has a 10.5 percent share, and Draper Fisher Jurvetson owns 6.7 percent of the company. The company has had five funding rounds…[It also has environmental challenges]…[unspecified PPA pricing]…[and a protential transmission access obstacle]… So, should you invest your nest egg in BrightSource shares?"
FEDS FUND EFFICIENT HOMES
U.S. helps homeowners get loans to improve energy efficiency
Wendy Koch, April 24, 2011 (USA Today)
"…U.S. homeowners [with good credit scores, manageable debt and some equity in their homes] are now eligible for up to $25,000 in federally insured [PowerSaver loans at or below market rates] to make energy-efficient upgrades such as adding [new HVAC systems, water heaters, solar panels and geothermal heating/cooling,] insulation, sealing ducts or replacing windows…
"Eighteen regional and national lenders, including Quicken, have signed on to the two-year pilot program, said Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan…Donovan said he expects the loans will serve about 30,000 homeowners and will not only save them money on energy bills but also reduce pollution and create at least 3,000 construction jobs."
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"The loans are part of the Obama administration’s broader efforts to improve home energy efficiency…In November, Vice President Biden announced a pilot program to test a new Home Energy Score [similar to the miles-per-gallon label for cars], which ranks a home’s energy efficiency on a scale of 1 to 10…[It] will tell consumers how their homes compare with others and how much money they could save with efficiency upgrades based on an energy audit…"
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"…David Kreutzer, an energy expert at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based research group often critical of President Obama’s environmental policies…[said] only homeowners who could qualify for normal home-equity loans will likely meet the lending criteria, which include a credit score of at least 660 and a mortgage balance that’s less than 45% of their annual income…[and called this] ‘a program to subsidize home improvements for those who don’t need subsidies…”
"Donovan said the Home Energy Score could help prove the payback for various upgrades,and the PowerSaver loans could expand demand for them that will prompt greater private investment…The Federal Housing Administration will cover up to 90% of the loans’ amount in the case of default, leaving the remaining risk to the lenders..."
ACI Unveils Cleaning Product Industry Sustainability Report
April 13, 2011 (American Cleaning Institute)
"The first-ever sustainability report for the U.S. cleaning products industry – released by the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI, formerly The Soap and Detergent Association) – showcases…a common set of sustainability-related metrics relevant to both its consumer packaged goods and raw material supplier members…20 member companies (representing 73 percent of ACI’s dues-assessed member product sales) participated [in ACI’s Sustainability Metrics Project]…
"…[The ACI 2011 Sustainability Report] summarizes data on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), energy use, water use and solid waste associated with U.S. production of cleaning products."
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"Among the project’s findings… Between 2007 and 2009, total energy use, which includes electricity, steam and fuel used by stationary combustion sources, decreased by approximately 18% per ton of production… Between 2007 and 2009, the rate of GHG emission per unit of production decreased by approximately 25%, reflecting applied practices to reduce GHG emissions among member companies…
"… Water use decreased approximately 10% per unit of production between 2007 and 2009…[and, 4] Waste generation per unit of production decreased between 2008 and 2009, but increased by approximately 2% overall between 2007 and 2009…[due] largely to an increase in waste by a company whose overall waste generation is an order of magnitude higher than the other[s]…"
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"Besides the sustainability metrics data, the Report features snapshots of many ACI member company sustainability efforts and a profile of ACI’s social and environmental sustainability programs and activities…
"Under ACI’s Principles for Sustainability, a sustainability definition is laid out for the cleaning products industry: The ability to improve the quality of life for this and future generations, by creating products that promote hygiene and cleanliness, are environmentally sound, and are economically successful…"