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American Superconductor Corporation Message Board

barrygeo 61 posts  |  Last Activity: Sep 18, 2014 6:04 PM Member since: Oct 8, 2004
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  • Google the following for the article:

    Calm down, uranium is a conversation Australia needs to have

    From the editorial:

    Unsurprisingly, the reports and the commentary surrounding them drove significant global media coverage. And rightly so. The UN's IPCC reports are important documents with serious warnings about climate change.

    But in between these two reports, the UN also produced another important document on the environment that went almost completely unremarked by the green movement.

    On 2 April, the UN's Scientific Committee on the effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) released its report to the General Assembly on the effects of radiation exposure from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident.

    The report's remarkable conclusion may help explain why the environment movement was not so keen to talk about it.

    UNSCEAR found that "no radiation-related deaths or acute diseases have been observed among the workers and general public exposed to radiation from the accident".

    It also found that "no discernible increased incidence of radiation-related health effects are expected among exposed members of the public or their descendants".

    There has been years of scare-mongering from nuclear energy's opponents about the Fukushima nuclear accident — which was unquestionably a serious event with continuing implications.

    Regrettably, anti-nuclear campaigners continue with overblown, cataclysmic rhetoric about nuclear energy that flies in the face of inconvenient facts such as those produced by UNSCEAR.

  • Beijing's rejection of a global shipping alliance to protect mainland companies navigating a choppy market will probably end up hurting cargo firms' earnings, including its own.

    The Commerce Ministry's announcement spiking a deal between the world's top three container carriers - known as the P3 and led by Copenhagen-based AP Moeller-Maersk - may undermine recovery in an industry still feeling the 2008 financial crisis.

    Overcapacity and low charter rates are likely to stay, jeopardising earnings, including at China Cosco Holdings and China Shipping Container Lines, the country's two biggest.

    "This is less about the regulator trying to instil fair play in container shipping," said Jon Windham, Barclays Asia transport analyst. "It is a move to protect domestic players in China, vis-a-vis international players. The status quo in container shipping is not working."

    China's rejection of P3 comes after the United States Federal Maritime Commission approved the alliance in March and the European Commission closed an antitrust probe this month.

    The Ministry of Commerce said the P3 vessel-sharing alliance would "restrict competition" on the busiest Asia-Europe container routes.

    China's move "is a hollow victory for Asian liners", said Paul Dewberry, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "This commoditised, fragmented and loss-making industry is in need of P3-type development to force consolidation. The resulting abandonment of P3 by its members will ultimately only prolong the current industry slump."

    Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping and CMA CGM agreed in June last year to establish an operational pact with the aim of reducing costs on Asia-Europe, transatlantic and transpacific routes. Container lines have been battling industry overcapacity after a boom in ship orders collided with the global financial crisis, triggering the worst slump since containerisation became global in the 1970s.

  • China renewable giants warn Abbott over renewable changes

    Two of China’s – and the world’s – biggest renewable energy manufacturers have called out the Australian Government for the instability surrounding the Renewable Energy Target, and warned it over sovereign risk.

    Yingli Green Energy and Goldwind Australia, Chinese based solar and wind providers respectively, have written submissions to the RET review panel highlighting not only the impact the RET has on domestic operation but also international strategic decisions.

    Goldwind Australia, the largest wind turbine supplier in the Chinese market and the second largest in the world, said it had set up business in Australia due to the attractiveness of the RET, and its bipartisan support. It has almost $400 million of projects built or nearly complete within Australia and a further $800 million in the pipeline.

    Goldwind used Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s own words – at a recent Australia Week lunch in Shangai, China in April of this year – to defend the target.

    Here is what Goldwind quoted Abbott as saying at the time.

    “Few are aware that total Chinese investment in Australia, at about $60 billion, is only a little less than total Chinese investment in the United States. Far more than trade, investment in another country is a sign of trust. You don’t put your hard-earned cash into another country unless you are absolutely certain that your investment will be respected ..."

    Goldwind said that it was one of the Chinese investors “that have trusted the Australian investment environment.” It noted: “A key factor in foreign investment decisions is consideration of country risk and the ability to rely on the country law.”

    Goldwind, which has 19,000MW of wind across the world, said it has established offices in Sydney and Melbourne, and had nearly 40 employees in Australia. Finance for its project had come mostly from China, but the majority of suppliers came from Australia.

  • barrygeo by barrygeo Jun 23, 2014 6:09 PM Flag

    Interesting write-up that explains the difficulty in integrating wind power in one specific area of India. Google the following:

    Handling wind power: TN faces many a challenge

    cut and pasted:

    Despite Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s positive assurances in her statement of May 27, Tamil Nadu is neither a power-cut-free state, nor is the state-owned utility, Tangedco, buying all the electricity the state’s wind power plants are producing.

    Even now, 4-5 hours of wind power generation is not being taken, despite there being sufficient transmission infrastructure, says PP Gupta, Managing Director of Techno Electric, whose subsidiary, Simran Wind Project, owns 190 MW of capacity in the state. Officials of Tangedco have long been saying that handling wind power is a problem because of its infirm nature. In tandem with ebbs and flows in wind, the electricity put into the wires surges or falls, it is a problem for the grid manager.

    So then, can Tamil Nadu not have more wind power? Wind is cheap and clean, and the state can accommodate a lot more wind power capacity – should the state give it all up because wind power is infirm?

    Peaking capacity
    No, say experts. You can handle infirm wind if you have sufficient ‘peaking capacity’, or power plants that can very quickly ramp up generation when required. Fortunately, Tamil Nadu has four such power plants – Basin Bridge (196 MW), Samalpatti (100 MW), Madurai Power (100 MW) and Pillaiperumal Nallur (330 MW).

    The problem with these plants is, the power they generate is very expensive – around ₹12 a kWhr – because of the fuel costs. However, in order to have more cheap wind power, the full use of these peaking capacities is inevitable, say experts. “These sources cannot be viewed in terms of their higher cost alone; we need to recognise the role they play in balancing the grid and that should be appropriately valued,” says Santosh Kamath, Partner, Infrastructure & Government Services, KPMG.

  • Reply to

    India wind

    by barrygeo Jun 23, 2014 6:09 PM
    barrygeo barrygeo Jun 23, 2014 9:04 PM Flag

    amd, energy storage technologies for wind will probably never happen because the cost would just be too much. Even the AWEA says this is the case. Google the following:

    wind energy and storage - american wind energy association

    Reading the above link, I get the idea that wind in tandem with gas turbine and hydro are the way to go. Since the output of these power sources can be rapidly increased or decreased, then holding gas in a pipeline, or water behind a dam, represents a form of "stored energy"

    Best of luck.

  • Reply to

    India wind

    by barrygeo Jun 23, 2014 6:09 PM
    barrygeo barrygeo Jun 24, 2014 12:13 PM Flag

    hi amd,

    imo, forget about lithium ion or flywheels. But energy storage could play a role in unexpected ways. Google "Ice Energy" for an interesting way to help smooth out the peak / off peak curve. It would only be a piece of the solution, applied on a distributed scale. But I don't think there is a single "magic bullet" for the smooth integration of wind and solar in the grid.

    Your 50 years of natural gas is an exaggeration, as I think the figure bandied about now is about 100 years (unless you read alarmists who deliberately distort the facts). But these predictions seem to always be shifting. I remember a few decades ago there was a big scare that by 2010 oil would become so scarce that the world economy would collapse. Didn't happen.

    Before fracking was invented, natural gas was considered a scarce resource. It was known that shale gas existed, but there was no technology to extract it, and no anticipation that technology would be developed. Likewise, today there is gas we know exists but we can't get at with today's technology, so that gas is not figured into the 100-year supply calculation. I share your positive view on mankind's ability to develop new technologies. and one of those could lead to access to even more gas. You don't need huge gifts from the govt to encourage R&D in that direction. There is enough corporate $$$ and profit incentive that it would happen on its own, if it looks feasible.

    Another possible "green" technology of the future would be ways to extract the remaining energy from "depleted" uranium. Imagine if the nuclear "waste" that everyone hates today becomes a valued resource in the future.

    good luck

  • google the title of this msg for a good study by a Brookings Institution scholar, which indicates combined cycle gas generators and nuclear power are the way to go for reducing CO2 emissions.

    The Brookings Institution is not a conservative think-tank. if anything, they probably lean a little left.

    glta

  • barrygeo barrygeo Jun 25, 2014 10:54 AM Flag

    Thanks for actually reading it, lafeet. I wouldn't exactly say that "the whole point" of the paper was cap and trade, but it puts everything in the context of putting a cost on CO2 emissions.

    If you want your power bills to be low, then coal is great. But the paper sort of assumes that we want to replace coal, because we don't like CO2 emissions. If you do NOT believe that CO2 emissions are a problem for the earth, then there is really no point in pursuing wind or solar power, because the net effect of replacing coal with wind or solar would be to increase your power bill.

    So, to make any sense of a policy of replacing coal for the purpose of reducing CO2 emissions, you put a cost-per-ton on CO2 emissions. Then you look at wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, and gas and figure which one makes the most sense in achieving the goal of reduced CO2 emissions.

    best of luck

  • barrygeo barrygeo Jun 25, 2014 1:05 PM Flag

    Hi lafeet. On reading the study again, I agree the author supports cap and trade. But it goes deeper than that, I think. He has a mathematical argument to demonstrate we can do a better job reducing CO2 emissions through natural gas, hydro and nuclear than thru wind and solar. If a national policy is biased against gas, etc, in favor of wind and solar, than you are not going to be able to reduce CO2 emissions as much compared to a national policy that is neutral toward the type of generation, but simply rewards CO2 reduction. Cut and pasted:

    "First, renewable incentives that are biased in favor of wind and solar and biased against large-scale hydro, nuclear and gas combined cycle are a very expensive and inefficient way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions."

    "Second, renewable incentives in the absence of a suitably high carbon dioxide price are even less effective, because without a carbon price renewable energy will replace low-carbon gas plants rather than high-carbon coal plants."

    "Third, renewable incentives should be based not on output of renewable energy but on the reduction in CO2 emissions by renewable energy. They are not the same thing."

    "Fourth, a carbon price is far more effective in reducing carbon emissions precisely because it is not biased toward any one technology but rewards any technology that reduces emissions at a reasonable cost."

  • barrygeo barrygeo Jun 25, 2014 2:23 PM Flag

    lafeet, I never did understand the objection to cap and trade on the part of conservatives, who, at the same time, support the PTC, mandates on utilities to purchase renewable energy, or other forms of govt subsidy for renewables.

    Generally speaking, conservatives claim they prefer a govt that is more "hands off" and lets market forces work on their own. The problem is that if you support the PTC or any other action by govt to encourage renewables, then it's not "hands off". Soif a conservative supports these policies, then he has to justify that these forms of govt intervention in the market place are somehow preferable to cap and trade.

    Cap and trade is imposed by the govt, for sure, but at least it sets up a system where market forces take hold to achieve the goal, rather than the govt directly taking sides. Policies like the PTC and mandates for utilities to purchase renewable energy amount to the govt taking sides in favor of renewables to the detriment of other technologies. Although you like to call cap and trade a "carbon tax" (and that's fine with me), ultimately, there is a cost to the taxpayer or energy consumer when the govt gets involved via PTC or renewables mandates.

    If the goal is really to reduce CO2 emissions, then cap and trade accomplishes it more efficiently, with market forces, and it would result in lower costs to the taxpayer or energy consumer. In my way of thinking, this is more in line with conservative values.

    Cap and trade on carbon S02 emissions worked like a charm.

    good luck

  • barrygeo barrygeo Jun 25, 2014 3:34 PM Flag

    I understand that you feel that reducing CO2 emissions should not be an urgent goal.

    You say you support limited govt intervention for fledgling businesses. At the same time you oppose more taxes and more power for Washington. To an extent I am with you on both counts.

    It then becomes a balancing act for us. We grudgingly support the govt intervening in the marketplace to encourage renewables. To balance this evil, we have to justify it by arguing that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

    If reducing CO2 emissions is not an urgent goal in your opinion, then what is the benefit of govt intervening to encourage renewables?

  • CRISIL ratings (a Standard and Poors co). Might seem boring to some, but there's some interesting commentary in the ratings upgrade, and I'll cut and paste in multiple msgs:

    CRISIL has upgraded its ratings on the bank facilities and commercial paper programme of Inox Wind Ltd (IWL) to 'CRISIL A/Stable/CRISIL A1' from 'CRISIL A-/Stable/CRISIL A2+'.

    The ratings upgrade reflect CRISIL's expectation of improvement in IWL's market position in the wind energy equipment industry, driven by healthy revenue growth with a sizeable order book; the upgrade also factors in the company's healthy cash accruals and reduction of long-term debt to a low level.

    The ratings reflect IWL's healthy business risk profile, marked by a strong market position and healthy operating efficiencies. The ratings also factor in the strong management and financial support IWL receives from its parent, Gujarat Fluorochemicals Ltd (GFL; rated 'CRISIL AA-/Stable/CRISIL A1+'). GFL holds 75 per cent equity stake in IWL. These rating strengths are partially offset by the company's working-capital-intensive operations, resulting in moderation in its financial risk profile, and its susceptibility to risk of disruption of technology.

  • Reply to

    Inox credit rating upgrade

    by barrygeo Jun 25, 2014 6:55 PM
    barrygeo barrygeo Jun 25, 2014 6:55 PM Flag

    IWL has emerged as one of the leading suppliers of wind energy equipment in India. The company's revenue grew by over 40 per cent year-on-year in 2013-14 (refers to financial year, April 1 to March 31), supported by healthy external order inflows. It reported net sales of Rs.15.67 billion for 2013-14 as against Rs.0.72 billion for 2010-11. IWL's order book increased significantly to about Rs.34 billion [orders for 680 megawatts (MW)] as on March 31, 2014, against Rs.16.4 billion (327 MW) as on March 31, 2013. Over 90 per cent of the company's order book comprises of orders from third parties, reducing its dependence on orders from Inox Renewables Ltd (IRL; rated 'CRISIL BBB+/Stable/CRISIL A2'), a group company. IWL reported a three-year average return on capital employed of 50 per cent and operating margin of 17.3 per cent through 2013-14, indicating healthy operating efficiencies. In 2013-14, however, IWL's operating margin moderated to 10.9 per cent in 2013-14 from 18.1 per cent in 2012-13 on account of volatility in foreign exchange rates and delay in commissioning of certain projects.

    IWL is of strategic importance to GFL, as the company is central to GFL's growth plans in the wind energy business and has grown rapidly over the past three years. The company also gets strong financial and managerial support from the parent. The premise of management and financial support from GFL is central to CRISIL's ratings on IWL.

    IWL's long-term debt has also reduced significantly to about Rs.1313 million as on March 31, 2014, with repayment obligations of about Rs.763 million in 2014-15. CRISIL believes that the company's cash accruals will be sufficient to meet its repayment obligations and a large part of its incremental working capital requirements during the year.

  • barrygeo by barrygeo Jun 25, 2014 7:14 PM Flag

    Yahoo had a problem posting the last two continuations. I'll try again:

    CRISIL believes that IWL's operations will remain working-capital-intensive as the company needs to fund its receivables as well as advances to suppliers, leading to moderation in its financial risk profile. Its working capital management will, therefore, remain a key rating sensitivity factor. IWL's outstanding debtors remained high at 165 days as on March 31, 2014, and CRISIL expects the stretch in receivables to persist over the medium term. The continued stretch in IWL's working capital cycle kept the gearing high at about 1.30 times as on March 31, 2014.

    For arriving at the ratings, CRISIL has now combined the business and financial risk profiles of IWL and Inox Wind Infrastructure Services Ltd (IWISL), a 100 per cent subsidiary of IWL, which is involved in erection and maintenance of wind turbines for customers of IWL.

    Outlook: Stable
    CRISIL believes that IWL will maintain its credit risk profile over the medium term, supported by strong financial and managerial support from its parent, GFL, and a healthy order execution pipeline for 2014-15. The outlook may be revised to 'Positive' if IWL demonstrates a sustained healthy operating performance and improvement in its working capital cycle. Conversely, the outlook may be revised to 'Negative' if the company reports significant erosion in its profitability margins owing to adverse currency movements, or further deterioration in its working capital cycle, thereby adversely affecting its financial risk profile, or if there is any reduction in support from GFL.

  • This potentially means amsc's dvar business in Australia will regain its footing, although I don't know how long that would take to become a reality. Cut and pasted a portion of the article.

    Palmer to support renewables target, CEFC and CCA

    By Giles Parkinson on 25 June 2014

    Clive Palmer says his 3-person Senate team will not support any change to Australia’s renewable energy target, and will also vote against the repeal of the Climate Change Authority, and the Clean Energy Finance Corp.

    Palmer said he would support the Abbott government’s repeal of the carbon price, but would push for an emissions trading scheme to be implemented when Australia’s major trading partners did the same. He said Direct Action was a waste of money.

    Palmer made the announcement in company with former US vice president Al Gore, who said he regretted the demise of the carbon price, but looked forward to Australia continuing its leadership on climate and renewable energy policies.

    Palmer’s decision – presuming he holds to it – effectively stops the Abbott government from its planned scalping, or possible repeal, of the renewable energy target, which calls for 41,000GWh of renewable energy to be built by 2020

  • barrygeo by barrygeo Jun 26, 2014 2:06 PM Flag

    today at $1.45. Good luck to all

  • Reply to

    Pondering

    by fatmoose8 Jun 26, 2014 2:01 PM
    barrygeo barrygeo Jun 26, 2014 2:47 PM Flag

    fatmoose,

    The Inox order announced in 2013 was for $30m, while the most-recently announced order was for $40. That's a 33% increase from Inox. The delivery schedules are a little vague, but it looks to me like the $30m order took place over roughly 12 months, so the current order might have about the time frame.

    I do not expect revenue from Inox to double this year, but the credit report shows us that Inox has plenty of business lined up, so I think it looks nice going forward beyond this fiscal year for amsc.

    That would sort of jive with amsc's description of this year as one in which the company will "position itself for FUTURE growth" (hopefully, not an empty promise). What's implied is that we shouldn't expect much growth, if any, in the current fiscal year.

    good luck

  • Reply to

    Pondering

    by fatmoose8 Jun 26, 2014 2:01 PM
    barrygeo barrygeo Jun 26, 2014 3:25 PM Flag

    fatmoose, I think the mistake you make is in assuming that a doubling of Inox's backlog translates exactly into a doubling of amsc's revenue from Inox in a single year. My guess is that much of that backlog will be realized by Inox further out than one year.

    Of course, neither you nor I know for sure, and I could be wrong. But I'm going on the assumption that growth from Inox this year corresponds roughly to going from the 2013 $30m order to this year's $40m order.

    good luck

  • barrygeo barrygeo Jun 27, 2014 11:42 AM Flag

    Not in the cards. So as a retail shareholder, you have to accept the company the way it is, or sell your shares if you don't like it. You can imagine anything you want, but the reality is there are no indications the company plans to do anything like that, and you are powerless to change that.

    Besides, did you see the latest news from Australia? The govt's scheme to slash that county's renewable energy target appears to have been torpedoed. If so, amsc's dvar business should eventually pick up in Australia, where they had previously enjoy good dvar sales that were growing. It could make a nice profitable contribution for the company.

    Also, HTS is amsc's legacy technology, and there remains a sizable chunk of shareholders here who are hts dreamers. Cut off the grid segment, you alienate those guys

    good luck

  • barrygeo by barrygeo Jun 29, 2014 7:16 PM Flag

    A small detail I missed. Last quarter the company realized an impairment on their minority investment in Blade Dynamics of about $1.3m. The 10k states that the impairment was realized because, in the process of the efforts to sell their stake in Blade Dynamics "certain indicators of impairment existed".

    Which sort of makes me wonder it that's an indication that a sale might be getting close. (I don't know). If so, they are not going to get much at all, imo. The company originally bought their stake at a cost of $8m, and have reduced the value of that investment on the balance sheet over the years according to amsc's proportion of Blade Dynamic's losses. After the $1.3m impairment, they are now carrying a value for their minority interest in Blade Dynamics at just $3.7m.

    Looking at Blade Dynamics' website, I see not a single scrap of news that they have made an actual sale. Just development milestones, and partnerships to develop blades. Louisana gave the company a $30m incentive package to set up shop in that state, with a goal to hire 450 people by this year, but my guess is they are not even close. Google "Blade Dynamics fails to meet job incentives" for a July 2013 article, in which the CEO declined to even state how many employees his plant had.

    Anyway, just sell the thing, if you can, even if it's just a few million. Anything is better than dipping into this ATM at $1.50 share price. Folks, we are over 80 million shares out now !!

    glta

AMSC
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