80% Smart Meter Adoption By 2020 Through EU Mandate Drives Growth In This Market Segment: An Interview With Andrew Weisel Of Macquarie Group Limited Details Stock Market Response

Wall Street Transcript

67 WALL STREET, New York - September 29, 2011 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published its Alternative Energy & Utilities Report offering a timely review of the sector to serious investors and industry executives. This special feature contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs, Equity Analysts and Money Managers. The full issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online. Topics covered: Smart Metering Adoption Trends - Utility Infrastructure Capital Expenditures - Government Subsidies and Regulation - Alternative Energy Generation - Solar Energy Pricing Companies include: Energy Conversion Devices (ENER); AEP (AEP); AES (AES); Advanced Energy Industries (AEIS); Applied Materials (AMAT); Ascent Solar Technologies (ASTI); BP (BP); BTU (BTUI); Chevron (CVX); Comverge (COMV); ConocoPhillips (COP); Constellation (CEG); Dominion (D); Duke (DUK); Dynegy (DYN); EIX (EIX); ENI (ENI); ESCO Technologies Inc. (ESE); Elster (ELT); EnerNOC (ENOC); Ensco (ESV); Evergreen Solar (ESLR); Exelon (EXC); Exxon (XOM); First Solar (FSLR); FirstEnergy (FE); FuelCell Energy, Inc. (FCEL); GE (GE); Gas Natural (EGAS); Google (GOOG); Hanwha Solar (HSOL); Hess (HES); Holly (HEP); HollyFrontier (HFC); Honeywell (HON); Itron (ITRI); Juhl Wind (JUHL); MEMC Electronic Materials. (WFR); MKS Instruments (MKSI); Microsoft (MSFT); Occidental (OXY); PG&E (PCG); PSEG (PEG); Plug Power (PLUG); Power Integrations, Inc. (POWI); Progress (PGN); Schneider Electric (SU.PA); Sempra (SRE); Shell (RDS-A); Sino-Forest (TRE.TO); Southern (SO); SunPower (SPWRA); Suntech (STP); Telvent (TLVT); Toshiba (6502.TYO); Total (TOT); Trina Solar (TSL). In the following brief excerpt from just one of the many in depth interviews in this extensive report, an experienced Utilities analyst with a focus on Smart Grid technologies discusses the outlook for the sector for investors. Andrew Weisel, CFA, joined Macquarie Group Limited's U.S. utilities equity research team in June 2008. In December 2009, he launched coverage of the smart grid, and in April 2011, he assumed coverage of small and mid-cap regulated utilities. Prior to joining Macquarie, Mr. Weisel worked in equity research at J.P. Morgan covering large-cap diversified industrials. He graduated from Cornell University, majoring in economics. TWST: You said we're between waves. What will generate the next wave? Mr. Weisel: There are a couple of ways to look at it. I think the next definitive wave will come in Europe. The E.U. has a mandate that they want smart meters in 80% of houses by 2020 and 100% by 2022, and a lot of individual countries have set even more ambitious targets. Given the size of the utilities there, for them to roll out that many smart meters, it will take say five years, whereas a smaller U.S. utility can do it in may be two years. So you will start to see that coming. My expectation is that the big rollouts will start in about 2014. A lot of people think it's going to come sooner, personally I just don't see too much urgency. TWST: Do you mean urgency on the part of the utilities or the consumers? Mr. Weisel: The utilities and their countries that are mandating this. Frankly, the consumers are kind of passive in this process. They don't necessarily have a say. They don't necessarily know much about it. At this point, it's largely between the regulators and the utilities to implement these plans. Eventually the consumers will start to see the benefits, but that may not come until years after the smart meters or the smart grid investments are in place. TWST: Let's stay with Europe then. The mandates are in place. Is the funding in place to support this kind of rollout? Mr. Weisel: That's a big concern. Obviously a lot of the European countries are not doing very well economically. For typical utility investments, they get recovery through rates. Smart grid spending is not really a typical investment, because utilities generally don't invest in technology and things of that nature. So there is a bit of debate in certain countries about who is going to pay for it, how much is an appropriate amount to pay for it, things like that. Cost allocation has been probably the biggest issue in Germany and the United Kingdom, which typically are among the more progressive countries when you think of energy, whether it's renewables in Germany or the liberalized power markets in the U.K. So it's a big issue of knowing how willing consumers will be to accept these charges even if you promise them that they will have a positive net benefit over the five or 10 years following it. TWST: Is the technology available to support this kind of rollout? Mr. Weisel: I think so. It's an evolutionary process as with any other technology. But if you think about - I keep using smart metering as an example because that's the most tangible and the most publicly followed - the technology itself compared to five or 10 years ago is remarkably more advanced now. So the old dumb meters just have an analog dial that spins as power is consumed, and once a month someone comes to check the meter. Then about 15 years or so ago, they made one-way communicating meters, where the meter blasts out a signal to the utility, so you don't need to pay someone to drive house to house. Today, smart meters are called AMI, advanced metering infrastructure, and have not only the one-way communication from the meter to the utility but also communication in the other direction. So the utility can not only identify outages, but can charge different pricing schemes depending on the day of the year or the hour of the day. It becomes much more interactive for the customer. There are a lot of different forms of communications that can be used. In the U.S., utilities tend to use what's called RF mesh, where the network creates a small grid among the neighborhood, allowing the meters to communicate with one another. In Europe, it seems like most countries are going to be more focused on PLC, that's power line communication, where it's a more of a wired solution. The technology is there. It's a question of which flavor is each of these of utilities going to want to pursue. The Wall Street Transcript is a unique service for investors and industry researchers - providing fresh commentary and insight through verbatim interviews with CEOs and research analysts. This special issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online . The Wall Street Transcript does not endorse the views of any interviewees nor does it make stock recommendations. For Information on subscribing to The Wall Street Transcript, please call 800/246-7673

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