U.S. stock markets stalled this week as investors worried about a potential federal government shutdown and world oil prices that crept up past $112 per barrel (April-dated light sweet crude futures). Overseas, markets were stronger, with the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong leading with a 5.34% gain for the week.
Most clean energy sectors underperformed the broad stock markets, with wind power and solar power technology companies falling the most. The EnergyBoom Wind Subindex (E•B Wind) fell 4.82%, while the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) declined 3.03%.
Shares of American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC) dropped 44% this week after the company announced Tuesday that Sinovel Wind Group Company Limited, AMSC’s largest customer which accounts for about three-quarters of its annual revenue, would not accept shipments until it reduced its inventory levels and refused to make payments for some shipments made in this fiscal year.
U.S. Democratic senators Tom Udall of New Mexico and Mark Udall of Colorado this week introduced a bill that would require utilities to generate 25% of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewable energy sources by 2025. The bill would start with a 6% requirement by 2013 with gradual increases to meet the 25% goal by 2025.
Shares of Canadian-listed penny stock CO2 Solution, Inc. (CDNX: CST.V) jumped more than 60% (to Cdn$0.28 per share, market cap Cdn$17 million) in early trading today after Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE: AA) reiterated a previously announced carbon capture technology pilot collaboration with CO2 and Codexis, Inc. (Nasdaq: CDXS).
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) said today it will spend $600 million to build the largest thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar panel factory in the U.S. and that 60 megawatts (MW) of the facility’s 400 MW total annual capacity has been contracted to NextEra Energy Inc. (NYSE: NEE). The company did not disclose the proposed location of the plant.
Shares of thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar module products company Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTI) closed up 6% today but is down 35% since announcing March 31 that it was changing its target market from buildings to specialty markets. Other changes include a new CEO and resizing to cut costs.
Despite terrific share price appreciation over Q1 2011 for many clean energy companies, as demonstrated in our Saturday list of the TOP 20 performing companies in the EnergyBoom Clean 100 Index, not all companies in the sector ended the quarter with happy shareholders.
Here are the 10 worst-performing companies on the EnergyBoom Clean 100 Index January 3 through March 31:
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami off Sendai, Japan -- and the resulting nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant -- transformed a strong performance for Q1 equities markets into a gangbusters performance. Renewable energy stocks -- especially wind and solar power companies -- were huge beneficiaries of investors betting that these sectors will fill the void created by a flight from nuclear.
Danish power company DONG Energy says it will sell 50% of its Anholt offshore wind farm -- now under construction 13 miles off the northeastern coast of the Jutland Peninsula -- for DKK6 billion ($1.13 billion) to pension fund investors PensionDanmark (30%) and PKA (20%). With a capacity of 400 megawatts (MW), Anholt will be the largest wind farm offshore Denmark when completed in late 2013.