Friday, May 22, 2015

Acorn Energy a Victim of Oil Patch Upheaval

Last week Acorn Energy, Inc. (ACFN:  Nasdaq) reported a net loss of $$2.8 million or $0.11 per share on total sales of $4.6 million in the quarter ending March 2015.  Shareholders were not surprised.  Acorn has been fighting against losses for months as it juggles the energy and environmental operations in its holding company portfolio. 

The March 2015 quarter included losses from the discontinued operations of US Seismic Systems (USSI), a provider of seismologically-generated geological information for oil and gas well developers.  Acorn had previously announced that operations at USSI had been suspended and its assets would be put on the auction block.  The rapid decline in oil prices has led to an equally rapid decrease in well drilling activity and demand for USSI services.  Unfortunately, neither USSI nor its majority owner Acorn Energy had the financial resources to support operations until well drilling activity resumes.  The most recent quarter included a loss of $1.2 million at USSI.  Acorn had already taken substantial charges totaling $9.3 million in the fourth quarter 2014, to record the write-off of USSI inventory, fixed, goodwill, and intangible assets.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Second Time Around for GreenHunter Resources

Last week GreenHunter Resources (GRH:  NYSE) reported on its progress in becoming an oil field waste water management company.  After failing to turn a profit at biofuel production, GreenHunter sold its biomass plants and hung out its shingle in the Appalachian shale oil field.   The last of the biomass plants was sold in March 2015, for $2.0 million.  Proceeds from the sale were used to pay off a bank note that had financed the purchase of GreenHunter’s first three waste water injection wells.  It appears the transition is complete.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Darling Ingredients: At the Margin

This week Darling Ingredients (DAR:  NYSE) reported earnings of $100,000 on net sales of $874.7 million in the first quarter ending March 2015.  Darling is a recycler of sorts, collecting by-products of the food production industry and recycling the left-overs and waste into proteins, fats and leathers.  Nothing goes to waste.  Every last chicken feather, hide, gallon of used cooking grease and cake crumb gets up-cycled to a usable material for feed, food, fuel or clothing.  Its customers include pet food producers, personal care manufacturers and textile users, among others. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Watt Price?

Quotations for energy prices or power generation costs can be confusing.  There are watts and kilowatts.  Then there are kilowatt hours.  Do not forget joules and therms.  So it was not surprising to receive a comment or rather a question on the post Meeting Solar Challenge in the Courtroom,” asking about why the cost of solar modules was quoted in watts rather than solar panel capacity that is expressed in terms of watt-peak.

The answer is simple.  As long as the information source is credible, the vernacular is left unchanged.  IHS (formerly SolarBuzz) and Deutsche Bank Research were the sources used in the solar in the courtroom article.  In my view, they are both very credible in the solar energy field.    So if the source says ‘watt’ and not ‘watt-peak’ or in terms of solar ‘module’ rather than solar ‘panel,’ then that is what is quoted.