Cree, a leading designer of solutions for LED lighting applications reported solid financial results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2013, ended September 2012 and announced gross margins beating consensus expectations. Cree’s ongoing margin growth comes from continuing product cost reduction and factory efficiency improvements. Both LED and Lighting segments grew during the quarter and are expected to grow further due to the recovering US housing market.
In the US, Hurricane “Sandy” exposed the deficiencies of the aging power grid on the Northeastern seaboard. Grid investment needs to rise significantly to improve security of supply, creating an attractive growth opportunity for electric utilities and engineering companies. We expect regulation to remain favorable or even improve as politicians recognize that the costs of long power outages are unacceptable.
The Spanish Government announced on September 14 measures to solve the tariff deficit issue in Spain. Among others, under the new proposal taxes on revenues for wind generators will be 6% and not 11% as anticipated.
We forecast a relatively tight gas market balance in the UK for the coming winter. High demand in the global liquefied natural gas market (LNG) should provide additional support to gas and therefore power prices. Generators are well positioned.
In Italy, the Government published the first draft of the National Energy Plan (NEP). The NEP targets a reduction in energy costs and a decoupling of the Italian economy from expensive gas and therefore electricity prices. While this may create headaches for power generators, Snam Retegas is set to benefit from ample gas infrastructure investment opportunities and supportive regulation.
The EU and Australia plan to link carbon markets by 2015. Under the agreement, Australia would be able to use EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) permits to meet liabilities under the Australian ETS from July 2015. The link of the two schemes would reduce the oversupply in the European carbon market and hence support CO2 prices.
The merger announcement of the two US power companies NRG Energy and GenOn was well received by the market. The combination offers significant synergy potential and creates the largest independent power generation company in the US with 47 GW of generation capacity. The company is in an excellent position to capitalize on an eventual power market recovery.
Coal to gas switching in US power generation is in full swing. The latest EIA data for the January to April period 2012 shows a 34% increase in power generated by gas-fired power plants. The increase is equivalent to 94 TWh of electric power (Swiss annual consumption is about 60 TWh). At the same time, coal-fired generation dropped by 21% implying a reduction coal consumption of 61 million tons. The unprecedented switch, will help to balance the oversupply in the gas market and eventually lead to improving power market fundamentals for companies like Exelon and NRG Energy.
The German regulator published the first high-voltage grid development plan. The plan includes 3’800 km of new power lines, which are needed to accommodate the integration of renewable energies. In addition some 4’400 km of existing lines need to be upgraded and modernized. Investments are estimated to be around Euro 20 billion over the next ten years.
According to the recent annual market update of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) global wind power capacity will double from 240 GW in 2011 to just under 500 GW at end 2016. Strong growth is expected to come from emerging markets, especially Asia.
Given the nuclear issues, Japanese companies are rushing to secure long-term access to natural gas resources, which in turn opens significant growth opportunities to companies like Dominion and Sempra. Dominion Resources announced an agreement with Sumitomo for liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) deliveries from the company`s Atlantic coast LNG terminal. Sempra Energy made a significant step forward on its Cameron LNG project, announcing contracts with Mitsui, Mitsubishi and GdF Suez.
Japan führt neue Einspeisetarife für Strom aus Solar-, Wind-, Biomasse-, Geothermie- und Wasserkraftwerken ein. Stromproduzenten müssen in den kommenden 20 Jahren einen festgelegten Anteil ihrer Produktion aus erneuerbaren Energien beziehen. Die Subventionen werden alle drei Jahre überprüft.
E.On and RWE pulled their joint plans to build nuclear power plants in the UK for up to EUR 17 billion. Given balance sheet constraints the decision is hardly surprising, but may have deep implications for UK energy policy as it leaves the EDF/Centrica consortium as the only credible nuclear power developer for the foreseeable future.
Der Kabelproduzent Prysmian hat einen EUR 800 Millionen Rekordauftrag für eine Gleichstromleitung (HVDC) zwischen Schottland und England erhalten. Das Bauprojekt wird durch Prysmian und Siemens geleitet und die Inbetriebnahme ist für 2015 geplant.
Projects to export natural gas from the US took a significant step forward during the month. Blackstone announced its intention to invest USD 2 billion in the Sabine Pass LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) export facility located in the Gulf of Mexico. This increases chances significantly that the US will be in a position to export natural gas from the 2015/16 timeframe.
The outlook for transmission companies remains bright both on the power and gas side. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) approved Allete’s purchased power agreement with Manitoba Hydro. This is a significant step forward fort he company`s transmisison project aimed at combining US wind power assets with the flexibility of Canadian hydro power.
Germany installed in December over 2,000 MW bringing 2011 installations to over 7,000 MW only slightly below record year 2010. The renewed strength of the market also triggered political activity calling for more frequent tariff adjustments, allowing to reflect declining market prices of photovoltaic modules faster.