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To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies

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Innovation is a central part of American life. Ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit have led to the development of new products and technologies that improve upon traditional options. Whether it’s the new iPhone or Uber, the technological leaps that come from innovation benefit consumers and the economy overall.

Recently, politicians have focused on innovation as the solution to challenges associated with energy, especially climate change. From the Democratic presidential campaigns of Joe Biden, Jay Inslee, and Elizabeth Warren to Republican lawmakers like Sens. Thom Tillis, Ben Sasse, and Cory Gardner, we hear a call for innovation as the energy cure-all.

Generally speaking, these calls for innovation mean using taxpayer dollars for research and development in new technologies to achieve deep reductions in carbon emissions. This is a role traditionally played by the federal government and it is essential for technological progress. But just as important is making sure that these innovations get the chance to prove themselves in the market. Without the chance to compete with traditional products, no innovative technology will get the private-sector investment needed to deliver benefits to consumers, the economy, and the environment.

Fortunately, there are reforms that can attract bipartisan support and unleash private sector innovation to grow the economy, create millions of jobs, lower the cost of energy for American households and businesses, and, yes, dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

Over 200 million Americans live in states and regions served by organized wholesale electricity markets. All told, over $120 billion in energy transactions occur annually in these competitive markets. If you live in a state like Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Wisconsin, your energy bill and the resources that power your home and local businesses are determined to a significant degree by these markets.

To date, these markets have provided unquestioned benefits for consumers, including improved reliability, lower electricity prices, and improved access for new entrants and technologies. All too often, however, the regulations governing these markets still give preference to older power sources and stand in the way of new, innovative technologies. Outdated rules prevent billions of dollars in investment in advanced energy resources and keep older, less efficient, higher polluting resources in the market. With advanced energy technology costs now lower than many traditional power sources, these artificial barriers to market competition are also costing consumers money.

Advanced Energy Economy has detailed over 20 case studies of regulatory barriers that discriminate against innovative, clean, and cost-effective energy options in competitive energy markets. Some markets prevent wind and solar farms from getting paid for key services to the grid that traditional power plants like coal receive. In New York and New England, the services that advanced technologies can provide are discounted in ways that traditional power plants are not, even though they perform similarly. More broadly, market designs are failing to keep pace with technological advancement to reflect the full value of advanced energy. 

Our case studies not only point out current regulatory barriers, but also show how they can be overcome when policymakers and regulators work together to foster innovation for the benefit of consumers and the grid. Leaders on both sides of the aisle are now seeing the opportunity to capitalize on innovation in these markets, and steps have been taken to address some of these barriers. For example, Democratic Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats give cold shoulder to Warren wealth tax Democrats press FBI for details on Kavanaugh investigation Graham moves controversial asylum bill through panel; Democrats charge he’s broken the rules MORE (R.I.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats, environmentalists blast Trump rollback of endangered species protections Senators press Facebook over its handling of children’s privacy Congress looks to rev up discussion around self-driving car legislation MORE (Mass.) worked with former adviser to Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSecurity analyst calls Trump’s language on Hong Kong protests ‘inappropriate’ Democratic group pressing Hickenlooper to drop White House bid, run for Senate Schumer to call for Trump to fight gun violence, white supremacy with border wall funds MORE (R-Ky.) and current FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee to ensure that market barriers were removed for energy storage. Industry and Congressional champions now eagerly await FERC action to provide the same market access for distributed energy resources – a decision that has been pending for over two and a half years.

Advanced energy has made great strides as an industry, providing affordable, reliable, and clean power to Americans, pumping $238 billion into the economy, and supporting 3.5 million jobs across the country. Today, wind and solar represent the vast majority of new electric generation being built, while energy efficiency investment continues to grow and energy storage is taking off.

But companies that provide these technologies still encounter regulatory barriers that prevent their products and services from competing. Policymakers – whether in Congress or on the campaign trail – should follow through on their calls for innovation by ensuring that no market barriers stand in the way of new energy technologies. Removing these barriers would be steps toward expanding the advanced energy market opportunity by an estimated $65 billion – a win for the economy, consumers, and the environment.

Dylan Reed is a Director and Jeff Dennis is a Managing Director and General Counsel at Advanced Energy Economy, a national business association working to make our energy system more secure, clean, and affordable.



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Full-Year Results Of Three Stocks: SEQ, KPG And HIT

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Sequoia Financial Group Limited, Kelly Partners Group Holdings Limited and HiTech Group Australia Limited have released their full-year results for FY2019 ended 30 June 2019. Let’s see how these companies performed during the period.

Sequoia Financial Group Limited

An integrated financial services company, Sequoia Financial Group Limited (ASX: SEQ) offers investment and superannuation products, retail, wholesale and institutional trading platforms, and wealth management and advisory services. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, SEQ caters to wholesale as well as self-directed retail customers. It also serves 3rd party professional service businesses.

On 20 August 2019, Sequoia Financial Group released its full-year results for the period ended 30 June 2019. The company reported an increase of 9.7% in revenues from ordinary activities to $ 83.02 million. However, its loss for the period stood at more than $ 1 million.

Source: Company’s Report

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In the first nine months, the Group made heavy investments in improving the capability to deal with the heavy growth aspirations. The company also took a conservative stance and wrote down the value of the non-core business, intangibles, fixed assets in addition to writing off some of the historical accrued revenues as bad debts. The group incurred some heavy costs related to acquisitions, as well as redundancy costs and contract renegotiation costs related to its work concerning the enhancement of the technology solutions around clearing, direct to market sales units and the legal document business. The sum of all the non-recurring items is around $ 1.5 million (including actual write downs).

On 24 July 2018, the company secured $ 5 million in a placement through the issue of 15,151,515 new fully paid ordinary shares at a price of $ 0.33 per share. These funds were raised from existing and new institutional and sophisticated investors to support the company in paying its short-term debt as well as improve the financial position. Additionally, the company divested its entire private share investment of $ 1,657,850 in Noble Oak in the month of February 2019.

Recently, the company, on 7 August 2019, unveiled the acquisition of a successful financial advice dealer group, Libertas Financial Planning Pty Ltd, which has approx. seventy authorised representatives. The acquisition would help the company in boosting its operations in the advice marketplace.

Outlook:

In FY2020 and beyond that, the company would target a net revenue growth (after sales costs) of 23% with a spread in the range of 15% to 40% across various operating divisions.

The short-term goals of SEQ include:

  • Generation of strong cash flow from all divisions.
  • Provide a return on equity on non-cash equity of 15% and even more than that.
  • Rebuild investors’ confidence.
  • Achieve the share price trading at or more than equity per share.
  • Restart paying dividends to shareholders at 20% to 50% of net profit after tax.

Stock Performance:

By the end of day’s trading on 21 August 2019, the price of the share of SEQ was A$ 0.175, down by 2.778% as compared to its previous closing price. SEQ has a market cap of A$ 21.46 million with ~ 119.19 million outstanding shares, an annual dividend of 2.78% and a PE ratio of 30.510x.

Kelly Partners Group Holdings Limited

Kelly Partners Group Holdings Limited (ASX: KPG) is a specialist chartered accounting network that offers better services to private clients, businesses as well as their owners and families. On 20 August 2019, the company announced its FY2019 results for the period ended 30 June 2019. It reported group revenue of $ 40 million during FY2019, in line with the prior guidance. There was an increase of 7.5% in organic revenue to $ 31.6 million, which excludes Sydney CBD. The total revenue growth, excluding Sydney CBD, increased by 11.9%.

Underlying EBITDA of the group was also in line with the previous guidance, reaching $ 10.9 million during the period, while underlying attributed NPATA for the period was $ 3.2 million. The company reported a strong cash inflow through operating activities, up 51% when compared with the previous corresponding period, to $ 10.0 million. Total dividend for FY2019 was 4.3 cents per share, representing a growth of 10% on FY2018.

FY19 Income Statement (Source: Company’s Report)

Operational Highlights:

  • The growth in organic revenue was driven by increase in volume and price.
  • The company made three Tuck-in acquisitions and 1 Marquee acquisition. It expects a full-year revenue contribution of $ 3.0 million – $ 4.0 million during FY2020 from the acquisitions made in FY19.
  • KPG implemented upgrades to the IT server in FY2019, while trainings for client managers and business managers are ongoing.
  • The company also reported a 56% increase in revenue from other services including wealth management, corporate advisory and investment office.

Stock Performance:

The shares of KPG last traded on 20 August 2019 and closed at a price of A$ 0.880. KPG has a market cap of A$ 40.03 million with ~ 45.49 million outstanding shares and a PE ratio of 19.3x.

HiTech Group Australia Limited

HiTech Group Australia Limited (ASX: HIT), a provider of recruitment and  ICT (Information and Communication Technology) consulting services, released its investor presentation focusing on its full-year results for the period ended 30 June 2019, on 20 August 2019.

FY2019 Highlights:

FY2019 remained another record year for HiTech Group Australia Limited. Revenue of the company during the period improved by 15% to $ 30.28 million, while EBITDA grew by 10% to $ 4.09 million and net profit after tax increased by 13% to $ 2.89 million when compared with the same period a year ago.

Net tangible assets in FY2019 remained at par with respect to FY2018 at $ 0.19 per share. The company also announced a fully franked final dividend of 4 cents per share, scheduled for payment on 12 September 2019 to all the registered shareholders by the closure of the business on 29 August 2019.

At the end of the reported period, the company had a cash balance of $ 5,927,690, which was up 1% from $ 5,862,986 recorded in the same period a year ago.

The presentation also covered the 2 Tier growth strategy of the company. It includes organic growth and M&A growth.

Organic Growth:

Organic growth comprises of: 

  • On-boarding of new clients.
  • Improving the service offerings to the company’s existing customers by providing them with a wider suite of ICT consulting as well as recruitment solutions along with base contracting agreements.
  • Expansion of the ICT offering into high margin consulting and service space to meet the clients’ objectives.

M&A Growth:

M&A growth comprises of:

  • Pursuing acquisitions in a highly fragmented market, with the targets matching the culture of the company as well as fitting into the industry. It should be EPS and CFPS accretive and should provide positive returns to shareholders.
  • Multiple probable targets being considered.
  • The board is committed to focus on employing a disciplined M&A growth strategy that is in the best interest of shareholders and beneficial for the company.

Outlook for FY2020:

The company has placed itself well to capitalise on the demand for its ICT talent and services. The focus of the company would be to provide its clients with high-grade services and simultaneously maintaining the profitable growth.

The FY2020 outlook would rely on the prevailing economic situations along with the demand and supply forces for its ICT talent as well as services.

Stock Performance:

By the end of day’s trading on 21 August 2019, the price of the share of HIT was A$ 1.170. HIT has a market cap of A$ 44.52 million and ~ 38.05 million outstanding shares, an annual dividend yield of 6.84% and a PE multiple of 15.29x.


Disclaimer

This website is a service of Kalkine Media Pty. Ltd. A.C.N. 629 651 672. The website has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as a complete source of information on any particular company. Kalkine Media does not in any way endorse or recommend individuals, products or services that may be discussed on this site. Our publications are NOT a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. We are neither licensed nor qualified to provide investment advice.

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6 Cannabis Stocks under Investor’s Limelight…

Cannabis companies that sell both medicinal weed and recreational pot. Marijuana stocks to look at. Marijuana mergers and acquisitions. Dispensary data analytics. Upcoming marijuana IPO’s
Those phrases have become increasingly common as marijuana legalization spreads.

Global spending on legal cannabis is expected to grow 230% to $32 billion in 2020 as compared to $9.5 in 2017, according to Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics. As of June 29, 2018 the United States Marijuana Index, despite a lot of uncertainty around regulations, has over the past 1 year gained 71.49%, as compared to about 12% gain seen by the S&P 500.

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Apple turning to Chinese firm BOE for premium iPhone screens: Nikkei

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A Chinese man holds his son as they look at iPhones on display at an Apple store on January 7, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Kevin Frayer | Getty Images

Apple is in the final stages of certifying premium smartphone displays from Chinese tech firm BOE Technology Group for the iPhone, according to a report from the Nikkei.

The Nikkei, citing sources, said that Apple was “aggressively testing” BOE’s flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, adding the company would decide by the end of the year whether to take the company on as a supplier of the panels.

The move is aimed at cutting costs and reducing Apple’s reliance on Samsung, the Nikkei reported.

The U.S. tech giant is expected to unveil its new flagship phones in September, and speculation has grown over what Apple will bring to the table with the latest models. Last year, the company brought out three new models, the XS, XS Max and XR.

Analysts don’t expect the new iPhone, which has been dubbed the iPhone 11 by industry watchers, to include significant updates to previous models. The expectation is that the company will not release phones with any major changes, including 5G, until 2020.

Selecting a Chinese company would be a surprising move, given the company has warned of the impact of the U.S.-China trade war on its business. Many of Apple’s major products, including the iPhone, are produced in China.

The firm has reportedly considered moving some production out of the country, but got a slight reprieve earlier this month after the U.S. announced it would delay tariffs on electronics and other consumer products made in China until mid-December.

Apple was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

You can read the full Nikkei report about Apple’s production move here.

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Renewable energy breakthrough: Scientists economically extract hydrogen from oil | Science | News

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This method could be used to power hydrogen-powered vehicles, in addition to generating electricity. Hydrogen is regarded as an efficient transport fuel, similar to traditonal fuels such as petrol and diesel, without the associated pollution problems. The process can extract hydrogen from existing oil sands reservoirs, with large supplies found in Canada and Venezuela.

This revolutionary process can be applied to mainstream oil fields, causing them to produce hydrogen instead of oil.

Although hydrogen-powered vehicles are known to be efficient, the high price of extracting hydrogen from oil reserves means the technology has not been economically viable.

However, engineers have now developed an economical method of extracting hydrogen from oil sands.

Dr Ian Gates, of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Calgary, said: “There are vast oil sand reservoirs in several countries, with huge fields in Alberta in Canada, but also in Venezuela and other countries.”

READ MORE: Solar power electric forecourt to charge electric cars in just TEN minutes

Oil fields, even abandoned ones, still contain significant amounts of oil.

The researchers found that injecting oxygen into the fields raises the temperature and liberates hydrogen, which can then be separated from other gases via specialist filters.

Hydrogen is not pre-existing in the reservoirs, but the addition of oxygen means the reaction to form hydrogen can occur.

Grant Strem, CEO of Proton Technologies which is commercialising the process, said: “This technique can draw up huge quantities of hydrogen while leaving the carbon in the ground.

READ MORE: Ford Mustang with Tesla-inspired interior set for UK debut

“When working at production level, we anticipate we will be able to use the existing infrastructure and distribution chains to produce H2 for between 10 and 50 cents per kilo.

“This means it potentially costs a fraction of gasoline for equivalent output”.

This compares with current H2 production costs of around $2/kg (£1.65/kg).

Around five percent of the hydrogen produced then powers the oxygen production plant, so the system more than pays for itself.

READ MORE: New Nissan Leaf e+ 2019 REVEALED

Mr Strem stress the economics of the process is favourable.

He said: ”What comes out of the ground is hydrogen gas, so we don’t have the huge above-ground purification costs associated with oil refining: we use the ground as our reaction vessel.

“Just taking Alberta as an example, we have the potential to supply Canada’s entire electricity requirement for 330 years.”

Canada uses approximately 2.5 percent of the world’s electricity – approximately the same amount as Germany.

Mr Strem added: “Our initial aim is to scale up the production from Canadian oil sands, but in fact, we anticipate that most of the interest in this process will come from outside Canada, as the economics and the environmental implications make people look very hard at whether they want to continue conventional oil production.

“The only product of this process is hydrogen, meaning that it the technology is effectively pollution and emission free.

“All the other gases remain in the ground because they cannot go through the hydrogen filter and up to the surface”.

Professor Brian Horsfield, of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences said: “The research is highly innovative and exciting.

“It’s an adaptation of some 1970’s fire-flood production concepts, but tuned to a modern day perspective.

“Declining oil field production infrastructures now stand to get a new lease of life.

“Extensive field testing will be crucial in assessing how the system works on industrial scales and over time”

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