U.S. Alternative Energy Correspondent
Nichola's Feed
Apr 6, 2011

Consumers more stoic about expensive gas: Ford

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif (Reuters) – Rising gasoline prices are less likely to drive U.S. consumers to quickly embrace hybrid vehicles than was the case a few years ago, a Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) executive said on Wednesday.

“In the past, I would tell you that as fuel prices inched up over $3.50 (a gallon) you saw an increase in hybrid sales,” said Nancy Gioia, director of global electrification for Ford. “Now, this time around, as fuel has inched up over $4, we are seeing modest, very modest tracking of sales at this point.”

Apr 6, 2011

Solar startups turn to big companies for capital

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Fledgling solar power companies looking to grow beyond their venture capital roots are increasingly catching the eye of deep-pocketed corporate investors.

For many start-ups, rounds of venture or private equity funding are thought of as stepping stones on the way to an initial public offering — the ultimate corporate symbol of having arrived.

Mar 18, 2011

California seeing no radiation level increase

VIENNA/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California air quality officials said on Friday they saw no elevated radiation levels on the U.S. West Coast from Japan’s nuclear power plant disaster.

“At this point we’re unable to verify if there are any elevated levels,” said Ralph Borrmann, a spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in San Francisco. “We’re not seeing it on our live data in California.”

Mar 17, 2011

LDK Solar shares drop on steady 2011 outlook

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – China’s LDK Solar Co Ltd repeated its 2011 revenue outlook, disappointing some investors who had been hoping for more following a stellar earnings report, and sending the company’s shares down 4 percent after hours.

The company also said some customers in Italy were holding back on orders until that nation’s new solar subsidy structure is clarified in the coming weeks.

Mar 17, 2011

LDK Solar 4th-qtr earnings, revenue top estimates

LOS ANGELES, March 17 (Reuters) – China’s LDK Solar (LDK.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)
reported quarterly earnings and revenue on Thursday that far
exceeded analysts’ expectations due to demand for solar power
products.

The company has benefited from making the industry’s key
raw material, polysilicon, as well as selling its own modules.
Its products such as wafers and cells are used to build
photovoltaic solar panels that turn sunlight into electricity.

Mar 17, 2011

Analysis: Green buying binge after Japan crisis won’t last

LOS ANGELES/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Investors who went on this week’s green energy buying binge because of Japan’s nuclear crisis may be in for a painful hangover.

Japan’s race to avert a meltdown at a tsunami-wracked nuclear power plant was viewed as a rallying cry to some supporters of renewable energy, triggering a debate about whether the power source is a safe and viable form of emissions-free energy.

Mar 16, 2011

Rubicon seeing increased Japanese demand

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – LED industry supplier Rubicon Technology Inc (RBCN.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is seeing increased demand from Japanese customers because of supply disruptions after the massive earthquake there, according to its chief executive.

The company’s shares ended 1.4 percent higher, while the broad market fell about 2 percent in reaction to the troubles in Japan.

Mar 16, 2011

Itron CEO sees no more federal smart grid dollars

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Utility meter maker Itron Inc does not expect the U.S. government to deploy any more funds to develop the so-called smart grid, Chief Executive Malcolm Unsworth said in an interview.

In the last two years, the $787-billion U.S. economic stimulus package gave a crucial boost to the smart grid, which aims to make the power grid more efficient.

Mar 15, 2011

Quake-prone California questions nuclear safety

LOS ANGELES, March 15 (Reuters) – Californians have long
had an uneasy relationship with their two nuclear power plants,
and the crisis in Japan raises new doubts about how long
nuclear power will survive in the earthquake-prone state.

The first test of the Golden State’s support for nuclear
power is coming soon, as the nuclear plants perched on the
scenic but fault-laden California coastline since the early
1980s begin the process for 20-year license renewals.

Mar 11, 2011

Energy Conversion says Europe projects on hold

LOS ANGELES, March 10 (Reuters) – U.S. solar company Energy
Conversion Devices (ENER.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it was slashing production for
the current quarter because cutbacks in French and Italian
solar subsidies have put projects there on hold.

The company’s shares slid more than 22 percent in extended
trade following Thursday’s announcement. It said the stalled
projects could impact as much as half of its expected revenue
for the fiscal third quarter.