MarketWatch: Solar Stock Selloff Creates Buying Opportunity

Solar stocks have been caught up in the selloff created by lower oil prices, but some on Wall Street believe a buying opportunity is knocking.

Crude has fallen about 25% since September, roughly mirroring the decline in solar stocks in the same period.

The perception is that low oil prices will lower demand for renewable energy, pressuring stocks in the sector. Even Tesla Motors' stock was caught up in the selling this week.

“An oil-driven pullback is a totally irrational reaction that offers a buying opportunity. With oil prices near four-year lows, we have occasionally been hearing the question: What impact will this have on the solar space? The short answer is: Fundamentally zero,” analysts at Raymond James said in a note.

Bloomberg: Falling Oil Price Won’t Affect Solar Industry, SunPower CEO Says

Plunging prices for crude oil will have little impact on the solar industry, said the chief executive officer of the second-largest U.S. solar manufacturer, SunPower.

Oil would have to drop “a lot more” for the economics of burning oil or diesel to be cheaper than solar power,’’ Tom Werner said at the Credit Suisse 2014 Annual Technology Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The price of oil has fallen nearly 40 percent since June, amid swelling supplies from U.S. shale and OPEC’s decision last week to maintain production.

Wired: A Two-Day Battle to Charge My Car Convinced Me We’re Not Ready for EVs

When I set up a weeklong test drive with an electric Nissan Leaf last month, I didn’t expect a 35-mile trip from San Francisco to Mountain View to lead to two of the most stressful days I’ve experienced this year. And I didn’t expect to walk away from the experience convinced that, although electric vehicles are great to drive and slowly overcoming their range shortcomings, the infrastructure needed for owners to keep them charged is woefully inadequate -- even in EV-lovin’ San Francisco and Silicon Valley, where Teslas are as common as pigeons.

The problem is not a lack of places to plug in: There are at least 20,000 stations in the U.S., and that number is quickly growing. But they’re no help unless they’re both easy to find and available. In my case, they were neither.

Midwest Energy News: Michigan’s Electric Choice Law ‘in the Crosshairs’ in 2015

Depending on who you ask, Michigan’s customer choice law for electric service is either too limited or doesn’t go far enough. And the debate will very likely be revived in the legislature next year.

The question is whether the state will move back to a fully deregulated market (as it was from 2001 to 2008), eliminate any form of customer choice or maintain a percentage cap with revisions.

Michigan’s choice law, which has a 10 percent cap on customers who can participate, is seen by some as the reason behind an energy crisis in the U.P., as well as a potential roadblock for dealing with a projected capacity shortfall in coming years.

But deregulation supporters, who believe all ratepayers should be able to choose their electricity suppliers and allow competition to drive down rates, dispute both of these claims. They point to Michigan’s comparatively high rates in the Midwest and the thousands of customers waiting in line to exercise electric choice, but can’t because the cap is filled.

Bloomberg: U.S. Nuclear Plants Squeezed by Cheap Gas, Uranium Costs

U.S. nuclear power plant shutdowns loom amid rising costs for uranium and low electricity prices caused by cheap natural gas.

Spot prices of U3O8, or yellowcake, have rebounded 39 percent from a nine-year low in June as U.S. plant owners and speculators stockpiled uranium in anticipation of stronger demand, according to TradeTech LLC and Ux Consulting Co. Kyushu Electric Power Co. (9508) received approvals to restart two Japanese reactors as early as 2015, the first since all 48 of the country’s nuclear plants shut after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

U.S. plants, which consume 28 percent of the world’s nuclear fuel, are struggling to stay profitable after a 70 percent drop since 2008 in natural gas, a competing fuel for power generation. Available supplies have tightened after a Russian treaty to process uranium from warheads expired last December and miners slowed or delayed expansion plans.