Investing in the Energy Transition: February 2024

March 2, 2024

ETF Performance

February saw a reversal of recent trends, with Lithium stocks rising and Uranium stocks falling. Clean Tech broadly was up moderately, as evidenced by the 0.7% rise in the Ishares Global Clean Energy ETF.

Check out our full database of Energy Transition ETFs.

Company News: Electric Vehicles

Toyota announces a $1.3 billion investment in Kentucky facility for electric SUVs

February 6th | TM

Today’s announcement reflects our commitment to vehicle electrification and further reinvesting in our U.S. operationsKerry Creech, president of Toyota Kentucky

  • Investment will go towards the assembly of an all-new, three row battery electric SUV for the U.S. market.
  • The project brings the plant’s total investment to nearly $10 billion.
  • The investment supports the previously announced future BEV assembly at Toyota Kentucky. It also adds a battery pack assembly line to the facility, with batteries being supplied by Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina.

Press Release: Toyota

LG Chem, GM Sign $19 Billion Cathode Supply Deal

February 7th| GM
Photo: LG Chem

The Seoul-based chemical company said Wednesday that it signed a 10-year deal to provide GM with more than 500,000 tons of cathode materials—enough to make batteries for about five million EVs—beginning in 2026. It said the cathode supply is worth at least 24.75 trillion won ($18.65 billion). -WSJ

  • LG Chem will produce the material in Tennessee, where it broke ground on a plant in December as part of plans to boost its role in the North American EV chain.
  • The facility, which it expects will become the largest cathode material plant in the U.S., will produce up to 60,000 metric tons of cathode materials a year starting 2026.

Read Article: Wall Street Journal

Press Release: LG Chem

Rivian projects no vehicle production growth in 2024

February 21st| RIVN

Economic and geopolitical uncertainties and pressures, most notably the impact of historically high interest rates, have informed Rivian’s expectations for 2024. With these market conditions, the company expects to produce 57,000 vehicles in 2024, in line with 2023 production. –Rivian Earnings Press Release

  • Rivian produced 57,232 vehicles (+147% YoY) and delivered 50,122 in 2023.
  • For 2024, the company is guiding towards capital expenditures of $1,750 million and an Adjusted EBITDA of $(2,700) million. 
  • Rivian will continue its company-wide cost transformation program, which to date has resulted in meaningful reductions in total unit costs for both the R1 and EDV models through engineering design changes, commercial cost downs, and manufacturing efficiencies.
  • Rivian also announced it is reducing its salaried workforce by approximately 10%. 

Read Press Release: Rivian

EV maker Lotus Tech debuts on Nasdaq following SPAC merger

February 23rd | LOT

The Lotus Eletre, a 905-horsepower luxury SUV that starts around $100,000. Photo: Lotus Tech

At this point in time, being able to access capital market through the IPO… is an acceleration for Lotus to expand globally -Lotus Tech CEO Qingfeng Feng

  • Lotus Technology is headquartered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and produces cars through a partnership with Geely. It designs, develops and sells luxury lifestyle EVs under the British brand Lotus founded in 1948.
  • The company had secured $880 million in financing ahead of its merger with LCAA.
  • Over 90% of LCAA shareholders redeemed their shares, leaving the trust’s account with roughly $11 million.

Read Article: Reuters

BBG: Apple to Wind Down Electric Car Effort After Decadelong Odyssey

February 28th | AAPL

Apple Inc. is canceling a decadelong effort to build an electric car, according to people with knowledge of the matter, abandoning one of the most ambitious projects in the history of the company. -BBG

  • Apple made the disclosure internally, surprising the nearly 2,000 employees working on the project
  • The two executives told staffers that the project will begin winding down and that many employees on the car team — known as the Special Projects Group, or SPG — will be shifted to the artificial intelligence division under executive John Giannandrea.
  • Those employees will focus on generative AI projects, an increasingly key priority for the company.

Read Article: Bloomberg

Electrek: Funding secured: Polestar’s (PSNY) outlook bounces back with $1 billion in external cash

February 28th | PSNY

Shortly after co-parent company Volvo Cars announced plans to cut ties with Polestar, the EV-centric brand has turned to an all-star lineup of international banks for external funding totaling close to one billion dollars. -Electrek

  • Last week, Volvo Cars shared plans to sell 62.7% of its stake to Geely, holding on to its remaining 18%. With close to 80% of Polestar in its portfolio, Geely said it would approve the sale and move forward with the EV brand.
  • Polestar has successfully secured $950 million in external funding financed by 12 international banks, including BNP Paribas, Natixis, Standard Chartered, BBVA, HSBC, and SPDB.

Read Article: Electrek

Read Press Release: Polestar

Company News: Green Energy

Vestas Wind returns to profitability on record order intake

February 7th | VWDRY

We continued to progress on our strategic priorities and strengthen our commercial and operational discipline, which together with growth in our Service business helped us achieve a revenue of EUR 15.4bn. Our performance in 2023 was helped by the improving business environment, but continued geopolitical volatility as well as slow permitting and insufficient grid build-out across markets are expected to cause uncertainty in 2024. -Vestas CEO Henrik Andersen

  • Record order intake of 18.4GW in 2023, driven by growth in both onshore and offshore in the U.S. (the huge SunZia contract helped).
  • Order backlog of €60.1 billion as of year end.
  • The company return to profitability in Q3 and Q4.

Press Release: Vestas Wind

Shell to permanently close all of its hydrogen refuelling stations for cars in California

February 8th | SHEL

Shell has permanently closed six of its seven hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) for passenger cars in California, citing ‘supply complications and other external market factors’ -Hydrogen Insight

  • Shell had last September told Hydrogen Insight that it had “discontinued its plan to build and operate additional light-duty vehicle fueling stations in California”, effectively scrapping the 48 new sites it had previously announced it would build.
  • This decision could also reflect a lack of demand. While California was one of the few markets for hydrogen-powered vehicles to grow this year, only 3,143 were registered in 2023 — less than 1% of battery-electric cars in the same period, according to the most recent figures from the California Energy Commission.

Read Article: Hydrogen Insight

Solar firm Meyer Burger announces rights issue plan, shares tumble

February 8th | MYBUF

Swiss solar panel maker Meyer Burger on Friday called an extraordinary meeting to approve a 200 million-250 million Swiss franc ($227 million-$284 million) rights issue to help plug a funding gap flagged earlier this yearReuters

  • The company said the German government has also approved an export guarantee for financing by a commercial bank for up to $95 million, and that it is applying for a loan of between $200 million-250 million from the U.S. Energy Department.
  • The combination of the rights issue, the export credit guarantee and other loans are enough to close the financing gap of 450 million Swiss francs it mentioned in January, said Meyer Burger.
  • Meyer Burger said that a lack of policy support measures to correct market distortions from oversupply and dumping on prices of solar modules meant it would also be halting production at its loss-making site in Germany’s Freiberg in March.

Read Article: Reuters

Avangrid and Amazon Expand U.S. Partnership with 98.4 MW Wind Project in Oregon

February 9th | AMZN, AGR

Repowering wind farms involves replacing end-of-life turbines with newer, more powerful models. It’s a key part of future plans for large wind farm owners such as Avangrid and Nextera Energy Partners  -Green Stocks Research

  • The project covers 40 turbines and 98.4 MW of capacity, enough to power 22,800 homes per year
  • It will support about 200 jobs during construction
  • Amazon plans to use renewable energy for 100% of the electricity required for it’s operations by 2025
  • Amazon already has 2 GW of renewables capacity across the western U.S. grid

Press Release: Avangrid

BBG: Apollo, Other Investors Commit $300 Million in Boost to SunPower

February 23rd | SPWR

Funds managed by Apollo, ATLAS SP Partners and Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital Inc. committed the investment to bolster SunPower’s residential solar and storage lease programs. The rooftop solar company recently raised $155 million of financing from its majority shareholders to ease a cash crunch. Terms of the new financial commitments were not disclosed. -Bloomberg

  • The residential solar company struggled after a unit defaulted last year on a credit agreement by failing to file a document on time.
  • Under the latest deal, SunPower can now access more than $500 million of capital if it meets certain “funding conditions”

Read Article: Bloomberg

Press Release: SunPower

Company News: Critical Minerals

Albemarle cuts 2030 Lithium demand forecast

February 16th | ALB

  • Albemarle now expects demand of 3.3mn tonnes of lithium carbon equivalent (LCE) by 2030, down from the 3.7mn tonnes forecast previously.
  • The forecast has been revised downwards due to:
      • OEM announcements
      • Moderated battery size growth
      • Reductions in downstream Li salt inventory
  • The near-term outlook remains strong with lithium demand expected +28% Y/Y in 2024

Presentation: Albemarle

FT:Elliott Management on the hunt for mining assets worth at least $1bn

February 23rd

Elliott Management is setting up a company to hunt for global mining assets in the range of at least $1bn, as it seeks to take advantage of the depressed valuation of groups operating in the sector, people familiar with the matter said. -Financial Times

  • The new venture,Hyperion, will be led by Sandeep Biswas, the former chief executive of gold mining group Newcrest Mining and a veteran dealmaker and operator in the sector.
  • Hyperion will have a mandate to hunt for assets in the range of at least $1bn, including single mines and more complex transactions such as buyouts of public companies and the acquisition of stakes in existing groups. Elliott is particularly interested in underfinanced mines.

Read Article: Financial Times

Alcoa Agrees to Acquire Australia’s Alumina for $2.2 Billion

February 25th | AA
Slide: Alcoa

Alcoa has been a proven operator of AWAC, and we recognize the value creation opportunities possible under a simplified ownership structure, including the ability to implement AWAC’s operational and strategic decisions on an accelerated basis. We believe now is the right time to consolidate ownership in AWAC and look forward to working closely with the Alumina Limited team to consummate a transaction that will better position Alcoa to execute on our long-term growth strategy. -Alcoa CEO William F. Oplinger 

  • Alumina Ltd is Alcoa’s joint-venture partner in a Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC)
  • Alumina’s 40% ownership stake in AWAC is the company’s sole asset
  • The company says “A combination of Alcoa and Alumina Limited would enhance Alcoa’s vertical integration across the value chain, with leading positions across bauxite, alumina and aluminum smelting and casting, excluding China. AWAC’s mining operations are strategically located in proximity to AWAC refineries and major Atlantic and Pacific markets. Alcoa’s smelters are strategically located proximate to key markets in North America and Europe. The increased vertical integration in a combined company also provides more stability throughout the commodity cycle.”

Press Release: Alcoa

Presentation: Alcoa


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