This one comes to us from Jeff Siegel, publisher of Green Chip Stocks. A few readers also forwarded it to me, including one anonymous thinker who suggested the solution to the teaser.
Green Chip is selling a newsletter subscription for $199 … and as a bonus for trying the service, you get access to their special report, The Tiny Geothermal Stock That’s Set To Go Gangbusters.
Or of course, you could turn to the Gumshoe and find out the basics on this company without a subscription.
So what are we working with here? Not surprisingly coming from this newsletter, the sell is for a clean energy company … in this case, geothermal, building steam electric generation plants that are powered by geothermal wells that are drilled to extract hot water and steam from the bowels of the earth. Not a new technology, but certainly one that’s not in wide use.
What does the ad say about the company?
“These guys sealed the deal to construct and operate the first-ever geothermal power plant in the state of Idaho. This is huge considering the DOE ranks Idaho 3rd in the nation in potential geothermal energy capacity. Only California and Oregon are bigger. “
The specific site of the power plant is the Raft River region.
And no other power plants are going in right now in that area — “This tiny $1.67 company has a virtual stranglehold on the Gem state. “
The future looks bright, too, according to Siegel …
“Raft River region has an estimated capacity as high as 1,000 MW. ” Depending on how you count it, that could supply more households than exist in the state. This site alone may reach 200MW.
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And it’s not a well-known company, but an undercovered small cap: “And I wasn’t surprised. Not many over-fed, spoiled Wall Street analysts are willing to take an 8-hour flight to Boise, Idaho and then drive 3 hours to no-man’s land to check out a bunch of geothermal wells.”
They’re working with some established names, which helps to boost confidence: “Ormat has a partnership with this tiny $1.67 geothermal company”
Some more specific clues:
This firm “maintains 100% control of the 8.2 square miles of geothermal rights”
$20 million in cash, and no debt.
Broke ground for their power plant 8 months ago.
Will begin production of power in 4 months.
And the projection: “By that time, I expect the stock to be trading for at least $3 a share. “
And one more specific clue:
“As I write this letter today, the CEO of this geothermal company is in D.C., meeting with the US House of Representatives Energy & Minerals Resource Committee. It’s good to have friends in Washington! “
So what is this geothermal stock that’s going to “go gangbusters?”
A few readers sent in ideas for this one, and one of you was right — and this one had quite a few clues, so I can be quite certain that this microcap company is …
US Geothermal (UGTH.OB, or GTH.V in Canada)
It was at $1.67 on April 20th, when this email went out, but it’s now at about $2 … probably largely due to the newsletter pushing it, I’d expect. The CEO did testify in Congress on April 19. And they are indeed building a power plant at the Raft River site in Idaho, which will be the only operating plant in the state (though it’s on a well-established geothermal site that has been used for power generation before). The market cap for this one is right around $80 million, so it is indeed tiny. The $20 million in cash was accurate a year ago, and they still have about $11 million in what they classify as “restricted cash” … so I wouldn’t get too excited about that, they’re still losing quite a bit of money as construction moves forward and, as you might expect since the power plant isn’t yet operational, income is quite limited. I have no idea when(or if) the company might turn profitable, though it’s a pretty safe bet that their accumulated losses will at least shield them from taxes for quite a while.
The plant is being built by Ormat, a more established play on geothermal energy, and to start with the company is not going to produce anywhere near 200MW (the first plant is planned to product 13MW), though that optimistic projection of 200MW for this site and 1,000MW for the broader field is out there. This field has indeed been a test site for geothermal electric generation for decades, including government-run projects in the 1970s and 80s, so there is some proof that this can succeed.
As you might imagine, the Gumshoe doesn’t know shineola about geothermal energy. I’ve never even seen “Old Faithful” … but I do know that this is the company the Green Chip folks are teasing you about. Whether or not it’s worth your hard-earned cash, well, that’s for you to decide. Feel free to share with comments here if you like the future for geothermal, my sense is that this is going to remain a pretty small niche, thanks to the very small number of potentially useful geothermal sites in the US, but as I noted, I’m a dilettante in this area. Best of luck.