Orange County Business Journal

Clean Energy Shares Jump on Senate Bill

Chris Casacchia Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shares of Seal Beach-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. rose sharply Tuesday after a Senate bill was introduced that would provide tax credits for vehicles that run on natural gas.

Investors sent shares up more than 15% today to a market value of about $950 million on word of the legislation proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez and North Carolina Republican Richard Burr.

Clean Energy develops and runs natural gas stations near airports, utility companies, universities, city yards and other places they’re likely to see a lot of use.

The New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2011 aims to boost production and development of natural gas, expand tax credits and restore and extend incentives for alternative-fuel vehicles that expired last year.

Nearly 14 million natural gas vehicles are on the road throughout the world, but only about 117,000 are in the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Incentives included in the recently introduced legislation would help increase that number to more more than 700,000 over the next decade while displacing some 20 billion gallons of fuel and creating more than 1 million direct and indirect jobs, according to a joint statement from the senators sponsoring the bill.

Clean Energy has annual revenue of more than $200 million and hopes to clear earnings hurdles by building a network of fueling stations for the largest segment of the market: commercial haulers that consume some $30 billion of fuel annually.

That dwarfs the public sector and waste management industries combined.

Legendary oilman and corporate raider T. Boone Pickens started Clean Energy as a tiny part of his Dallas-based Mesa Petroleum in the late 1980s.

He split it off in the late 1990s.