NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- David Crane is the Elon Musk of electricity.
The CEO of NRG Energy (NRG), built from the detritus of a 2003 bankruptcy, is rapidly becoming the public face of a utility industry revolution, the company logo plastered on the Houston Texans' stadium, partnerships with people like Dean Kamen and Richard Branson in place, and behind it profits from resurrecting coal.
Crane is primarily a financial engineer. His business is selling electricity for more than it costs him to make it, preferably on long-term contracts, and right now his approach seems to be working.
Since mid-2012 NRG has been on the rise, its shares more than doubling in priceafter it launched a dividend which began at 9 cents per share and has since nearly doubled to 14 cents. Despite pulling back from recent highs options buyers are making bullish bets on the company. Shares are currently at $31, up 8% for the year to date.
NRG is due to report earnings for its June quarter later this week with analysts, most of whom have it rated as a buy, expecting earnings of 18 cents per share, and $1.66 per share for the full year.
Analysts like the way Crane has spun-out NRG's best-performing assets as NRG Yield (NYLD). Those shares have risen 83% since their launch a year ago and NRG Yield, which operates like a real estate investment trust, is currently selling new shares to buy a California wind farm.