Stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are jumping on the bandwagon—from big players like Fidelity Investments and its Select Environment and Alternative Energy Portfolio, to smaller ones like New Alternatives Fund, that have been at it for decades.
Major companies like Facebook, have also made pledges to power global operations with 100$ renewable energy by 2020, and are going in big for renewable energy. This is a heartening prospect for investors.
Electricity sector is leading the way in renewable energy investment
According to the International Energy Agency’s latest market forecast, renewables will continue their expansion in the next five years, covering 40% of global energy consumption growth. Their use continues to increase most rapidly in the electricity sector, and will account for almost a third of total world electricity generation in 2023.
So as such, large utilities like NextEra Energy are making considerable investments in renewable.
James L. Robo, CEO of NextEra Energy, one of the country’s largest power generators, predicted that solar and wind power will be cheaper than coal or nuclear generation by the beginning of the next decade.
Berkshire Hathaway-owned MidAmerican Energy has set its sights on getting 100% of its electricity from wind power by 2020.
Managers of green-energy funds argue that individual investments help the energy transition. All else equal, more investors should mean higher stock values for renewable energy companies, which would make it easier for those companies and new ventures to raise money.
Edward B. M. Guinness, manager of the Guinness Atkinson Alternative Energy Fund, told The New York Times earlier this month. That should translate to further investment and expansion.
“Every piece of investment in the sector matters,” he said.
Further studies from Morningstar have demonstrated that including nonfinancial factors, like environmental performance, in investment management is healthy for overall returns.
Lucas White, manager of the GMO Climate Change Fund, stated in an interview: “As the costs fell for solar, wind, batteries and storage, our research led us to think that there was a new strategy focused more directly on the solutions side,”
The fund’s mandate “is to make as much money as possible investing in solutions for dealing with climate change,” White said—noting that he expects rising demand for renewable energy to make investments in the sector even more lucrative.
“We are trying to figure out how to profit from the activity in this area, which we expect to ramp up considerably.” He stated.