I'm bullish on clean energy over the long term, although it's been a terrible investment for the past decade and I have not been in it.
I'm now starting to get very interested with the fundamentals and technicals starting to align.
U.S. President Donald Trump's split from the World on the Paris Accord probably does not matter much for the sector's long-term investment thesis, but it's disturbing nevertheless.
There are few sectors that have the dubious distinction of trading below the generational lows seen in 2008 and 2009. Clean energy is one of them.
The main reason being that the cost of installation is falling rapidly. While good for adoption, it has been a revenue problem for the industry for the past decade. However, the trajectory is starting to look better and demand is increasing significantly as costs come down.
In 2016, it was estimated that you could put a solar panel on your roof at about the same cost as pulling it off the grid in most U.S. states. It's not quite there in Canada yet, given our slightly cooler climate. I looked at this for my house a few years back, and we have too much tree cover for it to make any financial sense.
I believe industry will take the clean energy lead over Mr. Trump's stupidity, understanding that climate change is real.
The planet is warming. The facts are undeniable. Whether we are causing it is at least debatable, but I think most people in the world would like to do something about it if they could.
This is not a partisan issue, this is a concern for humanity.
So, while I'm not going to stop taking airplanes nor give up my air miles to reduce my carbon footprint, I did buy a plug-in hybrid car, and spent considerably more money to make sure my home has the best windows and insulation. I also have an instant hot water tank, and, while occasionally it takes a minute to warm up, my carbon footprint is a bit better than most and that is the right thing to do.
I'm proud that my utilities statement shows that I'm in the top quartile of home efficiency in my neighbourhood. I love the behavioural nudge that governments are using to tease people in the right direction.
Now that is smart policy Mr. Trump.
It's not costing any jobs, and it's making the little differences that in the long run matter. There's also bad policy too, like the Kathleen Wynne Liberals' waste of tax payer money on clean energy projects with no place to sell the surpluses. As politics go, they are desperately trying to "adjust/bury" heading into the Ontario election in 2018.
Getting back to my investment thesis, I've said for a few years now that oil and gas prices are lower for longer and so the development of alternatives have slowed somewhat.
The clean energy sector is highly correlated with the traditional ways we power the world.
Where Mr. Trump is out to lunch is coal. The coal jobs are not coming back, and you are a fool for thinking so. Aside from methane gas produce by flatulent bovine, coal is the dirtiest fuel there is. The Paris Accord may not be a good deal for the U.S., but the World will keep moving in the direction of clean renewable alternatives because it's the smart thing to do in the long run.
I expect the markets for clean energy will have a bit of a digestion period, but I'm looking to take advantage of others selling as there is a multi-year base pattern that looks very interesting for the next few decades of clean energy growth.
iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN-Q) is the way I'm looking to play it.
It's about 50 per cent utilities and then a mix of industrial manufacturers and technology providers, like semiconductor manufacturers. You are mostly exposed to the U.S. dollar (44 per cent) and about 20 per cent to the Hong Kong dollar, which is pegged to the U.S.. But overall, it is the best global exposure to the space. I'll be scaling in between 7.50 to 8.50 over the next year.
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