It's all around us but only recently has become a major energy source -- wind power. Wind provides nearly 5% of U.S. electricity, up from virtually nothing a decade ago, and is projected to reach 35% by mid-century.
The situation gets better, too. The U.S. projection is in line what the world is expected to average by 2050.
Investors looking to get in on of the most significant growth stories of the century have many options, but Vestas (VWDRY) stands out. The Danish wind turbine equipment maker and installer, with a market cap of nearly $15 billion, is one of the purest pure plays in investment history. It's where the wind blows.
However, investors need to be mindful of the risks. The competition is broad and deep -- from other wind power equipment companies, which are also very strong players, to the fossil fuel giants, which will not go quietly into the night. The latter have the financial and political muscle to fight clean, sustainable energy and they may even win -- temporarily -- when they lose. Falling demand for fossil fuel will knock down their prices and could lead to a slowdown in the rush of wind.
Still, Vestas is in an enviable position. It is widely considered to be the biggest, most experienced wind turbine company in the world. It's a global competitor and holds the record for having produced the biggest wind turbine. It's also poised for the next big leap in wind power -- building and installing floating off-shore turbines -- that could bring cheap, sustainable energy to the roughly half the world's population that lives within a hundred miles of a coastline.