Mike Zaccardi, CFA, CMT

Corporations and public utilities are turning to renewables once again. COVID-19 appears to be leveling off across America as confirmed new daily cases drop. There has been a slew of recent significant headlines regarding major shifts away from fossil fuels and toward a cleaner energy future as conditions normalize.

I discussed NextEra’s quarter last month. As an avid market-watching, I’m always looking to see what the biggest players are doing. The June Beach, FL based utility plans to invest heavily in hydrogen and a growing renewable fleet. Energy storage is also a priority for NEE. S&P Global reports that NextEra has a 20 MW hydrogen pilot project planned for 2021 and a whopping 14.4 GW renewables backlog. More than 1 GW of storage is also in next year’s queue.

More recently, Dominion went through some changes to their Board with the current CEO stepping down to the executive chairman role. Dominion was in the news last month for selling significant natural gas assets to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway as the firm, along with Duke Energy, abandoned hopes of completing the troubled Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. Dominion hopes the sale accelerates its path to being net-zero in terms of carbon emissions by 2050.

Just this week, Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), the biggest utility in New Jersey, announced plans to divest 7 GW of fossil fuel generation with the goal of increased energy efficiency and building out a greener infrastructure to support electric vehicle growth. PSEG plans to cut emissions 80% by 2046. To the delight of clean energy advocate, PSEG seeks to keep its nuclear assets. Nuclear power plants often run ‘out of the money’ due to their high costs relative to market prices, but they are obviously more environmentally friendly than coal and natural gas-fired generation.

As COVID-19 is on the decline, more of the same trends from 2019 are continuing into the back half of 2020. A high priority is placed on renewables and investing in a more efficient energy grid.

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