Rolling blackouts, freezing homes, and skyrocketing electricity prices. Back in February, Texas’ primary electric grid suffered a one-two punch wrought by the deep freeze and off-the-charts demand for power as power plants struggled to keep up with heating demand. Power outages such as the Texas one are not only becoming much more frequent compared to the situation two decades ago but are also increasing in severity mainly due to climate stresses and a power grid that’s increasingly unable to hold up. The Texas blackouts marked the third time the electric system failed to perform adequately in winter in recent years (1989, 2011, and 2021).
The devastating blackouts once again brought into sharp focus the fact that the United States is relying on an aging electrical grid that’s increasingly unstable, underfunded, and incapable of taking us to a new energy future. Despite being the wealthiest country in the world, the U.S. only ranks 13th in the quality of its infrastructure.
Indeed, our power grid is the weakest link in the ongoing energy transition.
Last year, a new study from UC Berkeley and GridLab found that it will be economically feasible for renewable energy to power 90% of a reliable grid by 2035, while only depending on natural gas for 10% of annual electricity production.
Unfortunately, whereas renewable power sources have grown dramatically in recent years, our aging electrical grid is simply incapable of fully integrating them into our energy use, leading to so much potential power wasted.
Yet, therein lies a great investment opportunity.
A Wood Mackenzie analysis has estimated the cost of shifting the U.S. power grid to 100% renewable energy over the next 10 years at a staggering $4.5 trillion. That runs the gamut from constructing and operating new generation facilities, investing in transmission and distribution infrastructure, making capacity payments, delivering customer-facing grid edge technology, and more.
President Biden’s 10-year, $2 trillion American Jobs Plan seeks to re-energize the power grid, upgrade roads, bridges, and water systems and help make U.S. infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
But that amount will hardly be enough to go the distance, and private investors will have to step up to the plate. Modernizing the power grid alone will require $300 billion per year spread out over 15 years, or double the current annual spending of $150 billion.
That’s why investing in companies working hard to build the next-generation grid could pay off big dividends for long-term investors.
Here are our top picks, with good dividend growth opportunities serving as a safety net.
Next Era Energy Inc. NEE (-1.74%) is a Florida-based clean energy company and America’s largest electric utility holding company by market cap. NEE (-1.74%) is the world’s largest producer of wind and solar energy, with more than 50,000 megawatts of generating capacity. Next Era Energy is one of the largest utilities in the country, with two electric utilities in Florida. The company owns eight subsidiaries, with the largest, Next Era Energy Services, supplying 5 million homes in Florida with electricity. Next Era Energy Transmission integrates renewable energy and strengthens the electricity grid.
Next Era is quickly establishing itself as a leader in building next-generation grids designed to handle increased loads from renewable energy.
NextEra has been building its grid business both organically through development projects as well as inorganically through acquisitions. For example, earlier this year, NextEra acquired GridLiance for $660 million, adding 700 miles of high-voltage transmission lines across six states. Last year, NEE (-1.74%) won regulatory approval to build a new transmission line in Western New York that will ease grid congestion and facilitate the delivery of renewable energy from the region.
During the company’s latest earnings call, management reiterated its 30×30 goal to install more than 30 million solar panels, or roughly 10,000 megawatts of incremental solar capacity, in Florida by 2030 through one of its subsidiaries, Florida Power & Light (FPL).
Another of NEE (-1.74%)’s subsidiaries, Next Era Energy Partners LP(NYSE: NEP), is publicly listed and pays a 3.4% dividend one of the highest in the industry. NEP acquires, manages, and owns contracted clean energy projects with a preference for businesses with stable, long-term cash flows. NextEra Energy Partners owns interests in dozens of wind and solar projects in the United States, as well as natural gas infrastructure assets in Texas. These contracted projects use leading-edge technology to generate energy from the wind and the sun. The company’s management is shooting for 12-15% dividend growth through 2024, making this an ideal stock for income investors.
Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc. XEL (-2.56%) is a leading electricity and natural gas utility serving 3.6 million customers in Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico.
Xcel boasts nearly 9,000MW in operating capacity for its wind projects and another 1,600MW for solar. The company has increased solar generation by more than 4x since 2011 and plans to grow its wind generation capacity by 50% over the next couple of years.
Like NextEra, Xcel Energy operates one of the biggest and fastest-growing investor-owned transmission systems with more than 20,000 miles of transmission lines across 10 states.
Xcel has a goal to invest $24.3 billion through 2025 to expand its operations, with 25% of that earmarked to expand its transmission business to help support increased renewable energy deployment. One of the company’s top projects is the proposed Colorado Pathway Transmission expansion that will see the company invest up to $1.7 billion to build 560 miles of new transmission lines to support 5.5 gigawatts of new renewable power generation.
As part of the company’s own investment thesis, Xcel shoots for consistent shareholder returns based on 5-7% annual EPS growth and similar dividend growth with a 60-70% payout ratio. The company aims to maintain a 3% dividend yield, meaning there’s room for improvement on the current yield of 2.63%.
Kimani writes for Oilprice.com
By: Alex Kimani
House Probes Petrol Subsidy Regime From 2017 To 2021
The decision of the parliament followed the adoption of a motion, titled “Need to Investigate the Petroleum Products Subsidy Regime in Nigeria from 2017 to 2021”, presented by Sergius Ose Ogun, representing Uromi/Esan North East Federal Constituency of Edo State at plenary.
Moving the motion, Ogun noted that Section 32 of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021 saddled the Petroleum Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority with the task of regulating and monitoring technical and commercial midstream and downstream petroleum operations in Nigeria.
He said: “As of 2002, the NNPC’s purchase of crude oil at international market prices stood at 445,000 barrels per day in order to enable it to provide petroleum products for local consumption.
“Due to the decline in the production capacity of the refineries, NNPC found it more convenient to export domestic crude in exchange for petroleum products on trade by barter basis described as Direct Sales Direct Purchase, DSDP, arrangement.
“The consumption rate of Petroleum Motor Spirit, PMS, is 40million to 45million litres per day, however, the NNPC uses 65 million to 100 million litres per day to determine subsidy as discoverable from NNPC’s monthly reports to the Federal Allocation Committee, FAAC.
“Component costs in the petroleum products subsidy value chain claimed by the NNPC Limited is highly over-bloated while the transfer pump price per litre used by the NNPC Limited in relation to PPMC is under-quoted as N123-N128 instead of N162-N165 and this fraudulent under-reporting of N37-N39 per litre translates into over N70 billion a month or N840 billion naira a year.
“The subsidy regime has been unscrupulously used by the NNPC and other critical stakeholders to subvert the nation’s crude oil revenue to the tune of over S10 billion, with records showing that as at 2021, over $7 billion in over 120 million barrels have been so diverted.
“Disturbed that there exists evidence that subsidy amounts are being duplicated, thus subsidy is charged against petroleum products sales in the books of NNPC as well as against crude oil revenue in the books of NAPIMS to the tune of over N2 trillion action.”
Speaking on the motion earlier, a member of the House, Obinna Chidioka, noted that the prayer of the motion was akin to the committee currently probing the assets and liabilities of NNPC, asking the House to either commit the motion to the committee or step it down.
But his remark was countered by other lawmakers who noted a difference between the two assignments.
Adopting the motion, the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, gave the ad hoc committee eight weeks within which to execute the assignment and report back to the House for further legislative action.
Establish More Fuel Depots, Reps Urge NNPC
This followed the adoption of a motion by Rep Uju Kingsley.
Kingsley, in his motion, noted that there are insufficient depots to store petroleum products in Nigeria.
According to him, an estimated 100 million litres of bad petrol imported into Nigeria have caused fuel scarcity in Nigeria with the consequent effect of adulteration of the product by roadside black market vendors.
He said from information available on the official website of the NNPC, Nigeria has 5,000 kilometres of pipeline network, 21 storage depots and nine (9) LPG depots, which, he said, are grossly inadequate to effectively serve the 36 states of the country as well as the Federal Capital Territory, hence the recurrent fuel scarcity.
The Lawmaker said it was disturbing that many other depots are owned by private individuals who receive fuel from the NNPC and then sell it at exorbitant prices, causing unnecessary irregularities in the price of the product across the country.
He added that if more fuel depots are established, fuel scarcity will be curbed while more employment opportunities will be created as a result, thus improving the country’s economy.
The House adopted the motion and mandated its Committee on Petroleum Resources
‘Smart Airlines Saving Billions Of Dollars From Oil Price Hedging’
During times of falling crude prices, oil producers normally use a short hedge to lock in oil prices if they believe prices are likely to go even lower in the future, while heavy consumers like airlines do the exact opposite, hedge against rising oil prices, which could quickly eat into their profits.
Nearly all of an airline’s costs are somewhat predictable, except one: the short-term costs of fuel. Fuel is typically the biggest line item in an airline’s expense book and can account for nearly a third of total operating costs.
Two years ago, many large carriers ditched their oil hedges after suffering massive losses due to persistently low oil prices. But with oil prices constantly taking out multi-year highs, they have now been forced to reverse course and are hedging aggressively, with brokers reporting the busiest spell of consumer hedging in years.
And, there is growing evidence that fuel hedges are working as they should this time around.
Hedging is paying off
Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) and Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK) are the only major United States carriers that have consistently hedged the cost of jet fuel.
Southwest is the only large United State airline that is also a low-cost carrier, and fuel accounts for a third of its operating costs. The airline began hedging its fuel costs in the early 1990s after crude prices spiked during the first Gulf War and has religiously hedged through thick and thin.
Southwest aims to hedge at least 50 per cent of Southwest’s fuel costs each year and exclusively use call options and call spreads. Company’s treasurer, Chris Monroe, and his team trade crude-oil derivatives as a proxy for jet fuel. They deal with some of Wall Street’s shrewdest commodity-trading desks, including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and seven more traders.
Southwest lost money on its hedges between 2015 and 2017, but this year oil hedges are paying off big-time for the Texas-based carrier.
According to The Financial Times, a crack team of four fuel traders at Southwest Airlines has managed to save the company a whopping $1.2 billion this year through smart hedging. Orchestrated by the company’s treasurer, Chris Monroe, and his team, Southwest hedges have slashed its fuel costs by 70 cents to between $3.30 and $3.40 a gallon this quarter, the carrier disclosed in a recent trading update. Southwest has pegged the fair market value of its fuel-derivative contracts for this year at $1.2 billion.
While oil prices have climbed 40 per cent in the year-to-date, middle distillates have seen an even bigger surge: jet fuel recently traded as high as ~$320/b in New York ($7.61/gallon), a massive ~$200+ premium to crude feedstock prices.
The jet fuel premium is ~10x larger than any premium seen in the past 30 years. Southwest’s hedges must have shielded the company from some major price shocks.
“Our fuel hedge is providing excellent protection against rising energy prices and significantly offsets the market price increase in jet fuel in first quarter 2022,” Southwest CFO Tammy Romo said on the carrier’s first-quarter earnings call.
Southwest is just one of many companies looking to protect themselves from high oil prices. Over the past few months, there has been a renewed appetite from many airlines as well as an influx of first-timers, including Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), as well as trucking and manufacturing firms.
“We’re also very fortunate that for the next 12 months, we’re very well hedged on fuel. I would ascribe that more to dumb luck than supremely intelligent management. But nevertheless, we have 80% of our fuel purchased forward out to March 2023 at less than $70 per barrel,” Ryanair Holdings Plc (NASDAQ:RYAAY) CEO Michael O’Leary revealed during the company’s latest earnings call.
To be sure, hedging in the current market can be expensive, thanks to the red-hot demand for hedging products. Those higher hedging costs have been accentuated by a lack of liquidity in recent months, making it harder to find counterparties and agree on prices. But with oil prices unlikely to come down any time soon, heavy oil users are left with little choice but to hedge or risk paying billions more in extra fuel costs.
By: Alex Kimani
Kimani reports for Oilprice.com
Business4 days ago
Nigeria Loses N500.6bn Over Crude Oil Sale
Business4 days ago
Firms Want Solar Integration In Renewable Energy
Business4 days ago
NDLEA Arrests Two Freight Forwarders Over Drug Trafficking
Business4 days ago
Fake Products Controversy: SON’s DG Lied – Customs
Sports4 days ago
NPFL Can Become Best In Africa – Coach
Sports4 days ago
LMC Explains 30Mins Added Time In Katsina Utd, Remo Stars Clash
Sports4 days ago
Athletes Laud Sports Facilities In Edo
News4 days ago
UK Justifies Deportation Of 30 Nigerians