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Investors Dump Renewable Energy Funds At A Record Pace

Global renewable energy funds saw record outflows of money in the third quarter of 2023 as stocks of wind and solar developers and suppliers crashed amid rising costs, higher interest rates, and supply-chain challenges.

Renewable energy exchange traded funds (ETFs), tracking the performance of clean energy companies, suffered a total of $1.4 billion of outflows in the third quarter, the highest outflows of any previous quarter, according to data from LSEG Lipper cited by Reuters.

The record outflows between July and September only partially offset net inflows of $3.36 billion for the first half of 2023, the data showed.

However, renewable energy stocks started to come under pressure around the middle of this year as development costs surged amid high interest rates and supply-chain delays.   

The S&P Global Clean Energy Index, comprised of the 100 biggest companies in the renewable energy sector, had a year-to-date return of -31.08% as of October 9, while the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF had a -29.78% YTD return as of October 6.

Some individual stocks haven’t fared much better. For example, shares in the world’s top offshore wind farm developer, Orsted, had dropped by 44.49% year to date to October 10, with most of the decline accumulated in recent weeks.

At the end of August, Orsted warned of up to $2.3 billion (16 billion Danish crowns) of impairments on its U.S. project portfolio due to supply chain delays, higher interest rates, and the possible inability to qualify for additional tax credits beyond 30%.

Also in the U.S., NextEra Energy Partners LP, the renewable energy company of NextEra Energy, has seen its shares slump by 70.93% so far this year.

A perfect storm of soaring costs, supply chain delays, rising interest rates, and low electricity prices at auctions have been hurting renewables-related companies in recent months.

“There’s a dark cloud hanging over green stocks,” Martin Frandsen, a portfolio manager at Principal Asset Management, told the Financial Times earlier this month.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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