For the most part, green energy consists of three major players: wind, hydroelectric and solar. Together, these industries provide 18% of the total power generated in the U.S.
Wind farms are a common sight in the American Midwest where there are few tall buildings and plenty of breezy plateaus. China is currently the global leader in wind power generation, but new offshore wind farm projects could open the doors to higher growth in the industry over the next decade.
Unfortunately, wind power comes with several downsides which severely limit widespread implementation. For one, wind turbines need to be built where there are consistently strong winds in order to generate stable power flows over time.
The other issue involves the size of the wind generators themselves. While smaller scale versions are offered for rural farm and residential applications, the larger wind farms require wide open spaces away from tall structures or low-flying aircraft.
Hydroelectric power plants are similar to wind farms in the sense that they are restricted to certain locations. Flowing water must be present in order to turn the turbines that generate power.
One alternative to dam limitations is to use tidal energy to drive the hydroelectric plant’s turbines. Some small-scale applications have already been built with successful results, and could kick off a new wave of expansion in the hydroelectric power industry.
Below is a quick reference for investors who are interested in wind or hydroelectric energy companies:
- Brookfield Renewable Partners (BEP)
Be sure to check our Portfolio Management Channel to learn more about different portfolio rebalancing strategies.