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U.S. Clean Energy Output Breaks Record, But Stocks Don't Follow

Benjamin Rains

Wind and solar energy accounted for more than 10% of total electricity generation in the U.S. for the first time ever. Nevertheless, clean energy stocks do not seem to be reacting to the news today.

According to a U.S. Energy Information Administration report, released today, wind and solar energy, which includes utility-scale plants and small-scale systems, jumped passed 10% of total electricity generated during March. The report also noted that the two clean energy sources contributed to 7% of total U.S. electricity output last year.

Since seasonal changes in wind patterns can sway wind energy outputs up or down, there is no guarantee that this threshold will continue to be met in the summer months. But the report does point out that while states such as Texas, Oklahoma and others in the region see their greatest wind energy outputs in the spring, California most often experiences its best wind season in the summer.

The long days that come along with the summer months will likely help solar energy outputs increase throughout the entire country. However, many U.S. solar power plants already use technology to try to curb this seasonal sunlight disparity throughout the year.

Despite the recent positive report, it seems that the market might still be worried about clean energy’s future and the sector’s ROI.

Solar energy companies First Solar, Inc. FSLR, SunPower Corporation SPWR and Canadian Solar Inc. CSIQ are all down through morning trading on Wednesday. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) is also down.

Wind energy firms Vestas Wind Systems A/S VWDRY and General Cable Corporation BGC, which manufactures underwater cables in order to transfer offshore wind energy to land, both dropped as well.

The First Trust Global Wind Energy ETF FAN and the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF ICLN hovered just above marginal gains.

Energy powerhouse General Electric GE, which works with wind energy on a global scale, is up, while electrical car giant and possible future solar power player Tesla TSLA also climbed. However, both of those moves likely have nothing to do with the U.S. EIA report.

The recent moves of President Donald Trump and his White House to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement didn’t prevent this American clean energy milestone. However, since President Trump’s decision happened well after these strong March and 2016 numbers were reported, it remains unclear if leaving the international accord will eventually impact the U.S. clean energy progress and market.

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