Smart energy investments for a low carbon future

Smart energy investments for a low carbon future

13-07-2016 | インタビュー

Thiemo Lang, Portfolio Manager of the RobecoSAM Smart Energy strategy, discusses the future of the energy sector in the wake of the COP21 agreement to limit global warming to well below 2°C.

  • Thiemo  Lang
    Thiemo
    Lang
    Senior Portfolio Manager

Speed read

  • Companies intending to invest in conventional energy sources should think twice
  • Utilities will have to adapt to decentralized clean power generation, or face their demise
  • Natural gas will be an important transitional energy source over the next decades

How do you see the energy sector developing in response to COP21?

“COP21 is the first global agreement to combat global warming that includes both developed and developing countries. It is truly transformative. The investment implications for the energy sector will become clearer over the next few years as each country formulates its own action plan. The COP21 agreement’s goal of achieving zero net emissions in the second half of the century hangs like the Sword of Damocles over carbon investments. Companies intending to invest in conventional energy sources such as oil exploration or coal power stations must think twice before doing so. Likewise, utilities using centralized conventional power generation and distributing it to millions of customers will have to adapt their business models to the trend of decentralized clean power generation and storage, or face their demise.”

“The COP21 agreement is an important tailwind for the clean energy industry, enabling it to reap the benefits of the improvements to its cost competitiveness over the last 10 years.”

サステナビリティに関する最新の「インサイト」を読む
サステナビリティに関する最新の「インサイト」を読む
配信登録

A long list of investors including Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Church of England have pledged to divest out of coal. Do you expect more investors to do follow suit?

“In the very long term, the entire traditional energy sector is at risk, not necessarily because of stricter regulations, but because of increasingly better economics for future clean energy solutions. As more investors recognize that it is becoming increasingly risky and detrimental to their performance to remain invested in hydrocarbon-heavy industries, we will see more moves to divest out of these sectors. Still, the impact of these structural headwinds will be felt from, say, 2020 onwards. Until then, we may still see some short-term cyclical improvements in the oil & gas sector.”

Will the current oil price slump deter the transition to less carbon-intensive alternatives?

“We have not seen any decrease in activity in renewable energies as a result of low oil prices. One of the main reasons for this is that renewable energies essentially compete with coal and natural gas for electricity generation and not oil: only around 3% of the world’s electricity is generated from oil.”

“Coal and natural gas prices have also been depressed in recent years, but we still haven’t seen any declines in retail electricity prices. In fact, quite the opposite has happened. For example, US residential electricity prices have increased by more than 3% per year over the last 10 years. This steady price increase is mainly driven by transmission & distribution costs, which account for an increasingly larger share of total electricity costs. They currently make up more than 40% of the total cost of electricity. As a result, the competitiveness of renewable power generation will only improve over time. For example, the cost of electricity generated from solar has declined by 5-10% per year over the last 10 years.”

‘COP21 hangs like the Sword of Damocles over carbon investments’

Does natural gas still have an important role to play in the transition to a low carbon economy?

“Natural gas is by far the cleanest energy form compared with other conventional energy sources such as oil and coal. A natural gas power plant emits roughly half of the CO2 compared with a coal power plant of the same size. We view natural gas as an important transitional energy source over the next few decades. However, from an investor’s perspective, we think that this is not necessarily an interesting sector, as companies have considerably increased their leverage over the last years, and are now suffering from deteriorating fundamentals. As a result, we recently removed the natural gas exploration & production sector from the eligible universe for our strategy. Meanwhile, we still invest in natural gas distribution and transport companies. These are mostly natural gas utilities, which show very high earnings predictability.”

What types of companies and sectors do you expect to benefit from COP21?

“In our strategy, we always try to find a good balance of sectors addressing different growth and value areas. In renewable energy, we currently focus on upstream solar companies and wind turbine manufacturers. As far as energy management is concerned, we have a decent exposure to the semiconductor power management sector, as companies in this sector enable the efficient conversion of power for consumer electronics, IT, storage and automotive applications. Within energy distribution, not only do we own electrical and natural gas utilities, but also equipment companies for smart grid and smart city solutions. And finally, in the area of energy efficiency, we like industrial automation and processes companies.”

重要事項

当資料は情報提供を目的として、Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V.が作成した英文資料、もしくはその英文資料をロベコ・ジャパン株式会社が翻訳したものです。資料中の個別の金融商品の売買の勧誘や推奨等を目的とするものではありません。記載された情報は十分信頼できるものであると考えておりますが、その正確性、完全性を保証するものではありません。意見や見通しはあくまで作成日における弊社の判断に基づくものであり、今後予告なしに変更されることがあります。運用状況、市場動向、意見等は、過去の一時点あるいは過去の一定期間についてのものであり、過去の実績は将来の運用成果を保証または示唆するものではありません。また、記載された投資方針・戦略等は全ての投資家の皆様に適合するとは限りません。当資料は法律、税務、会計面での助言の提供を意図するものではありません。

ご契約に際しては、必要に応じ専門家にご相談の上、最終的なご判断はお客様ご自身でなさるようお願い致します。

運用を行う資産の評価額は、組入有価証券等の価格、金融市場の相場や金利等の変動、及び組入有価証券の発行体の財務状況による信用力等の影響を受けて変動します。また、外貨建資産に投資する場合は為替変動の影響も受けます。運用によって生じた損益は、全て投資家の皆様に帰属します。したがって投資元本や一定の運用成果が保証されているものではなく、投資元本を上回る損失を被ることがあります。弊社が行う金融商品取引業に係る手数料または報酬は、締結される契約の種類や契約資産額により異なるため、当資料において記載せず別途ご提示させて頂く場合があります。具体的な手数料または報酬の金額・計算方法につきましては弊社担当者へお問合せください。

当資料及び記載されている情報、商品に関する権利は弊社に帰属します。したがって、弊社の書面による同意なくしてその全部もしくは一部を複製またはその他の方法で配布することはご遠慮ください。

商号等: ロベコ・ジャパン株式会社  金融商品取引業者 関東財務局長(金商)第2780号

加入協会: 一般社団法人 日本投資顧問業協会

本記事に関連するテーマ: