• 2023: an “annus horribilus” for green energy
  • New energy trends are taking hold everywhere
  • The energy sector remains an absolute “must invest”

Notwithstanding extensive, taxpayer-funded back-patting at the COP28 global climate summit in Dubai last month, 2023 should be seen, in retrospect, as the year in which the delusional dreams of green grandeur died.

While participants claimed a great breakthrough in agreeing to a formal, gradual phasing out of fossil fuel use, they acknowledged that their prior targets and goals were not being achieved at anywhere near the rate at which they had previously hoped.

I’m not alone in having pointed out in recent years that the green energy industry was chronically overpromising and underdelivering, and that at some point the mainstream investment community was going to figure this out. Last year was that year.

While politicking, in general, involves being two-faced to some degree, when it comes to climate politics, it requires almost Janussian skill: Imagine flying a large, private jet halfway around the world to a rich, fossil-fuel-producing country to attend a banquet and discuss how best to impose energy (and meat) consumption restrictions on your citizens. (Janus is the Roman God who famously has two faces looking in opposite directions.)

Of course, as with climate policies generally, our so-called representatives will claim that whatever it is they are doing is somehow in the public interest. While that might require the rhetorical skill of a serial murderer’s defence counsel, they’ll still be able to sleep at night in a warm house heated by some form of green or renewable energy subsidised by the generosity of taxpayers.

Said politicians might even dream while asleep, but the delusional dreams of green grandeur have faded to black. Over the course of 2023, we learned the following:

  • Higher interest rates across the board exposed a large range of still-unprofitable projects to refinancing risks, threatening bankruptcy.
  • HSBC’s head of ESG investing complained publicly about how extensive greenwashing had made the entire sector largely uninvestible. (He was subsequently fired for speaking his mind on the matter.)
  • Orsted, Europe’s largest wind farm developer, axed two projects and took a $4bn write-down on assets.
  • A UK government wind farm permit auction failed as there were no bidders.
  • Europe’s solar manufacturers complained of being pushed into bankruptcy by cheaper Chinese producers.
  • Germany’s legal-fiscal crisis threatened future government subsidies for a range of green projects.

The list above could be much longer. But there is one proven energy technology that not only escaped the great green setback last year but instead underwent a very public renaissance: nuclear.

During the course of 2023, one country after another announced that they were either planning the construction of new nuclear plants, extending the life of existing plants, or some combination of both. President Macron of France, a leading country in nuclear generation technology, claimed credit for helping to reverse what he claimed was a misguided course to reduce nuclear’s role alongside that of fossil fuels.

Uranium stocks were on a tear last year, as was the yellowcake itself, now investible directly through exchange-traded funds. Our very own James Allen was among those who foresaw this development. His newest service, Strategic Energy Alert, launched with a specific recommendation in the uranium sector which produced high returns.

James wrote recently about the key takeaways of the COP28 summit, warts and all, and the potential investment implications. As with nuclear, Strategic Energy Alert turned in a fabulous performance in 2023, with six of nine recommendations turning a profit.

And if you’d like to join James in 2024, then there’s no better time. He believes we’ve reached a critical turning point in the energy markets – and he’s ready to reveal what his research and contacts are saying: that a tiny sector of the energy markets could deliver explosive profits in the months ahead. To learn more and how you could join him at Strategic Energy Alert, just click here.

John Butler
Investment Director, Fortune & Freedom