Will the red flags that are waving across Washington as it gears up for an effort to remake America’s energy policy delay or accelerate the move to cleaner energy and benefit or hinder alternative and clean energy exchange traded funds (ETFs)?
To start off the rally, President-elect Barack Obama has preached that he will not raise gas taxes and doesn’t plan to slash the use of coal in power generation, a different opinion than his expected choice to oversee national energy policy, Carol Browner. Browner believes in utilizing the Clean Air Act by putting limits on carbon dioxide emissions and creating caps on carbon that would put a price on burning coal or consuming gasoline, states Joseph White of the Wall Street Journal.
To add fuel to the fire, Obama’s newly appointed energy secretary, Dr. Steven Chu, has openly admitted that he advocated raising U.S. gas taxes to European levels, refers to coal as a “nightmare,” and says that a combination of regulation and higher prices are necessary to curb energy consumption. The last nail in the coffin is history and the overall track record of past administrations, who have worked toward the common goal of keeping U.S. energy prices low, despite what they have preached.
Unfortunately, history indicates that roadblocks like the aforementioned often make it more difficult to “get things done”; however, history has already been broken and made with the election of Obama and perhaps this was just the beginning of a much-needed streak.
Some ETFs that may be influenced by the administration are:
- PowerShares WinderHill Clean Energy Fund (PBW): down 68.2% for the year
- PowerShares Cleantech Portfolio (PZD): down 49.6% for the year
- Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy (GEX): down 62.5% for the year
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.