Coal ETF Faces Clean Energy Challenges

Despite concerns that President Donald Trump would present hurdles to the alternative energy industry, related exchange traded funds are performing admirably this year. For example, the First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund (NasdaqGS: QCLN) is higher by 10% year-to-date.

Contributing to the rapid growth of renewables, the improvement in technologies has drastically cut costs for solar and onshore wind power. The average global generation costs for new onshore wind farms declined by an estimated 30% between 2010 and 2015 while big solar panel costs plunged by two thirds. The IEA projects costs will further drop over the next five years by 15% on average for wind and by 25% for solar power.

QCLN, which turned 10 years old earlier this year, follows the NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index. That benchmark “is a modified market capitalization weighted index designed to track the performance of clean energy companies that are publicly traded in the United States and includes companies engaged in manufacturing, development, distribution and installation of emerging clean-energy technologies including, but not limited to, solar photovoltaics, biofuels and advanced batteries,” according to First Trust.

“Wind and solar have taken off—so much so that grid operators in California are facing some of the same challenges of regulating the peaks and valleys of high-density renewables that have plagued Germany’s energy revolution. The U.S. boom, while not the first, has been remarkable,” according to Bloomberg.