Commitments by Joe Biden and Xi Jinping to investing in green infrastructure have driven clean energy shares higher © FT montage; Getty Images; Reuters
Line chart of Share prices and index, in $ terms (rebased) showing Xi move and likelihood of Biden win boost clean energy stocks

President Xi Jinping’s vow last month that China will be carbon neutral by 2060 and expectations that the US election could reshape America’s energy sector have fuelled a rally in global solar and wind producers.

Shares in the S&P Global Clean Energy index are up 71 per cent since the start of the year and by 22 per cent since Mr Xi’s speech on September 22, while Hong Kong shares of Chinese wind turbine maker Xinjiang Goldwind — the world’s third-largest such group — have surged 46 per cent since the speech.

In July, US presidential hopeful Joe Biden put clean energy at the centre of a $2tn plan to revive the US economy. The candidate, who leads incumbent Donald Trump in national polls, is pledging to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050.

Mr Xi’s address to the UN two months later gave green energy stocks a further boost. “We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060,” he told the General Assembly. 

In early October, the world’s largest solar and wind power generator surpassed oil and gas giant ExxonMobil in stock market value. NextEra Energy, a Florida-based utility and power producer, rose to a market capitalisation of $138.6bn, exceeding Exxon’s by $700m. This year NextEra’s shares are up 25 per cent, while Exxon’s have lost 50 per cent.

In China, meanwhile, shares in solar company Longi Green Energy Technology have more than tripled in value this year, valuing the company at more than $38bn.

Solar and wind companies will be the “biggest and most obvious beneficiaries” from the shift to cleaner forms of energy in China, according to analysts at Citi. 

Chinese solar stocks would benefit the most in the next 12-18 months as development of solar projects accelerated, analysts at JPMorgan said. Wind power, however, could see a downturn next year before recovering towards the end of China’s 14th five-year economic plan, which runs from 2021 to 2025, they added.

Twice weekly newsletter

Energy is the world’s indispensable business and Energy Source is its newsletter. Every Tuesday and Thursday, direct to your inbox, Energy Source brings you essential news, forward-thinking analysis and insider intelligence. Sign up here.

Get alerts on ESG investing when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Follow the topics in this article