Wall Street Remains Hesitant on Renewable Energy

It’s a familiar refrain: Wall Street investors, we are told, are not yet sold on renewable energy. They worry that the technologies are not mature, that massive upfront infrastructure costs are too high a barrier, that despite rosy predictions from socially responsible investors, the price gap between oil and gas stocks and renewable energy stocks is not narrowing. They’re not convinced that the large companies investing in wind and solar power — among them GE, Royal Dutch/Shell, and BP — are making smart moves. But what goes unmentioned by Wall Street analysts in business-section stories is that the reason oil and gas remain attractive investments is that they are heavily subsidized by governments, with many of their costs externalized, and on a truly level playing field, renewables would look much more attractive — in short, that the primary impediments to renewable energy are not financial, but political.