One of the big ticket spending items in Treasurer Jim Chalmers budget was $20 billion on the “Rewiring the Nation” plan.
The plan upgrades the power grid so that renewable energy from wind and solar farms can be efficiently connected and distributed, including to your home.
All of this is part of the Government’s Net Zero commitments and regardless of what you think of the climate change debate it should be seen as an investment opportunity as well.
A number like $20 billion goes a long way, and that is likely to be matched by the private investors who will also pour capital into the sector in coming years.
The Government commitment gives certainty, but also a nice financial leg up to the sector so it doesn’t have to go it alone.
It is actually quite easy to get access to this sector directly through companies listed on the ASX or through managed funds which invest in the climate transition.
The ASX website will tell you about companies such as New Energy Solar or Meridian, or some of the infrastructure providers who will be needed to develop the poles and wires under the plan.
In terms of managed funds, companies such as Palisade and Macquarie have dedicated funds, or if you’d like to get active with your super some funds do have options with significant renewable energy investments.
There are also Exchange Traded Funds – or ETFs – which are listed on the ASX and which track the performance of a basket of renewable energy stocks, not just in Australia but also overseas. Invesco, iShares and BetShares offer these products, as do many others.
Alongside the big commitment to the power grid, the Government is also helping the push towards electric vehicles and the hydrogen economy.
It might seem strange, but one of the best ways to get exposure to hydrogen could be to invest in Twiggy Forrest’s Fortesue Metals Group.
Yes, Fortescue is an old school miner – in fact one of our biggest producers of iron ore – but at the same time Forrest has set up a company called Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) which sits inside the ASX metals group.
So if you invest in Fortescue, you are also investing in (FFI) which has major ambitions to be a big player not only in the hydrogen market but in the renewable economy.
The fact that Guy Debelle, who was Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank and widely expected to be the next Governor, jumped ship to work at FFI should tell you something on how serious the company is.
Beyond these suggestions, there are a whole range of companies mining and processing rare metals such as lithium, cobalt and graphite which will be in great demand as some of these new technologies gain momentum.
Australia may have been a late starter in really giving this sector a push, but the recent power issues show how urgent it is for us to invest in the network and connect up renewable energy.
So, while you might be paying more for your energy in the short to medium term, you might just be increasing your long term wealth if you make an early investment in the new economy.