Canada's stock exchanges have long had the lead as the place for energy infrastructure companies to list. This includes green energy, as well as the fossil fueled sort. Because Canada's reporting rules are somewhat less stringent, and its markets less liquid than those in the US, the large number of offerings trade at lower valuations and higher yields than do their (few) US-listed equivalents.
In fact, it was the promise of a higher valuation which led Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners (NYSE:BEP) to obtain its US listing on June 11th. Brookfield had planned a secondary stock offering, which it delayed on June 20th because of "current capital market conditions." Although the stock has risen as high as $31 in anticipation of the US listing, rising interest rates had lowered its stock price to the $26 range shortly after the stock began trading in New York.
Even with the decline, however, Brookfield still offers at a dividend yield lower than its Canadian-listed peers.
Despite the higher yields on offer in Canada, many U.S. investors prefer investing at home. Part of that is undoubtedly because they find recovering Canada's foreign tax withholding on dividends through the US Federal tax credit onerous (or impossible, if they are investing through a retirement account.) Note that BEP's distributions are still subject to this withholding, despite its US listing.
The reluctance to buy Canadian stocks also stems in part from concerns over the lighter disclosure rules on Canadian exchanges, the lack of liquidity, or simple unfamiliarity with trading foreign stocks. Whatever the reasons, three recent IPOs and Brookfield's listing have created a new, if short, list of US listed green income options. These are:
Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, L.P.
Exchange/Ticker: NYSE: BEP
Portfolio: 3705 MW Hydropower, 777 MW Wind, 45 MW Hydro under construction.
Recent Stock Price and Declared Quarterly Dividend (Yield): $26.76, $0.3625 (5.4%)
Expected 2014 Dividend (Yield): $1.45 (5.4%) or more
Comments: Dividends are subject to Canadian tax withholding.
Exchange/Ticker: NYSE: HASI
Portfolio: Bond-like investment mostly in Energy Efficient performance contracts, plus other sustainable infrastructure including solar and geothermal.
Recent Stock Price and Declared Quarterly Dividend (Yield): $12.34, $0.06 (1.9%)
Expected 2014 Dividend (Yield): $0.93 (7.5%) - My estimate based on statements from management.
Comments: HASI is a REIT, and so does not pay corporate tax. Distributions are taxed to investors as ordinary income.
Pattern Energy Group Inc.
Exchange/Ticker: NASD: PEGI
Portfolio: 1041 MW wind in the US, Canada, and Chile. 270 MW Wind under construction in Ontario, CA.
Recent Stock Price and Declared Quarterly Dividend (Yield): $22.71, $0.3125 (5.5%)
Expected 2014 Dividend (Yield): $1.25 (5.5%).
Comments: I recently looked at PEGI in depth here.
Exchange/Ticker: NASD: NYLD
Portfolio: 101 MW Wind, 253 MW solar (60 MW more under construction), 910 MW natural gas, 1098 MW (thermal) of heating or cooling projects supplying thermal energy (and a little electricity) directly to businesses.
Recent Stock Price and Declared Quarterly Dividend (Yield): $34.99, $0.23 (2.6%)
Expected Future Dividend (Yield): $1.44 (4.1%) - this is Goldman Sachs analysts' estimate, and I'm not certain of their expected time frame.
Comments: I recently looked at NYLD in depth here.
For a US investor looking for income in green energy, Hannon Armstrong seems a compelling addition to the portfolio. Brookfield and Pattern also seem worth including for added diversification and income. NRG Yield is not nearly as green as the others, despite its the recent headlines about its solar investments. Its expected dividends also seem low to justify its current price, at least compared to the other three options listed here.
Disclosure: Long BEP, HASI.
DISCLAIMER: Past performance is not a guarantee or a reliable indicator of future results. This article contains the current opinions of the author and such opinions are subject to change without notice. This article has been distributed for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed.