First Person: I Won’t Invest in Green Energy Companies

April 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

It is tough to pick investments, particularly if you get into selecting individual stocks. When you pick stocks, you are essentially trying to forecast the future and figure out what will unfold in society. Good luck with that. I do “dabble” a bit with individual stocks, but the bulk of my investing is done through boring but safer mutual funds. When I read news about “green” companies that are struggling, it reinforces to me why I am hesitant about investing in green energy companies. I would certainly like to, but there are reasons that I avoid these organizations.

A long-term ROI

In general, I am a patient investor. This essentially means that I am willing to wait years for a company to grow and give me a solid return on my investment. Unfortunately, I do not necessarily have decades to get a return that will be uncertain all along the way. As much as people want alternatives to some of our current systems, I wonder if certain innovations are actually very far away. This includes alternative energy, new modes of transportation, medical technology and consumer products.

Society is not ready

Is society ready to make a full-scale conversion with certain types of technology and products? I don’t think so. Truthfully, I probably have to include myself in that category. Like many consumers, I want products that are inexpensive. Period. The green movement is generally focused on better sustainability, but the reality is that many people give it lip-service more than they give it financial support. I am willing to buy an alternative-fuel car, but I can’t say I am willing to pay a premium for it right now. If I could put solar panels on my roof, I would, but I don’t want to take out a long-term loan in order to pay for it.

Investing can’t all be altruistic

As mentioned, I would like to invest in more startups such as green energy. Sometimes I wonder if this generation will have to pour money into new technology that we will never actually be able to enjoy. Should some of my personal investing be more altruistic in nature, or can I always worry about my short-term financial needs? Are there situations where investing should essentially be a case of giving to the next generation without a hope for a short-term windfall? It is tough dilemma. I have invested sparingly in green companies in the past, but I always see it as a fairly significant risk.

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