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With 24 percent of its energy coming from renewable sources, Australia is a country to watch when it comes to renewable energy. Here's how investors can get involved.

As cultures, political movements and scientific advancements shift, the world is becoming increasingly interested in the rapidly growing renewable energy sector.

In Australia, the generation of renewable energy has risen sharply, increasing from less than 20,000 gigawatt hours in 1999 to 2020's more than 60,000 gigawatt hours.

Clearly the Australian renewable energy sector is on the rise. So how should a prudent investor navigate the industry's different opportunities? And what are the ways to approach such investment opportunities?


Renewable energy in Australia: What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy comes from natural processes, such as wind currents or moving water. It replenishes at a rate equal to or greater than its consumption, and is not used up in the same way that fossil fuels are depleted. For example, a wind turbine turns with the wind, and does not burn up the wind used to generate power.

There are many types of renewable energy. The most widely used source of renewable energy worldwide is hydro power —16.8 percent of the world's power is hydro. Wind and solar power are also very popular. There are many other sources as well, including geothermal, biomass, biogas and liquid biofuels. Solar panels absorb heat from the sun and convert it to power, while water wheels and wind turbines turn kinetic energy into electricity; for its part, geothermal power uses natural hot water sources to employ the Earth itself as a steam engine.

All in all, renewable energy is a relatively new concern. Initially efforts to capitalize on such sources were a struggle — early solar panels lacked efficiency, for instance, although hydroelectric power is an exception and has long been used by governments to augment their citizens' energy needs.

The world is taking more and more notice of renewable energy. Deals made at the United Nations, such as the Paris Agreement, which was adopted in December 2015, have instituted legally binding target numbers for lowered emissions, and a big part of the execution of those goals will be renewable energy sources.

Consequently, it is only a matter of time before the renewable energy sector grows exponentially larger. The need and demand for clean energy is rising quickly. In fact, it is hard to conceive of a world where clean energy from renewable sources is not emphasized more and more every year.

Renewable energy in Australia: How to invest

As of 2020, 24 percent of Australia's energy generation came from renewable sources. The largest sources of renewable energy in Australia are solar and wind, each accounting for approximately 9 percent of the country's energy sources (and 35 percent each of the renewable energy total). Hydro energy has remained mostly steady in terms of its overall percentage of energy generated, whereas solar and wind have been on the climb. Biomass and geothermal sources are still comparatively low in terms of percentage of generated power.

There are many utilities companies listed on the ASX that are investing in renewable energy sources. Here's a look at the five largest of them based on market capitalisation. Data was retrieved on March 31, 2022, using TradingView's stock screener, and companies are listed in descending order from largest to smallest.

1. Meridian Energy

Market cap: AU$11.83 billion; current share price: AU$4.81

Listed both in both New Zealand and Australia, Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) is New Zealand’s largest electricity generator through its five wind farms, seven hydro power stations and commercial solar arrays. All the electricity supplied to the company's customers comes from the electricity grid, which mixes electricity supplied from both renewable and non-renewable sources.

2. Origin Energy

Market cap: AU$11.11 billion; current share price: AU$6.23

Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) is an integrated energy company that has both renewable and non-renewable energy output. The company buys wind power from wind farms in Australia and is the nation's largest buyer of utility-scale solar. It also installs solar panels.

3. Mercury

Market cap: AU$7.55 billion; current share price: AU$5.21

Mercury (ASX:MCY) has wind farms, solar farms and combination wind-solar farms; it is also developing battery energy storage systems. Battery and power storage capabilities are essential elements for renewable energy.

4. Contact Energy

Market cap: AU$5.85 billion; current share price: AU$7.60

New Zealand-based Contact Energy (ASX:CEN) owns and operates 11 power stations and produces 80 to 85 percent of its electricity from its renewable hydro and geothermal stations.

5. Infrantil

Market cap: AU$5.57 billion; current share price: AU$7.49

Infrantil (ASX:IFT) is an infrastructure company that invests in energy, transport and social infrastructure, and has renewable investments in Trust Power, Longroad Energy, Gurin Energy and Galileo Green Energy.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ryan Sero, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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John Wilson of Ninepoint Partners breaks down the carbon credits market, from how it works to ways investors can get involved in this growing space.

John Wilson: Carbon Credits in Focus, How to Invest as Climate Concerns Rise youtu.be

Investor interest in carbon credits is growing — what should they know before jumping in?

Speaking to the Investing News Network, John Wilson, co-CEO, managing partner and senior portfolio manager at Ninepoint Partners, discussed the basics of this growing market and shared how newcomers can get involved.

As Wilson explained, there are two sides of the carbon credit market: involuntary and voluntary. The much larger involuntary market involves carbon credits that are issued by governments and trade on exchanges; in contrast, the voluntary market is subject to less oversight and is comprised of private transactions.

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WHAT'S IN STORE FOR TECH IN 2022?

The Investing News Network (INN) spoke with analysts, market watchers and insiders about which trends will impact this sector in the year ahead.

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Wondering about the future of hydrogen in Australia? Here's an overview of investing in hydrogen in the country.

Hydrogen has long been touted as the most important clean energy source of the future. However, 99 percent of hydrogen produced today is derived from power generated by coal or gas.

Thanks to technological advances and massive new investments made by the public and private sector, the industry is now making the critical transition towards clean "green" hydrogen — in other words, hydrogen that is produced via zero-carbon and low-carbon energy sources.

Australia, like most western nations, is determined to decarbonise its economy as part of the global transition toward renewables. Many industries now face strict targets for reducing emissions as part of the drive to lessen the carbon footprint left by Australia's steel and coal industries.


Although hydrogen is generally seen as a long-term investment play given the many years it takes to build new plants and add capacity in the market, last year saw investors rush to get in on the ground floor of the rapidly expanding Australian green energy market as smaller players began to make their mark.

In 2021, the ASX hydrogen sector saw some exponential gains in the share prices of several up-and-coming players, including Province Resources (ASX:PRL), Pure Hydrogen (ASX:PH2), Sparc Technologies (ASX:SPN), Environmental Clean Technologies (ASX:ECT) and QEM (ASX:QEM). These five companies led the way in driving interest in the kind of opportunity that the Australian hydrogen industry represents, both in the short and long term. Several key public/private partnerships also played a role in stimulating market interest.

Hydrogen investing in Australia: What is hydrogen and how is it used?

Hydrogen is the most abundant element on Earth. It is a colourless gas that can be burned to generate electricity, or alternatively can be combined with oxygen atoms in fuel cells. Hydrogen can be produced in gas or liquid form, and has the ability to replace fossil fuels in household heating, transportation and industrial manufacturing processes like steelmaking, which consumes massive amounts of power.

As a fuel, the great advantage of hydrogen is that it produces no carbon emissions, only water as a by-product. First discovered 250 years ago by English physicist Henry Cavendish, hydrogen was initially used in combination with oxygen to power internal combustion engines, hydrogen gas blowpipes and hydrogen gas lamps. It was later used in the construction of hydrogen-lifted airships and German Zeppelins until passenger service was abandoned after the tragic 1937 explosion of the Hindenburg Zeppelin in New Jersey, which killed 36 people.

Currently, the hydrogen market is valued at over US$100 billion, with the material being used widely as an industrial chemical, mainly by the petroleum industry for the production of ammonia, a principal ingredient in the manufacturing of nitrate fertiliser.

There is also growing demand for hydrogen by companies anxious to harness its properties as an effective means of storing power. But none of these applications for hydrogen compare to its extraordinary potential as a viable clean energy fuel for transportation ― particularly in trucks, airplanes and ships.

These essential means of transportation are difficult to decarbonise due to the weight of batteries and their inability to hold sufficient charge for long-haul trips. Hydrogen, however, offers a much lighter alternative as a clean-burning fuel that would go a long way to eliminating carbon emissions in the transport sector.

Hydrogen investing in Australia: Big players and government investment 

Aside from the smaller-cap companies mentioned above, several major Australian energy companies, including Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG,OTCQX:FSUMF), Origin Energy (ASX:ORG,OTC Pink:OGFGF) and Wesfarmers (ASX:WES,OTC Pink:WFAFF), are now rapidly expanding their investment in the hydrogen sector.

Clearly, if hydrogen is now in the process of realizing its potential as a replacement for oil- and coal-generated electricity, the leading steel, coal and gas producers may be well-positioned to bring about this shift in the energy mix. They possess the requisite financial might and technological/engineering expertise to become dominant players in the hydrogen sector as they assume their role in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Aiding this growth in Australia's hydrogen industry is government support. The EU, for example, paid nearly half of the US$23 million cost of Shell’s (LSE:SHEL,NYSE:SHEL) Rhineland project, while Queensland has partnered with Fortescue on a AU$1 billion hydrogen project in Gladstone.

Last year alone saw a doubling in the number of newly announced large-scale hydrogen projects to over 500, as per a Hydrogen Council report. Nearly 75 percent of these long-term plant, port and pipeline projects are expected to be completed by the end of the decade, with 40 percent already funded or under construction.

Meanwhile, the Australian government is in the process of investing AU$1.4 billion in its domestic hydrogen industry as part of a growing global drive towards net-zero emissions. Australia's National Hydrogen Strategy intends to grow this industry and position Australia as a major player by 2030.

Aside from that, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has set out an Australian technology roadmap that intends to pour a total of AU$20 billion into clean hydrogen, energy storage, low-emission steel and aluminium, carbon capture and storage and solar.

In June 2021, Morrison announced a joint hydrogen development program with Germany under which Australia will gain access to highly advanced German hydrogen technology, strengthening Australia's ambitions of becoming a leading hydrogen exporter. This will help Australia build up its capacity to export significant quantities of hydrogen to Germany as part of the European country's policy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Australia will also be partnering with Japan (to develop new hydrogen fuel cell technology and establish the world's first clean liquefied hydrogen export pilot project), Singapore (to accelerate low-emission technologies) and Korea (to collaborate on hydrogen supply chain research and low- and zero-emission technology).

Hydrogen investing in Australia: Long-term outlook

The promise of Australia's hydrogen market is strong — indeed, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency believes the space could be worth up to AU$10 billion annually by 2040, at which time the country would be putting out over 3 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen on a yearly basis.

But putting matters into perspective, proposed long-term investments in transitioning towards hydrogen are still dwarfed by Big Oil's average annual expenditure on developing new fields.

In today's early stages, investors looking to enter Australia's hydrogen space have plenty of choices, whether they want to start with the larger players or try their hand at determining which earlier-stage stocks will be successful.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Harold Von Kursk, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

The novel multi-media campaign, created in partnership with RGA, is built on the concept that consumers can Zip everything around them and pay in four installments Following its global rebrand this summer, digital payment pioneer Zip Co Limited today revealed a new multi-million dollar brand campaign – ‘Zip Now, Pay Later’ – across the U.S., to attract new customers to merchants ahead of the holiday shopping …

The novel multi-media campaign, created in partnership with R/GA, is built on the concept that consumers can Zip everything around them and pay in four installments

Following its global rebrand this summer, digital payment pioneer Zip Co Limited ( ASX: Z1P ) today revealed a new multi-million dollar brand campaign – ‘Zip Now, Pay Later’ – across the U.S., to attract new customers to merchants ahead of the holiday shopping season. From TikTok dance challenges to ‘earworms’ stuck in our heads and glam tips for Zoom calls, ‘Zip Now, Pay Later’ spotlights meme-worthy moments that have captivated millions, all demonstrating that Zip is not only part of the same cultural zeitgeist, but also the payment option of choice for modern consumers who are increasingly shunning credit cards for flexible, transparent digital payment options everywhere they shop.

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European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage

European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage said, “There's not one hydroxide plant in Europe, so we hope to be the first. Not only would we be able to source material from our own mine, but we may be able to source material in nearby areas.”

European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage: Developing the 1st Lithium Hydroxide Plant in Europe youtu.be


European Lithium (ASX:EUR,FWB:PF8) Executive Chairman Tony Sage discussed the company’s Wolfsburg project in Austria, a country with a rich mining history dating back to WWII that maintains its infrastructure.

Wolfsburg continues that tradition, positioned only 45 kilometres from the city that hosts the largest Samsung battery factory.

"It’s quite unique. In Europe, a lot of the lithium mines are at the exploration stage," Sage said. "This mine was built back in the '80s by the Austrian government. So all the work has been done. If we were going to do this project today, we would have to get environmental approval and spend about $100 million — but they did all the work and the licence is in perpetuity.


“We can now access that mine and start mining immediately. In fact, in 2017, we mined it and took out 1,500 tonnes, which is a massive advantage in the lithium industry because we were able to build a pilot plant and put 300 tonnes of the material through the pilot plant, which gave us the results that we were looking for in that it's high-grade product.”

Sage also discussed European Lithium’s goals with the project. “Our aim is to mine it. It's a very simple mining process. We're in the process now of trying to acquire land nearby so we can actually put a conversion plant and a hydroxide plant on it. There's not one hydroxide plant in Europe, so we hope to be the first. Not only would we be able to source material from our own mine, but we may be able to source material in nearby areas.”

Sage told the Investing News Network that the government is supportive of its endeavours. “The Austrian government is very keen for us to build hydroxide plants so they can actually entice vehicle companies to build a factory nearby the hydroxide plant. This way, we can have a mine right through to the battery solution for the Austrian government. In the end, all we can do is get the mines up and operating, build the hydroxide plant and see what happens.”

The mine itself is underground. “Underground mining techniques are used all around the world. When they built it, they actually overbuilt — so when we decided to mine back in 2017, it was quite easy for us to find the seam of the orebody and then take the ore out," Sage said.

“We completed a prefeasibility study in 2018. The cost structure then was about US$7,500 per tonne to produce the hydroxide. Right now, the hydroxide price is around US$69,000 a tonne — that’s a massive profit margin that we don’t see as sustainable long term. When we do our definitive feasibility study, we're probably going to use an average price over the life of mine of about US$25,000 — but that's still a huge profit margin. That feasibility study is coming within the next four months, when we’ll be in a good position to partner with someone.”

Watch the full interview of European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage above.

Disclaimer: This interview is sponsored by European Lithium (ASX:EUR,FWB:PF8). This interview provides information that was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by European Lithium in order to help investors learn more about the company. European Lithium is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with European Lithium and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

This interview may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, receipt of property titles, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. The issuer relies upon litigation protection for forward-looking statements. Investing in companies comes with uncertainties as market values can fluctuate.

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The gold price is trading lower than some market watchers would prefer, but the top-performing ASX gold stocks so far this year are making leaps.

Click here to read the previous best ASX gold stocks article.

While 2021 was a disappointing year for gold, analysts are optimistic about the outlook for 2022.

The yellow metal passed the US$2,000 per ounce mark as tensions between Russia and Ukraine heated up, but has since pulled back to trade closer to US$1,800. However, diverse factors could combine to push it higher.

Demand for gold jewellery, gold bars and coins, and the metal’s use in the technology sector are still going strong, and supply is also a growing concern due to decreased gold exploration efforts in recent years.


Against this backdrop, many Australian gold stocks are doing well. And with the precious metal generally considered a safe investment, it's worth being aware of the county's top-performing companies.

Here the Investing News Network looks at the best ASX gold stocks of the year so far by year-to-date gains. The list of stocks below was generated on April 29, 2022, using TradingView’s stock screener, and all companies included had market caps over AU$30 million at that time.

1. Xantippe Resources

Year-to-date gain: 180 percent; market cap: AU$107.3 million; current share price: AU$0.01

Xantippe Resources (ASX:XTC) is focused on Western Australia's Southern Cross region, which is widely known for its past gold production. The precious metals explorer's Southern Cross project is made up of 20 prospecting licences and six exploration licences, and holds a number of key priority targets.

In late April, Xantippe confirmed the acquisition of lithium tenements in Argentina with the hope of commencing exploration activities in the third quarter.

2. Minrex Resources

Year-to-date gain: 55.81 percent; market cap: AU$63.05 million; current share price: AU$0.07

Minrex Resources’ (ASX:MRR) assets include five gold and base metals projects in Western Australia, four of which are in the mineral-rich East Pilbara region.

The company started off the year with high-grade gold drill results from its work at the Queenslander gold prospect within its Sofala project. The prospect is centred around the past-producing Queenslander mine.

3. Aston Minerals

Year-to-date gain: 38.1 percent; market cap: AU$164.19 million; current share price: AU$0.15

Gold and nickel-cobalt explorer Aston Minerals (ASX:ASO) is moving forward at its Edleston gold project, located in the Cadillac-Larder Lake fault zone of Canada's Abitibi greenstone belt. Edleston is its flagship asset, and according to the company, it is the first in over a decade to drill in this area.

Aston continues to focus on gold at Edleston, but its Boomerang nickel-cobalt target has come to the forefront in recent months, with the company announcing the results of its maiden hole there in early December.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Marlee John, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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