Duke Energy Corp. DUK recently unveiled its long-term investment plan along with increasing its current five-year capital target and clean energy projections at the company’s inaugural environmental, social and governance (ESG) day. This comes at a high time when a handful of Utilities across the board are steadily ramping up their carbon-dioxide (CO2) emission reduction goals.

The company now forecasts that its current five-year capital plan will increase by about $2 billion to approximately $58 billion.

Details of the Long-Term Plan

Duke Energy’s recently-announced plan includes acceleration of coal plant retirements in addition to the 50 coal units with capacity worth more than 6,500 megawatts (MW), which it already retired since 2010. The company aims to retire all coal-only units in the Carolinas and reduce methane emissions in its natural gas business to netzero by 2030.

In terms of promoting clean energy, the company now targets to bring its regulated renewable capacity total to 40 gigawatts (GW) by 2050.It also aims to add more than 11,000 MW of energy storage to its system by 2050.

For such clean energy expansion, Duke Energy aims to spend capital in the range of $65-$75 billion during the 2025-2029 period. Such clean energy transition will enable the company to increase its earnings at the upper end of its current long-term adjusted EPS growth rate of 4-6% through 2024.

Factors Driving Decarbonization

In the United States, most utilities significantly lowered their CO2 emissions since 2005. This was possible owing to sustained low natural gas prices and declining costs for renewable generation alongside technological innovations that promoted energy storage.

Also, improvements in power plant efficiency and shifts in investments towards clean energy within the power sector have been boosting decarbonization for a while now. Further, state energy policies like renewable standard portfolio as well as subsidies

Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope: Pandemic shows ‘trickle-down’ economic policies don’t work Pope declined to meet with Pompeo Pompeo calls on Vatican to denounce China for human rights abuses MORE met with around a dozen investigators from the Council of Europe’s agency involved with investigating financial crimes on Thursday and pledged that the Vatican would uphold “clean” finances.

The Associated Press reported that the Pope met with a team from Moneyval at the Vatican, where he praised their efforts aimed at “monitoring movements of money and of intervening in cases where irregular or even criminal activities are detected.”

“The measures that you are evaluating are meant to promote a ‘clean finance’, in which the merchants are prevented from speculating in that sacred temple which, in accordance with the Creator’s plan of love, is humanity,” said the Pope, according to the AP.

His meeting with the investigators comes as the Vatican has faced criticism over a decision by Francis’s former top deputy, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, to wire a sum of euros equaling just over $100,000 to a charity controlled by his brother. Becciu also reportedly urged a conference of Italian bishops make a $300,000 donation to the same charity.

Becciu has admitted the actions, but insisted that he did so solely out of support for the charity.

The visit from the Moneyval investigators was not reportedly linked to the scandal specifically; the Vatican, along with other European countries, submits itself to the agency for periodic review of its financial practices.

“Sometimes, in the effort to amass wealth, there is little concern for where it comes from, the more or less legitimate activities that may have produced it, and the mechanisms of exploitation that may be behind it,” the Pope reportedly told the investigators Thursday. “Thus, situations can occur where, in touching money,

For investors seeking momentum, ALPS Clean Energy ETF ACES is probably a suitable pick. The fund just hit a 52-week high and is up 158.9% from its 52-week low price of $23.15/share.

Let’s take a look at the fund and its near-term outlook to gain an insight into where it might be headed:

ACES in Focus

The fund seeks to track the performance of an index comprised of U.S. and Canadian based companies that primarily operate in the Clean Energy sector. Constituents are companies focused on renewables and other clean technologies which enable the evolution of a more sustainable energy sector. It has AUM of $391.3 million and charges an expense ratio of 65 basis points.

Why the Move?

The space has been hitting the headlines these days for several reasons. Increasingly, big corporations are making or promising investments in the pursuit of achieving the most-coveted carbon neutral status. Also, the green energy space has been a hot topic of discussion in the ongoing U.S. election campaign. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has been strongly campaigning for his clean energy and infrastructural plans. He aims to pump $2 trillion into green energy for over four years to build solar panels and charging stations among others. Notably, following the first of the three presidential debates, the wind seems to be flowing in favor of Biden. This is making funds like ACES an attractive investment option.

More Gains Ahead?

It seems like the fund will remain strong, with a positive weighted alpha of 113.91  which gives cues of further rally.

Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox?

Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week. Get it free>>

Click to get this free report

ALPS Clean Energy ETF (ACES):

By Stephanie Kelly

NEW YORK, Oct 8 (Reuters)Red River Biorefinery in Grand Forks, North Dakota, came online in April, arguably the worst time for an ethanol facility to begin operating as the coronavirus pandemic sank fuel demand.

Instead of shutting like many ethanol facilities, the company switched focus from producing fuel ethanol to making high-grade alcohol for hand sanitizer, where demand surged during the pandemic as Americans scrambled to protect themselves against the coronavirus.

Red River and several other companies now view the hand sanitizer market as more than a temporary salve for weak fuel demand, making permanent investments in production of high-grade alcohol that meets standards for producing sanitizer.

In recent months Pacific Ethanol PEIX.O, Green Plains GPRE.O and Highwater Ethanol HEOL.PK have said they will boost capacity for high-grade alcohol.

“Our intent when we first went live was to be purely in the fuel market,” said Red River President Keshav Rajpal. “There’s been a huge shift in supply and demand instantaneously. When that happens, in our case margins compared to fuel ethanol are much higher in this space.”

Globally the hand sanitizer market was valued at $2.7 billion in 2019, with North America accounting for a third of the market’s revenue share, according to Grand View Research, a consultancy.

The flurry of announcements indicate some producers see more profitability in hand hygiene because of the pandemic than in transportation fuels. Corn-based fuel ethanol demand tends to track closely to gasoline consumption, as U.S. law requires it to be blended into the fuel.

As of January, U.S. fuel ethanol production capacity totaled 17.4 billion gallons per year, EIA said, up from 2019’s 16.9 billion gallons per year.

Fuel ethanol production nationwide has rebounded from the spring, hitting 923,000 barrels per day from 537,000 bpd in

Dear Moneyist,

I have been married for 42 years. He is a nice man, with a good personality and great social skills.

I do housework and take care of other appointments as needed. I cook, do small home repairs and painting, etc., and take care of all our financial planning. I worked in a medical career. He was in IT at a prestigious university.

I am getting older. He has this idea that I have all of this money. I do not. I manage it. Everything is in both our names. I manage all our finances. His income is five times my income.

He has always been very passive-aggressive. If I ask him for help with tasks, he acts very put-upon and I end up angry. He forgets things that I ask him to do on purpose, and is always late delivering.

The Moneyist:‘I feel very bitter’: My late father gave my sister power of attorney. She kept $100K of his savings. Should I pursue legal action?

He does not do any important little things for me. For instance, he pretends to forget to pick up flowers. We have not been to a movie together for the longest time. He is not interested. He has said he will NOT go out to dinner with me or travel.

He paid for a trip to Paris in 2018, then he wanted the money back. He takes no responsibility for managing our finances or our lives, but he loves to go to the gym and hike by himself. He does not chase women, gamble or drink heavily.

For the past 20 years, I have gone on little jaunts on my own to see old friends and family. I went to Boston last January for a weekend for my birthday. It was fun.