3 Dividend Stocks Ramping Up Renewables

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Utilities have been busy this week, making moves to maximize profit potential. With wind, hydro, and solar switchups, here's what you need to know to stay on top of your dividend stocks' latest moves.

Solar soars
With solar prices increasingly competitive, utilities are teaming up to scale up. Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE  ) and Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED  ) announced this week that they've completed a 300 MW joint venture.

The two utilities will split two Nevada and Arizona facilities 50/50, allowing each company smoother balance sheets, better diversity, and renewable-energy credits to boot. As with most solar projects, the two utilities have already lined up a buyer: Pacific Gas & Electric will purchase all power from the two farms for the next 25 years.

Wind wins
Utilities are also taking bigger bets on wind. Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK  ) announced that it will build two Texas wind farms to push 400 MW of power into Austin Energy's grid for 25 years. Duke and Austin are already bosom buddies, with 202 MW of Duke's wind portfolio already whipping its way through Austin.

With this latest contract, Duke's total wind capacity will top 2,000 MW, a not-insignificant chunk of its 57,700 MW of its total generation.

Heading out of hydro
Not all renewables are rocking this week. PPL (NYSE: PPL  ) announced that its Montana subsidiary is selling all its hydro assets to Northwestern Energy for $900 million in cold, hard cash. PPL will bid farewell to 11 hydropower plants in total but will hang on to coal-fired Colstrip and J.E. Corette plants.

But PPL isn't alone in exiting hydro, and this latest move presents "an opportunity to secure attractive shareowner value," according to PPL Chairman, President, and CEO William Spence.

Go for the green
You don't have to be green to know green, and Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE  ) is taking a knowledge-based approach to confronting climate change. The utility was recognized this week as the only energy company to snag a spot on the Climate Disclosure Project's S&P 500 Climate Performance Leadership Index.

Rather than rate companies on their environmental standards, the Climate Disclosure Project, or CDP, congratulates corporations on their climate change awareness. Unlike other energy companies, Spectra has demonstrated its openness and understanding of climate change, as reflected in its submission to CDP's questionnaire.

The utility also earned a spot on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North American and the world for the sixth and fourth straight year, respectively.

Knowledge is power, and Spectra's awareness, while no win in and of itself, is a better start to strategic thinking on climate change than most other corporations can claim.

Stay current on electricity
Renewables are rocking the once-steady energy sector, and dividend stocks aren't the stable stalwarts they once were. Be sure to check back weekly for the latest on your portfolio's moves, and you'll be well on your way to electrifying earnings.

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