What happened

There's been a flurry of activity this week surrounding businesses looking to develop hydrogen as a reliable -- and green -- fuel source. And investors have been bidding up shares of several companies with that news, and as energy crises loom in several locations amid rising oil and natural gas prices. With that backdrop, shares of alternative energy companies including Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG), Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE), and Enphase Energy (NASDAQ:ENPH) have been soaring this week. As of early Friday, the stocks of these companies have moved as follows this week, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence:

  • Plug Power was up 17%.
  • Bloom Energy was up 14%.
  • Enphase Energy was higher by 12.6%.

So what

As oil prices hover above $80 and natural gas remains near multi-year highs, investors are focusing more on alternative energy companies.

Dice with letters that spell out the word "energy." Two dice are being flipped from saying "fossil" to "green."

Image source: Getty Images.

Plug Power announced plans for several new partnerships this week and a new hydrogen-powered van from its joint venture in France. Plug also hosted a symposium on Thursday, where it highlighted its financial expectations and growth plans.

Fellow fuel cell company Bloom Energy and solar system technology company Enphase Energy have also been growing their offerings, and investors pulled them along for the ride this week. Some of that likely stems from investors anticipating additional investments in the alternative energy sector pending a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill currently in the House of Representatives.

Now what

Plug Power has been announcing expansion plans in the U.S. as it aims to build green hydrogen production facilities nationwide. Its latest announcement was for plans to build the largest green hydrogen production plant on the West Coast, which would join facilities in several states east of the Mississippi. This week, it additionally said it signed an agreement with Phillips 66 to develop low-carbon hydrogen business opportunities with plans to use Plug Power's technology within Phillips 66's operations. 

This week, Plug also announced the development of a hydrogen-powered commercial van from its French joint venture with automaker Renault. In a statement, Plug CEO Andy Marsh said of the vehicles, "Powered by our hydrogen fuel cell technology, these spacious commercial vehicles produce no emissions and boast a range well over 300 miles."

The company rounded out its busy week by raising financial guidance for 2022 from a previous estimate of $750 million in gross billing revenue to a new range of $825 million to $850 million. This implies year-over-year growth of 65% in that metric, which measures the value of its sales, but doesn't include incentives provided to customers. 

Like Plug Power, Enphase Energy has also been growing its business internationally. It recently announced expansions to both Italy and Brazil, for its residential and small commercial microinverter-based solar and battery storage systems. 

As these alternative energy companies grow, investors are bidding up shares. Of these three companies, only Enphase is currently profitable, however. But if the infrastructure bill passes and provides additional investment or incentives to grow the use of green energy, investors see a clearer path to profitability. Some believe it would be smart to have a position in these stocks ahead of that. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.