In the green: the 5 best ASX renewable shares of 2021

These renewable energy shares electrified investor portfolios last year…

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A more environmentally conscious society has offered ASX renewable shares a prevalent tailwind in recent years. While some companies received a boost in 2021, the year was dominated by deals.

In other words, investors were competing with private equity when it came to renewable energy shares last year. Many of the companies that delivered shareholders with positive returns ended up being acquired in 2021. To provide a clear picture of the sector we’ve included acquired companies in this list.

Here are the ASX renewable shares that powered investor portfolios throughout 2021.

Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG)

Although it’s hard to argue Origin Energy is a renewable energy company, it does hold a significant renewable footprint.

During FY21, Origin installed 74 megawatts of solar on Australian homes and businesses. Additionally, the energy company progressed its assessment of renewable hydrogen and renewable ammonia opportunities in Bell Bay, Tasmania.

Alongside this, Origin holds a 20% equity interest in UK-based renewable energy provider Octopus Energy.

Shares in Origin climbed 10% higher by the end of 2021. Accompanying this gain was a respectable 20 cents per share in dividends for shareholders.

Infratil Ltd (ASX: IFT)

The next company making the top 5 best performing ASX renewables shares is Infratil. This infrastructure company used to own a substantial chunk of Tilt Renewables before it was acquired during the year. However, Infratil’s portfolio of investments still maintains a 21% allocation across renewables.

At the end of September 2021, renewable investments in the Infratil portfolio included Trust Power, Longroad Energy, Gurin Energy, and Galileo Green Energy.

The Infratil share price was pushed higher, boosted by achieving a record net surplus for its shareholders in 2021. Investors who stuck with this ASX renewable share enjoyed a 12.2% gain by the end of the year.

Tilt Renewables Ltd (ASX: TLT)

As I alluded to earlier, Tilt Renewables was one ASX renewables share that was gobbled up before the year was over.

The New Zealand-based electricity producer was essentially as much of a pure-play renewables company as one could get — with a number of wind and solar assets across Australia. This attracted interest from Mercury NZ Ltd (ASX: MCY) and Powering Australian Renewables (PowAR), which ended up acquirer the company’s assets.

When the final deal was done, Tilt shareholders walked away with NZ$8.10 per share, reflecting a gain of ~27% in 2021.

Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX: SKI)

Spark Infrastructure is another ASX renewable share that wasn’t able to see in 2022 as a public company. Unlike some of the other companies, Spark operates in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity — operating throughout New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.

Unfortunately for would-be renewable investors, Spark is now off the table after being acquired by a consortium of investors late last year. For a total consideration of $2.95 per security, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and Public Sector Pension Investors acquired the previously listed energy company.

In turn, shareholders bagged an astounding return of 39.8% during the year. That reflects a ~27% outperformance of the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO).

Redflow Ltd (ASX:RFX)

Finally, the last ASX renewable share on the list is more on the speculative end of the scale. Redflow is a small-cap battery storage company.

As renewable energy sources rise to prominence methods for adding security and storing the energy produced are becoming more important. While some renewable methods, such as hydropower, naturally incorporate energy storage, other options, such as wind and solar, require another way of managing the supply and demand of the network. As such, grid-tier batteries provide a way for renewable electricity generation to be managed.

The Redflow share price travelled from 2 cents per share to 5 cents per share by the end of the year — representing an increase of 150%.

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Motley Fool contributor Mitchell Lawler has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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