Here's why ASX renewable shares slipped in June

Rising electricity prices are a real problem in the Australian economy. So why did ASX renewable energy shares drop in value in June?

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Key points

  • Several ASX renewable energy shares lost value in June 
  • These include some of the biggest players in the sector  Meridian Energy and Mercury 
  • There are ongoing challenges for ASX renewable energy shares

ASX renewable energy shares incorporate a range of companies involved in producing clean energy sources.

They span several sectors including resources, materials, and energy. Think lithium explorers, battery producers, electric vehicle manufacturers, clean energy providers… arguably, they're all in the renewables space. But for now, let's just focus on clean power producers.

Power has been a hot topic in the Australian economy of late. Electricity prices have skyrocketed and are contributing significantly to rising inflation, which is currently running at 5.1% per annum.

This problem highlights the urgent need for more renewable energy sources. Not only to lower power costs for consumers but also to support a lurching grid at risk of more frequent blackouts and outages.

So, why did several ASX renewable energy shares fall in June?

ASX renewable energy shares dip in June

Well, let's remember that ASX renewable shares are a relatively young and growing part of the market. And like any growth sector, it will have its ups and downs — and that's what we saw in June.

Mind you, June was a volatile month for ASX shares in general. The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) lost 8.9% and the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) lost 9.5% over the month.

First up, let's look at the broad picture.

Clean energy shares generally form part of the utilities segment of the ASX energy sector. The S&P/ASX 200 Energy Index (ASX: XEJ) fell 0.3% in June and is up 16.9% over the year to date.

There's no index for ASX renewable shares, however, we can look to the VanEck Global Clean Energy ETF (ASX: CLNE) for guidance. It's an exchange-traded fund trading on the ASX and it's chock-a-block full of global renewable energy companies. So it serves as a good proxy for ASX renewable energy shares.

The VanEck Global Clean Energy ETF share price dipped 2.5% in June. Year to date, it's down 9.6%.

Here's how some of the big players performed

Let's look at the performance of the bigger players among ASX renewable energy shares in June.

The Meridian Energy Ltd (ASX: MEZ) share price dropped 3% in June. Year to date, Meridian shares are down 6.5%.

Meridian is New Zealand's largest energy producer and uses 100% renewables. It owns five wind farms, scores of commercial solar arrays, and seven hydropower stations, including the country's largest.

The Mercury General Corporation (ASX: MCY) share price dropped 9.5% in June. Year to date, Mercury shares are down 16.5%.

Mercury is another New Zealand-based green energy provider that uses 100% renewables. The company owns nine hydro stations that supply 10% of the country's electricity annually. It owns five geothermal plants and four wind farms. It's currently building what will be New Zealand's largest wind farm.

The Infratil Ltd (ASX: IFT) share price rose by 0.6% in June. Year to date, Infratil shares are down 7.7%.

Infratil is a different kind of ASX renewable energy share. It's an infrastructure investment company that owns several green energy assets in New Zealand.

Genesis Energy Ltd (ASX: GNE) shares lost 0.15% in value in June. Year to date, Genesis shares are down 6.9%.

Genesis is a leading New Zealand electricity and gas retailer that owns a bunch of thermal and renewable generation assets.

Some ASX renewable shares had a shocker

The Genex Power Ltd (ASX: GNX) share price dropped 14% in June. Year to date, Genex shares are down 32.5%.

Genex is an Australian power generation company specialising in the generation and storage of renewable energy.

Ongoing challenges for ASX renewable energy shares

As my Fool colleague Bernd Struben reported in March, the renewables sector has experienced years of underinvestment, so it's difficult to ramp up production rapidly to meet today's soaring demand.

Plus, many clean energy companies are spending a lot — as you do when you're in growth mode — which is narrowing profit margins.

And it appears ASX investors don't like that, especially when a booming commodities cycle is delivering massive profits to the big resources companies digging fossil fuels out of the ground.

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen 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 Scott Phillips.

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