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Executive Summary

US Utilities Walk Both Sides of the Street

By Roger S. Conrad on Sep. 13, 2014

By the end of 2016, energy companies will lock in the lion’s share of an estimated $600 billion in contracts for new infrastructure to process and transport surging US oil and gas production to market.

This construction boom creates an unprecedented opportunity for well positioned energy companies such as Dominion Resources (NYSE: D), which recently proposed a 550-mile pipeline to carry cheap shale gas to energy-hungry North Carolina and Virginia. (See Five Big Deals to Build Wealth.)

The pipeline project has stoked the usual opposition from environmentalists and concerned citizens who, by reflect, don’t want any energy-related infrastructure in their backyards.

Ironically, utilities have answered environmentalists’ call for more renewable energy, increasing wind generation from 6 billion to 168 billion kilowatt-hours between 2000 and 2013 and solar-power capacity by 70 percent since 2013.

That’s a clear demonstration of how the best US utilities have walked both sides of the street in the debate over fossil fuels and renewable energy. As long as these companies earn a fair return on investment, they’ll continue to reward us with rising earnings and dividends.

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