with New Sustainable-Minded Investment Offering, also on Track to Bring Solar Farm to New Hampshire Campus
By Chris Gillespie
Fidelity Investments is investing in renewable energy in the Granite State and beyond.
The planning board of the town of Merrimack, New Hampshire voted on June 19, 2018 to grant conditional final approval to Fidelity Investments, one of the largest employers in the state, to build a 12-acre solar field at their 554-acre Merrimack campus.
According to plans on file at Merrimack Town Hall, Devonshire Energy LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fidelity, initially proposed the construction of the solar array field. In the application, Devonshire Energy suggested building the solar farm using roughly 346 ground-mounted solar array racks containing 8,640 360-watt modules. Similarly, Devonshire also suggested building an overhead 34.5kV line with utility poles to connect the solar-generated electricity with the existing electrical grid.
If the solar farm is completed to match this scope, it will provide 12% of the power supply at Fidelity’s facility at 2 Contra Way.
Having been approved by the planning board, Devonshire’s proposition now requires an alteration of terrain permit from the state Department of Environmental Services. Since there is an existing wetland and vernal pool in the middle of the proposed construction site, Devonshire must propose, and receive approval for, a storm water management plan.
Although a 12-acre solar farm is a big deal, it is only a small component of the sustainability-related news coming from Fidelity in recent weeks.
In a press release from June 26, 2018, Fidelity announced that it expanded its suite of sustainability-focused index funds with a new fixed income offering: the Fidelity Sustainability Bond Index Fund. The Fidelity Sustainability Bond Index Fund, in conjunction with the Fidelity U.S. Sustainability Index Fund (FENSX) and Fidelity International Sustainability Index Fund (FNIYX), makes Fidelity the first and only investment firm to offer environmental, social and governance (ESG) index mutual funds in every major asset class.
The new sustainability bond index fund is available directly to individual investors, as well as through third-party financial advisors and workplace retirement plans.
“We know from speaking with clients, advisors and employers that interest in ESG investing continues to grow,” said Colby Penzone, senior vice president for Fidelity’s Investment Product Group. “With our latest ESG index fund offerings, which now span the major asset classes, we’re providing more opportunities for investors to advance specific causes and align their personal principles with their investment objectives.”
The market for ESG investment opportunities, such as the Fidelity Sustainability Bond Index Fund, is expected to continue to grow in the near future, as 86% of millennials are interested in sustainable investing, and 90% are interested in pursuing sustainable investments as an option in their 401k plans, according to an August 2017 report from Morgan Stanley.
In the same year that Fidelity launched FENSX and FNIYX, Fidelity also became a signatory of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, which is a voluntary set of rules that encourages investors to use responsible investment practices to enhance returns and better manage risks all while working towards the long-term betterment of the environment and society.
By taking small and large-scale steps, Fidelity Investments reinforces and exemplifies the fact that, in order for societal progress to be made in moving away from fossil fuels, we must take action on the big, international level, as well as in our own backyards.
Chris Gillespie is a contributing writer for Green Energy Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.