Solar energy is booming – and you needn’t look further for proof of its success than Brian H. Potts’ recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. When a utility lawyer like Potts is arguing for what type of solar energy our country should be investing in –utility-owned, large-scale solar versus customer-owned, rooftop – you know this renewable energy resource has gone mainstream. And that’s a good thing.
We should support a wide variety of clean energy resources precisely because these technologies eliminate the costs of pollution now being socialized by fossil fuel generators. And this is becoming all the more critical as the costs of a changing climate grow. Read More
By: Karin Rives, editor of EDF Voices
The solar industry is booming and the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program, chastised after several high-profile cleantech companies went belly up in 2011, has more than recovered.
In fact, leading venture capitalists, some of our largest banks and brands, and – lately – private investors are expected to continue to invest heavily in clean energy projects this year after the market rebounded with a vengeance in 2014.
Here are five reasons why. Read More
By Scott Henderson, Advisor to Metrus Energy
While many in the clean energy industry are familiar with the use of power purchase agreements (PPA) to finance solar energy systems at commercial and industrial facilities, many may be surprised to know that there is a similar contract for funding energy efficiency retrofit projects. Called an efficiency services agreement (ESA), this contract was designed to address the challenges, or “pain points,” that building owners commonly face when contemplating such projects.
Like a PPA, an efficiency services agreement enables third-party ownership of a project, in which a developer designs, finances, implements, and owns a package of energy and water efficiency measures at a customer facility. In return for implementing the project, the ESA provider charges the customer for any realized savings, at a rate that is less than their current cost of electricity, gas, or water. This continues until the end of the contract period, typically 10 years, upon which time the customer can renew the contract or purchase the equipment at fair market value. Read More
By: Tom Murray, Vice President, Corporate Partnerships Program
A company’s public statements matter – they can influence consumer choice, sway public policy decisions, and demonstrate leadership on important issues. But in terms of actual change, it’s where a company puts its money that really matters. This week, Bank of America (BoA) spoke with both its voice and wallet: At its shareholder meeting last week, the bank announced a new coal policy that continues the company's commitment to reducing its exposure to coal extraction companies and accelerating the transition from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy.
According to BoA, its portfolio has grown to favor renewable energy over coal by a ratio of more than three-to-one. That’s an important step forward toward a clean, low-carbon energy future. And, it’s one that builds on moves by other institutions, like the recent news from Goldman Sachs about how the company is looking to divest some of its mining interests and Citi’s recent 10-year, $100-billion commitment toward investments in areas like energy efficiency, renewable energy, green affordable housing, and climate change resiliency projects. Read More
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By: Jeremy Faust, Strategic Business Development Director, Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance
In a surprising show of bi-partisanship, lawmakers in one of the nation’s more conservative states came together last month to approve a major victory for clean energy.
Kentucky became the latest state in the country to approve PACE (Property-Assessed Clean Energy), an innovative financing tool that allows cities to use their property taxes as a way to finance clean energy upgrades to buildings.
PACE’s unique structure and benefits have helped spur the proliferation of PACE programs around the county. As a result, the market for PACE financing is estimated to rise above $1 billion this year.
Kentucky has authorized businesses and other commercial property owners in the state to apply for PACE financing, which can be used for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water efficiency improvements to their buildings. The victory comes after a two-year legislative effort led by the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and the Kentucky Energy Project Assessment Districts (EPAD) Council. Read More
Also posted in Clean Energy Tagged PACE
Citigroup Inc. recently pledged $100 billion for lending, investing, and facilitating deals related to sustainability, renewable energy, and climate change mitigation. This is yet another sign that global capital markets are enormously interested in delivering capital into clean, renewable sources of energy. But you don’t have to be Citigroup to invest in the clean energy future.
The industry’s rapid growth presents an interesting diversity of long-term opportunities for individuals like you and me who might be looking to make investments in a low carbon economy.
Fueled by an increased demand for solar and wind energy, clean energy investment last year beat expectations, rising 16 percent to $310 billion worldwide, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Fortunately, this robust growth is representative of a general upward trend in clean energy investment over the past decade.
Although the vast majority of this money is coming from governments, corporations, and private equity and venture capital firms, people of all income levels can consider whether it is right for them to add clean energy to their investment portfolios. And, you don’t need millions in the bank to make these types of investments – any investor can consider whether to put their money to use through the four financial instruments described below. Read More
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