The Paris climate negotiations can set the stage for a global shift on climate change – when our world’s emissions finally stop rising, level off, and begin to fall.
There is reason to be optimistic: from China to the United States, from Europe to South Asia, countries are coming together with commitments to cut climate pollution. And so are cities, companies, investors, entrepreneurs – and even moms. That’s real momentum that could open a new era for how we make and use energy.
The real action starts after we all go home from Paris with the biggest question coming out of COP-21: Now what? I want to share three specific ideas for the future – ideas that could accelerate access to clean energy.
First, the biggest barriers today lie in how to deploy the technology we have or will soon have. Solar panels, “smart” buildings, electric cars – the cost of these technologies is on its way down. Yet we still face problems of scale, because barriers in policy and finance limit the ability of clean technologies to deploy in ways accessible to everyone. Read More
By: Jeff Milum, Director of Market Development, Investor Confidence Project
40 percent of all energy in the U.S. is used by buildings, which also accounts for one-third of our country’s greenhouse gases emissions. This represents a huge opportunity, both for climate action and financial gain.
There’s just one problem: Project developers often have trouble finding financing for projects, even though investors who are looking to finance building efficiency upgrades are in need of more quality projects. This conundrum is increasingly apparent as more mainstream investors are entering the energy efficiency sector searching for investments with consistent, long-term yields, as well as “green” attributes.
That’s why Environmental Defense Fund’s Investor Confidence Project (ICP) is proud to announce the launch of the ICP Investor Network. By connecting investors who are seeking quality projects with trained and vetted project developers who are originating certified ICP-certified energy efficiency projects, ICP is working to help close this gap. Read More
What a difference a year can make. Even before the last weeks tick away, 2015 stands out as a remarkable and dynamic year for climate and energy in the United States.
Read on for five bold trends that are beginning to reshape our economy – and our national discourse on climate change.
1. Investments in renewables soar
I admit it: For years, I thought renewable energy was more hype than reality. I’m happy to report that recent data proves me wrong.
In just five years, solar panel prices have fallen 80 percent, and solar capacity installed worldwide grew more than six-fold. The overall cost of solar per kilowatt-hour, meanwhile, plummeted 50 percent.
For the first time in history, energy from the sun is as cheap as traditional energy in states such as Arizona, California and Texas.
The proof is in the pudding. Apple, for example, recently signed an $848-million power agreement with a solar provider – bypassing the electric grid. A deal of this magnitude shows where solar is today, and where it is headed. Read More
Building on the momentum of Climate Week NYC and the Pope’s visit to New York last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today the launch of an ambitious new program called the NYC Retrofit Accelerator.
Tasked with upgrading 20,000 (or 15 percent) of New York City’s private buildings – 40 percent of which will be low-income housing – the Retrofit Accelerator will provide resources for buildings owners and managers to improve their energy and water efficiency. Addressing energy use in buildings is key to meeting the city’s ambitious carbon reduction goals, as buildings account for roughly 75 percent of the city’s carbon emissions. It is estimated that the Retrofit Accelerator will result in cutting approximately 940,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually by 2025. The city has said this is the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road.
If this program sounds familiar, that’s because de Blasio revealed Retrofit Accelerator at Climate Week NYC last year as part of the broader One City Built to Last plan. Today’s announcement marks the formal launch of this program, an exciting expansion of the successful NYC Clean Heat model, which resulted in New York’s cleanest air since the early 1960s. Read More
By: Karen Penafiel, Vice President, Advocacy, BOMA International
At its Every Building Conference this summer, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International announced the relaunch of its BOMA Energy Performance (BEPC) toolkit. BEPC is an industry-vetted, proven process to plan, procure, and implement performance-driven building retrofits that has been used in successful projects around the world. For this reason, BEPC and the Investor Confidence Project (ICP) are a “natural fit.”
ICP, an Environmental Defense Fund initiative designed to unlock investment in energy efficiency, is accelerating the development of a global energy efficiency market by standardizing how projects are developed and energy savings are calculated. Together, BEPC and ICP can be used to execute successful, reliable, investment-grade energy retrofit projects from concept through measurement and verification.
ICP’s Roadmap to Investor Confidence lays out six major steps in the project development cycle: origination, project development, quality assurance, certification, underwriting, contracting, and performance. BEPC includes a flexible framework and supporting toolkit of template documents that can assist building owners, operators, and program managers at each stage of this process. Two key areas where the BEPC toolkit is particularly useful in the ICP project development cycle are: Read More