Energy Exchange

The latest trends in renewable-energy tech, markets, and policy

By Energy Dialogues

Renewable energy, and its role in energy future, is an intense topic that spans across all corners of the energy spectrum. For example, our recent Mexican Energy Series featured a lively discussion of whether Mexico is on course for the 2024 target of 35% renewable energy, and what this pledge means for the country. Each year, as new corporations, municipalities, and countries make bold and vocal commitments to offsetting energy consumption, and to pursuing clean energy resources at a higher level, the conversation intensifies.

For an insider perspective about the current state of renewable energy, we called upon Lenae Shirley, Senior Director, Technology Innovation and Market Adoption for Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Lenae is working at the nexus of technology, markets and policy, leading efforts with EDF’s demonstration partners to prove the impact of clean technology innovations. As a result of these initiatives, Lenae identifies trends and market opportunities to accelerate the transformation of the electricity sector, with data-driven decisions that push forward market adoption for renewable methods. Here is our conversation. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Innovation, Renewable Energy / Comments are closed

A global game changer for energy efficiency investments

Three hospitals in England recently cut energy costs in half after spending the equivalent of $18 million in energy efficiency upgrades. The projects got a much-needed boost from a certification that gave investors confidence the retrofits would bring returns.

With millions of buildings in need of upgrades and the emergence of a $20-billion retrofit industry in the United States alone, there is neither a shortage of projects nor capital looking for environmental opportunities in which to invest. What has been lacking is a way to grow the market to scale.

Even with an energy efficiency market topping $1 trillion, investors have historically considered such retrofits risky. All this is changing quickly with a new and global underwriting standard mitigating the risk of such investments. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Investor Confidence Project / Comments are closed

New interactive map shows the economic impact that solar, wind, and energy efficiency have on U.S. communities

The benefits of clean energy reach far beyond protecting the environment. Investments in the U.S. clean energy sector are creating millions of jobs and supporting local communities across the country. A new online mapping tool will help illustrate this incredible progress.

Developed by San Francisco-based Kevala Analytics Inc., the U.S. Clean Energy Progress Map can display the number of solar, wind, and energy efficiency jobs by state, county, congressional district, and even census tract. The free, interactive map also shows wind and solar projects and investments. It’s exactly the kind of data that citizens need to show policymakers and local officials the economic benefits of clean energy in their state or district. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Solar Energy, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

New global underwriting standard for the buildings sector helps cities tackle pollution

Cities around the world are taking the lead on fighting climate change, making huge commitments to reduce pollution and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. And it’s a good thing they are.

According to C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from cities, and about half of this pollution comes from buildings alone. All in all, buildings account for about 40 percent of all energy use – and up to half of this energy is wasted. With 70 percent of the world’s estimated 9 billion people expected to live in urban areas by 2050, addressing energy use in buildings (and the carbon emission it creates) is essential to catalyzing cities’ efforts. Reducing “building emissions” will require a toolbox of policy, finance, and engagement with public and private sector building owners, managers, and investors.

This week, a tool Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) began designing about five years ago to help investors weigh and value energy efficiency projects is becoming a global underwriting standard for building upgrades. Following successful momentum in the United States, Europe, and Canada, the Investor Confidence Project (ICP) officially joined the portfolio of global certification programs delivered by Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI) including LEED (for green buildings), GRESB (for real estate portfolios), and WELL (for healthy buildings).  GBCI is now providing world-class training and support for ICP’s Investor-Ready Energy Efficiency ™ (IREE) certification. Read More »

Also posted in Climate, Energy Efficiency, Investor Confidence Project / Comments are closed

Trump kills solar jobs, taxes families and businesses, but he can’t kill solar competitiveness

With President Trump’s announcement this week to slap a 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and modules, the solar industry once again finds itself in the firing line, targeted by the political whims of elected officials.

This political posturing has created uncertainty in the marketplace. In the last decade, solar has suffered from seven changes to the investment tax credit. And in the last few months, the industry got a double whammy of the BEAT tax – which will negatively affect equity investments in solar development – and the threat from the Department of Energy’s plan to prop up dirty coal while undermining solar. The tariff decision this week – a protectionist attempt by Trump to appeal to his anti-free trade base – is the latest assault on clean energy and a tax on American families, businesses, and utilities who want to go solar. Republicans once considered such actions a “tax on consumers.”

Despite these attacks, solar is still booming. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports that in the last five years, the U.S. solar industry has attracted more than $100 billion in investment, realized year-over-year growth rates of 21 percent, and now employs more than 260,000 people. The tariff may slow the growth of solar, but it doesn’t kill its competitiveness. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy / Read 1 Response

Here’s how New Jersey can capitalize on its best clean energy investment opportunities

Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s clean energy agenda has the potential to be a game-changer for New Jersey. His influence can position the state to regain its leadership in the fight against climate change, and create a clean energy economy that will lead to more jobs, and improve the health and well-being of all New Jerseyans.

To capitalize on this opportunity and achieve the state’s goals of clean, resilient, and affordable energy and transportation systems, we need to build on the progress we’ve made with new policies and programs that will allow the adoption of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency, and clean transportation infrastructure at scale.

With New Jersey’s many competing investment needs, how will we pay for a much needed clean energy transformation? Public funds, whether from tax payers or utility customers, are not enough. EDF’s latest report, Financing New Jersey's Clean Energy Economy: Pathways for Leadership, analyzes three innovative financial approaches that leverage public resources to catalyze private investment in these technologies. Read More »

Also posted in Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, Energy Efficiency / Read 1 Response