By: Sean Wright, Senior Analyst, Corporate Partnerships
Source: Ash Waechter
Environmental concerns about methane emissions continue to grow as more people understand the negative climate implications of this incredibly potent greenhouse gas. Now the financial community is taking note of not only the environmental risks but the impact of methane emissions on the oil and gas industry’s bottom line. Methane leaks not only pollute the atmosphere, but every thousand cubic feet lost represents actual dollars being leaked into thin air—bad business any way you look at it.
Last week the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)—a collaborative effort aimed at improving corporate performance on environmental, social and government issues—released their provisional accounting standards for the non-renewable resources sector, which includes oil and gas production.
These accounting standards guide companies on how to measure and disclose environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks that impact a company’s financial performance. Their work highlights the growing demand amongst investors and stakeholders for companies to report information beyond mere financial metrics in order to provide a more holistic view of a company’s position.
Environmentalists and other policy makers have long touted the economic benefits of investing in energy efficiency and renewable projects. For California, that vision is on course to being realized.
Yesterday, EDF, Citi and Wilson Sonsini held Innovations in Energy Efficiency Finance II, a sequel to the successful conference we hosted in 2011. That year, we discussed several interesting ideas about how we might finance projects. Yesterday we heard from sector leaders on how those ideas are being implemented in California and beyond.
Citi and EDF conceived of this event as an opportunity to bring the energy efficiency and renewable industries together to discuss these opportunities and to build momentum for increased transaction flow. Judging by the makeup of the audience, I think we succeeded. I attend quite a few conferences to discuss energy efficiency and most of them are dominated by fellow public policy types. Yesterday, however, was a different story. Of the 185 attendees, over 2/3 were representing private sector companies in the clean energy or financing business.
As former Governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter noted, “California continues to take bold steps toward clean energy and provide the private sector with clear opportunities to invest in energy efficiency and renewables, critical components of our nation’s economic growth. A key part of achieving our clean energy potential, and creating jobs in America, is ensuring access to quality financing for homes and businesses that want to participate in the new energy economy.”