Look at the electrical systems around you. You might not know it, but from power plants with towering smokestacks to wires across the nation, the grid is changing faster than ever before. When utilities make investments approved by state regulators, the cost of the investment plus a reasonable ROI is spread out over the useful life of the equipment and bundled into your electricity rate. However, this traditional model of cost recovery does not support utility adoption of advanced energy technologies.
When refugees and migrants escape adverse circumstances in search of better lives, the organizations that assist them tend to not prioritize sustainable energy development as a tactic. But if these relief providers follow the recommendations of two reports published by the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility and Moving Energy Initiative, they will start doing so.
Momentum is building in the private sector for climate resilience financing. This necessary acceleration could help to avert the worst consequences of climate change. Financiers and others weighed in about their priorities and goals at COP23 in Germany on Nov. 13 in the Bonn Zone. They shared their thoughts and successes from developing pathways for resilience financing.
As world leaders met in Bonn, Germany in November for COP23, the challenge of climate finance projects in developing countries took center stage. A second challenge receives less attention: fewer than 10 percent of development finance from international climate funds reaches the local level. This finding is presented in a paper called “Delivering Real Change: Getting International Climate Finance to the Local Level.” It was published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), a London-based policy-research group.
Behind factory doors, decisions about industrial energy efficiency are rarely visible to the public and the media. But in the United Kingdom, Carbon Trust’s Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator is shining a spotlight on innovation by rewarding companies that step forward to rework their manufacturing processes.
As decision makers gathered at COP23 this November in Bonn, Germany, they considered strategies that could empower them to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Financing sustainable infrastructure is one of the keys to putting these goals in motion. According to Laura Canas da Costa, senior advisor in sustainable infrastructure financing at WWF Switzerland, developing nations will be building extensive amounts of infrastructure as they pursue the SDGs. Traditionally, up to 70 percent of infrastructure financing comes from the public sector.
Nearly a decade ago, in 2009, McKinsey & Company’s “Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy” report cited a $1.2 trillion energy-savings opportunity in the United States alone. A recent transaction breakthrough provides some of the essential building blocks: a programmatic, multi-site, multi-state Efficiency Services Agreement for a Fortune 100 company.
In the face of United States federal inertia regarding the Paris Agreement, a cluster of initiatives driven by corporations and NGOs has sprung up to help maintain forward momentum. These initiatives are drawing together large collaborative networks to set higher goals.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star program has enlisted millions of consumers into the fight against climate change while helping them save $430 billion on their utility bills. By simply promoting energy-efficient solutions, the program has forever changed consumer mentality and clean energy finance.
When Tesla unveiled the utility-scale Powerpack battery in 2015, analysts and observers excitedly proclaimed the product’s low price point would revolutionize electric grid operations and business models as it set new cost benchmarks for energy storage. But despite the hype, the reception from utilities was tepid at best.
This experience is not unique to Tesla. It leads to a big question: What’s stopping utilities from quickly pivoting to new energy technologies? Unlike other industries that can quickly adopt new technology, utilities and their regulators must make more cautious deliberations.
Growing momentum for energy efficiency financing in the United States has motivated State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network to conduct around 20 interviews with stakeholders in five states to explore what it takes to make utility-sponsored programs succeed. The research team produced a report that outlines the pitfalls and promises of a wide range of evaluation techniques.
While making strong motivational statements at the 2016 Investor Summit on Climate Risk in New York City on Jan. 27, speakers also laid forth an ambitious set of targeted goals to implement the Paris climate conference’s agenda. These goals included implementing climate disclosure requirements; advocating for stable, economically meaningful carbon pricing; ceasing investment in coal; leveraging pension funds; scaling up green banks; clarifying what constitutes a green bond; and analyzing risks on an industry-by-industry basis.
Habitat for Humanity (HFH) is leading the way in developing sustainable, high-efficiency housing for the low- and fixed-income communities. Its latest project, the River Falls Eco Village in Wisconsin, is the first development of its kind to demonstrate that net-zero homes can provide tangible economic and social benefits to low-to-middle-income (LMI) communities.
As the biggest public funder of projects related to climate change, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has played a crucial role in removing market barriers to investment in clean energy worldwide. Policy de-risking, investment aggregation mechanisms, and capacity building for banks and governments are key areas where the GEF has worked to increase the flow of financing.
What do leaders in the banking industry think about the potential of privately financing solar power, wind energy, and energy efficiency? In this interview, Michael Eckhart, managing director and global head of finance and sustainability at Citigroup, shares his optimism about the transition to clean energy and his observations about the persistent obstacles in the market – including the need to scale up financing for energy efficiency.