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ACORE Releases $1 Trillion-by-2030 Renewable Energy Investment Campaign Progress Report

image credit: *Courtesy ACORE
Andrew Burger's picture
Man Friday Energy Ventures

I've worked a pretty diverse range of jobs around the world over the years. I feel fortunate to have found vital, satisfying work, and a career reporting, editing and researching developments in...

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  • Jun 18, 2019

Private sector investors plowed more than $56.7 billion into renewable energy and more than $48 billion into enabling grid technologies in the US last year, according to a report from ACORE, the American Council on Renewable Energy.

Furthermore, investors remain confident that renewable energy will continue to grow and offer attractive investment opportunities in the US. The average confidence level among respondents to ACORE's survey over the next three years came in at 77 out of 100.

Renewable energy remains one of the most attractive investment options in America today,” said Gregory Wetstone, ACORE’s president and CEO. “Over the long-term, however, the renewable sector is going to need predictable policy drivers, competitive power markets and a modernized grid to meet its potential and answer Americans’ growing calls for a clean energy economy.”

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Raising $1 Trillion for investment in US renewable energy and enabling grid technologies

*Courtesy BloombergNEF, ACORE

ACORE's new survey and report comes one year after it launched a campaign with the goal of raising $1 trillion of US private-sector capital and investing it in renewable energy and enabling grid technologies by 2030. Dubbed $1T 2030: The American Renewable Investment Goal, the campaign is managed by ACORE senior member program Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance (PREF) and based on a just released set of "common sense policy reforms and distinct market drivers that are most essential for growth," the non-profit industry association and advocacy explained at the time.

The capital raised is to be divided roughly between direct private investment in renewable energy and enabling grid technologies, such as energy storage, that serve to improve grid-integration renewables and the development of modern, reliable and resilient power grids.

“Renewable energy has come a long way and is economically competitive, but if we accept business-as-usual projections that predict a decline in annual investment and deployment levels in just a few years due to an uneven policy playing field, we will cede U.S. leadership and the immense range of economic benefits that come from being a dominant player in this booming global industry," said ACORE president and CEO Gregory Wetstone in his opening remarks at the 15th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street, which ACORE organizes.

"With the $1T 2030 campaign, the investment community is charting a course to modernize America’s energy infrastructure that will create massive economic opportunities over the next decade and beyond.”

A growing roster of US cities and states have adopted ambitious grid modernization and renewable, low- or zero-carbon goals in the past year, ACORE points out. In addition, Congress is considering legislative proposals the could spur investment in renewable energy across the US. "These bills include a new tax credit for energy storage, new national renewable energy and clean energy standards, a federal price on carbon emissions, and a technology-neutral tax credit for carbon-free electricity generation," according to ACORE.

ACORE zoomed in on the following as highlights of its $1T 2030 survey and progress report:

  • Renewable energy maintains its attractiveness compared with other asset classes in respondents’ portfolios

  • Most 2019 survey respondents indicated that the U.S. continues to be an attractive venue for investment compared with other leading countries

  • More than one-third of survey respondents plan to increase their investments in U.S. renewables by more than 10% in 2019 compared to 2018; no respondents reported that they would decrease their investments by more than 5%

  • Utility-scale solar and energy storage tied as the most attractive renewable energy investment options between 2019 and 2022, with onshore wind close behind

  • Investors cited the low cost of renewable energy, expanded state renewable portfolio standards, increased demand from corporate end-users, the potential for new carbon legislation, and a rush to benefit from the tax credits before they sunset among their main reasons for optimism over the next three years

The report concludes with ACORE explaining its near-term strategic focus toward as it works to achieve the $1T 2030 goal. That includes "acceleration of energy storage deployment, modernization of power markets, and an expanded marketplace that includes a broader pool of investors and buyers."

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jun 18, 2019

"ACORE conducted an online, anonymous survey in April 2018 with financial institutions that actively finance and invest in renewable energy projects, technologies and companies."

Andrew, ACORE's "report", stuffed with reference-free, pro-renewables hype, might be re-titled "Renewables Financiers Tell Potential Renewables Investors What a Great Investment They Are." How is it relevant to the rest of us?

Andrew Burger's picture
Andrew Burger on Jun 18, 2019

Jeez, well at least a couple of worthwhile items to note, Bob...Sure, it's a survery of Wall St. renewable energy financiers, so they're talking the market up, but they are putting capital to work, and plan to invest 10% more this year than last, a good sign I believe...And as we know, it's the big players, including banks, insitutional investors, corporations, etc. that are the primary drivers of renewables growth, certainly in the US...

ACORE also offer up valuable stats, metrics and views regarding the relative attractiveness of the various renewable energy market segments as well as hurdles, barriers and attractive prospects...and it lays out the key areas they're focusing on as they advocate for policies on behalf of its members aimed at boosting renewables growth on the part of their members...I think that's definitely useful as guideposts and indicators of the direction financiers would like to see both industry participants and government take, and the directions it may head, which I think may well be useful to participants across the value chain...

Regarding references, I believe ACORE lists its members on its site...Had the survey not been anonymous, I don't think the responses would be nearly as many and the results much less comprehensive

Now maybe you don't believe advocating for renewables growth is a good thing...Well and good, that'd be your view and you're entitled to it.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jun 19, 2019

Andrew, because there's so much at stake I advocate for whatever works. After tens of $billions of investment, solar makes up less than 2% of electricity in one of the most privileged countries on Earth; wind makes up < 7%.. So when I hear more "this by 2030, this by 2045, this by 2050" it's all noise to me...hype. Been hearing it for at least 50 years, and enough is enough.

The reasons renewables don't work that well aren't open to interpretation - they're grounded in unchanging physics. When I try to explain in those terms it's obvious the people who have invested money don't understand and don't want to understand. I can refer them to a famous physicist with the same opinion; it doesn't matter. He/she has an "agenda", he/she doesn't agree with the NREL scientists who are being paid to promote renewables too, etc.

Whether there's less moral justification for selling out environmental health by profiting on sales of coal, vs. sales of solar panels, is a distinction which becomes more tenuous each day.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jun 19, 2019

Bob said:

Andrew, because there's so much at stake I advocate for whatever works.

What works:

From 2010-2018

  • wind generation in US up 180 TWh  
  • solar generation in US up 94 TWh 
  • Nuclear generation in US up ZERO TWh

Source: EIA Electricity Data Browser

CO2 from electric sector in US has dropped 500 MMT since 2010. Nuclear has contributed ZERO to this reduction.

CO2 in the US will continue to drop dramatically through 2030.  It will drop by another 800 MMT by 2030. The contribution from nuclear for this decline will be ZERO. 




Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jun 19, 2019

Joe, if my only lasting contribution here has been to get you to quote renewable energy's generation instead of useless capacity numbers, it's been worthwhile.

Watts Bar 2 has been generating 9 TWh/yr since its launch in 2016, and both AP-1000s at Vogtle are scheduled to be online by April 2022. All told, they will generate 30 TWh every year through 2030 whether the wind blows or not. NuScale is scheduled to go online at UAMPS in 2025-2026; there is interest from the U.S. military about using NuScale's SMRs for critical backup at bases here and abroad. So that you still feel the need to shout ZERO when lying about nuclear's future in the U.S. only harms your own argument. Three states have passed zero-emission credits for nuclear - and unlike RECs, ZECs for nuclear don't adopt the crutch of double-counting its contribution. Ohio legislators are expected to abandon its Renewable Energy Portfolio in coming weeks, after eleven years of modest gains. Though HB 6 would establish a ZEC which applies equally to all forms of carbon-free energy, apparently a level playing field is not good enough for renewables activists, who scream "NUCLEAR BAILOUT!" on the steps of the capitol.

50 plants are under construction in China, Belarus, Russia, Finland, France, South Korea, India, Japan, Slovakia, Argentina, Pakistan, UAE, Bangladesh, Turkey, and the UK. Germany is another story. Activists are learning the hard way, as they miss their highly-vaunted 2020 target by a large margin, that there is an impenetrable wall for solar and wind spray-painted with the words "nighttime," "clouds," and "calm" (in German). I believe a similar wall will continue to prevent solar and wind from ever achieving a significant contribution to any grid, but my belief is only based on what's happened from the beginning, so I can't definitively say it "will" (the Earth could, in theory, stop turning). I don't know, and neither do you.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jun 19, 2019

NuScale is scheduled to go online at UAMPS in 2025-2026

Timeline used to say 2024. Of course, as with all nuclear projects these timelines seem to slip. Luckily, in the shorter-term 200MW of solar will be built in Utah by end of 2020.

Latest from NuScale exec:

NuScale’s first customer, UAMPS, plans to commence site preparation in 2021.  Nuclear construction (i.e., first safety related concrete) will commence in 2023 with the first module operational by late 2026. The full 12-module plant will be operational by 2027.

So maybe a 50MW module by end of 2026.   In the meantime 11GW of Nuclear will be shutting down.

Joe, if my only lasting contribution here has been to get you to quote renewable energy's generation instead of useless capacity numbers, it's been worthwhile.

Folks who think capacity numbers are useless  are advocates who support a technology where capacity is flat or decreasing.

So that you still feel the need to shout ZERO when lying about nuclear's future in the U.S. only harms your own argument.

US Nuclear generation was at 800 TWh in 2008, at 800TWh in 2018 and will likely be less than 800TWh in 2028.  

Pretending otherwise is the real lie.  Until you can show me a possible alternative scenario - gonna keep shouting.

As for your international comments - Nuclear generation flat to down there as well. You got nothing.

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