NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At the Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street (REFF-Wall Street), hosted by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Euromoney Energy Events, more than 50 top leaders from the financial sector and the renewable energy industry addressed a forum of over 600 delegates, discussing the changing nature of the policy landscape and advancing the debate around finance and innovation. With uncertainty surrounding the continuation of government incentives which have proven successful in supporting the growth of renewable energy in the U.S., the industry is entering a new phase that presents a great opportunity to recognize the commercial viability of renewable energy. Ten panels at this year’s REFF-Wall Street event provided both analysis of how current projects are being successfully financed, and insights into potential new financial mechanisms to promote the scale-up of renewable energy in the U.S.
Some of the new financing models put forward included broadening the application of Master Limited Partnerships (MLP) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) to renewable energy projects. “MLPs or REIT structures would create a positive uptick in the marketplace, would open up more liquid pools of capital and lower cost of capital for companies to get transactions done. It’s been a tough market but we’re seeing some indications of overall improvement,” said Kevin Genieser, managing director at Morgan Stanley. Speakers also discussed the transition of renewable energy finance to capital markets.
Additional key themes emerging from this week’s forum include the role of natural gas as a partner to renewable energy, not just a competitor; renewables continuing to improve cost competitiveness on the path toward grid parity; and the ascendance of state RPS policy and federal policy as a driver for the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Renewable energy is a more global market than ever before, and, if the U.S. wants to attract international capital, the industry must innovate and adapt deal structures that also work in an international arena.
REFF-Wall Street attendees affirmed the renewable energy debate is politicized and off-balance. “This year’s conference occurs at the exact moment when a dose of realism, facts and proof are needed to demonstrate that renewable energy is an industry that is growing and essential to America’s economy, energy independence and national security. That is why ACORE chose this week’s event to announce new initiatives to reframe the discussion on renewable energy using multiple communications platforms, notably EnergyFactCheck.org,” ACORE president, VADM (Ret.) Dennis McGinn asserted. “We need to get politics out of our business and get the real story in. The facts are on our side.”
Financial experts agreed on the need for long-term renewable energy policy to allow the market to scale-up and to provide investors with some certainty. “The triangle of technology, policy and finance will get us to an energy future that is sustainable in economic, security and environmental terms. With that sustainability, clean energy can play a dominant market force,” said Dan Reicher, co-chair of ACORE’s board of directors, and executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University. “I’ve never been more bullish on clean tech. When it comes to corporate investors, we can’t go a week in our office without a major energy corporation figuring out how to partner with or be part of what we’re seeing. These corporate investors are an important barometer,” confirmed Ira Ehrenpreis, general partner at Technology Partners.
As the nation enters a heightened political period and the ongoing debate around energy policy intensifies, REFF-Wall Street offered a valuable opportunity to establish where the renewable energy industry is and how to develop the strategies and tools to move forward. “At REFF-Wall Street we have shown that renewable energy and energy efficiency are growing despite headwinds and turbulence. Investors are betting billions of dollars because they recognize that renewable energy will bring tremendous economic benefit nationally and globally, making America more secure, prosperous and healthier,” said McGinn.
ACORE, a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization, is dedicated to building a secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. ACORE seeks to advance renewable energy through finance, policy, technology, and market development and is concentrating its member focus in 2012 on National Defense & Security, Power Generation & Infrastructure, and Transportation. Additional information is available at www.acore.org.
About Euromoney Energy Events:
Euromoney Energy Events, part of Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, is a leading international events company that organises high-profile conferences for clean energy professionals worldwide. Our diverse portfolio of events brings together senior delegates from the renewable energy and cleantech industries with investors, financiers and other professionals. The Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF) series was launched in 1999 in London, and has since grown into a portfolio of internationally renowned events that take place annually in seven cities spanning Europe, the US, Asia and Latin America. These include REFF Wall Street (New York), REFF London (London), REFF West (San Francisco) and REFF Canada (Toronto). Additional information is available at www.euromoneyenergy.com.