While solar and wind resources are abundant in the western United States, the region faces technical, operational and management challenges in transitioning to cleaner energy portfolios. Integrating renewable energy into existing electric grids continues to be a difficult hurdle for many electricity markets. When utilities face intermittent renewable energy generation, energy imbalance markets (EIMs) have been developed to mitigate the gaps between production and demand.
At the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, we constantly scan the horizon for transformative solutions in clean energy markets and finance. And as far and as wide as we look, we are drawn back to study the remarkable work across our home state of Connecticut.
It’s urgent to fund climate solutions in developing nations. The risk of climate-related adversities particularly affects the poor, who already suffer disproportionately from these impacts. Direct government funding is scarce in the least-developed countries. Hence, climate change investment needs are significant. One way to address this gap and also reduce investment risks is to use results-based climate finance.
The road to electrifying heating and transportation in the United States is being mapped out by Electric Power Research Institute and The Brattle Group. Their forecasts show that different paths may yield a range of environmental, business and health benefits. Electrification could also stoke the fire of utility profits, which has dimmed in recent years.
According to a recent research study, “Energy Performance Certificates - Informing the Informed or the Indifferent?,” the presence of an energy label on homes does not have any significant impact on home pricing. A team led by Professor Jon Olaf Olaussen from the business school at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology said factors such as the location, landscaping, neighborhood and size of the property take precedence in home purchases. However, this research contradicts several studies that have shown there is a price premium associated with energy labels.
On social media and at industry conventions, it is easy to find high-profile discussions on the technological revolution of electric grids. Experts on energy storage, distributed generation, and wireless options describe how emerging technologies are poised to transform the electricity sector. The hype is real. Energy companies are developing technologies at an increasingly rapid pace. But for all the attention on these new devices and expectations of market growth, there’s still no clear path to widespread adoption. As this series shows, several key barriers prevent technology adoption from keeping up with technology development.
Developing countries are in need of significant financial investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience. In most developing countries, government investments for climate change are limited. Therefore, in order to fulfill their commitments to the Paris Agreement, governments need to rely on other external sources of funding. Identifying and accessing these funds, however, still remains a big challenge.
Will utilities upgrade as they encounter new technologies or get left behind? That’s what attendees discussed at one of the final sessions at the Future of Energy Summit in New York City on April 10. When it comes to software, electric utilities are sometimes very far behind other companies.
In a dynamic discussion at the Rockefeller Institute of Government on April 18 in Albany, N.Y., financial experts explained how they “follow the puck” by observing technological and social trends as they move their funds from fossil fuels toward clean energy.
For many energy innovators, securing venture capital may seem to be an impossible challenge. Taking this issue to heart, the technology company Rho AI is exploring the power of artificial intelligence to find capital for companies in the renewable energy marketplace. Having recently earned a grant from the United States Department of Energy to create a solution called Partner AI, Rho AI is reaching its seventh month of development. Partner AI is an online artificial intelligence-based solution that will work to streamline today’s renewable energy venture capital process.
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.