One year into its campaign to reach $1 trillion in U.S. private sector investment in renewable energy and enabling grid technologies by 2030, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) released a progress report tracking U.S. renewable investment.
The report also assesses the policy and market pathways needed to achieve “$1T 2030: The American Renewable Investment Goal.” Additionally, there is an updated survey of America’s leading financial institutions that reports high near-term confidence for renewable energy growth over the next three years and a strong appetite for increased investment.
“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.”
In 2018, the private sector invested more than $56.7 billion in U.S. renewable energy ($48 billion) and enabling grid technologies, including energy storage ($8.2 billion).
Among the key findings of ACORE’s new survey gauging investor confidence in the U.S. renewable energy sector:
- Investors’ confidence in renewable energy sector growth over the next three years remains high, with an average confidence level of 77/100
- 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%
- 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
- Utility-scale solar and energy storage tied as the most attractive renewable energy investment options between 2019 and 2022, with onshore wind close behind
The report outlines the progress that has been made since the $1T 2030 campaign launched in June 2018, including the adoption of ambitious renewable portfolio standards in multiple states.
Over the past several weeks, a number of federal legislative proposals have also been introduced that could have important impacts for the renewable sector. 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.
The report concludes with ACORE’s near-term strategic focus toward achievement of the $1T 2030 goal, which includes acceleration of energy storage deployment, modernization of power markets, and an expanded marketplace that includes a broader pool of investors and buyers.