An overwhelming majority of top investors in the U.S. renewable energy sector intend to double their cumulative investments between now and 2030, according to a survey by the American Council for Renewable Energy (ACORE).
The survey showed that 70 percent of private investors’ contributions would bring the sector to over $500 billion in the next 12 years. More than a quarter of investors' responses showed a cumulative investment of $1 trillion, leading ACORE to establish $1T 2030: The American Renewable Investment Goal.
The group aims to reach $1 trillion in new U.S. private sector investment in renewables and enabling grid technologies by 2030. ACORE President and CEO Gregory Wetstone hopes the goal will inspire the investment community to chart “a course to modernize America’s energy infrastructure that will create massive economic opportunities.”
Survey respondents said that they planned to add technology investments related to energy storage, transmission and grid advancement to their portfolios. ACORE said the investors viewed those contributions as an avenue to bolster their funds by improving renewables’ integration into the energy mix and support market growth. The companies projected the investments would range between $500 billion to $1 trillion over the same period of time.
ACORE President and CEO Gregory Wetstone in the study's foreword that the “results underscore a resilient and healthy market with significant potential for continuing, and even accelerating, the recent trend of dramatic renewable sector growth.” But added that the “aging grid infrastructure and mixed policy signals could limit future expansion.”
Investors identified potential roadblocks to sector growth. Sunsets of the investment tax credit and production tax credit topped the list of concerns, followed closely by a need for grid improvements. Outdated market structures designed around fossil fuels placed third and trade disputes ranked fourth out of five among hindrances to growth. Only 13 percent of respondents listed reform of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act as an issue.
ACORE indicated that new policies are necessary to grow the U.S. renewables sector and that investments may decline without the legislation. Wetstone said that states could “play a particularly significant role in stimulating demand through ambitious renewable portfolio standards.” Almost all of the respondents named state renewable portfolio standards as an important key to future growth, with 45 percent saying state green energy goals were “very important” and 50 percent naming those standards as “important.”
According to the ACORE survey, 67 percent of the surveyed companies will increase renewables investments in 2018 by more than 5 percent. None of the companies surveyed indicated plans to reduce their investment.