Policy Shifts Can Deliver 150% Annual Growth in Clean Investment
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is recommending radical and urgent measures to uncork the flood of new investment in clean energy that will be necessary to meet (and eventually exceed) the Paris climate goals.
“Investment in renewable energy needs to increase annually by 150%—cumulatively by about US$16 trillion between 2015 and 2050—to achieve the Paris climate agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to below 2.0°C by 2050,” the organization’s secretariat says in a release, citing the International Energy Agency.
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“The good news is that there is enough capital out there to do it,” the OECD asserts. A study reveals that the global financial sector deploys some €100 trillion in assets, the international agency notes. Institutional investors (private and public pension funds and insurance companies, excluding investment funds) from its 35 member nations alone manage an estimated US$54 trillion.
However, “incoherent policies, misalignments in electricity markets, and cumbersome and risky investment conditions,” are holding back potential investment. “Explicit carbon prices have driven investment in renewables in both the European Union and in emerging economies, as well as among OECD and G20 countries,” the OECD notes. “Yet pressure from fossil fuel subsidies has simultaneously deterred renewables investment in emerging economies.”
In place of contradictory policies, the international economic think tank calls for mutually reinforcing, “coherent and targeted investment incentives, such as feed-in tariffs, renewable certificates, and public tenders, with combined approaches to allow for virtuous circles.”
To “make the renewable energy investment environment—and especially solar and wind energy—far more attractive and business-friendly,” its experts call for “rethinking things like property registration and permitting systems. At competition and trade policy levels, it means easing trade across borders. And in terms of financial access, it means providing access to domestic credit for the private sector.”
Step three in the regulatory playbook “is to ensure that the broader investment environment doesn’t work against climate mitigation action,” the OECD states. “For instance, the implementation of important Basel III banking regulations may have had the unintended consequence of constraining access to debt financing for capital-intensive renewable projects. Public tenders can interact negatively with state-owned enterprises, deterring investment from independent renewable power producers.”