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Surging U.S. Energy Efficiency Investment May Still Fall Short

U.S. EPA/Wikipedia
U.S. EPA/Wikipedia

Energy efficiency financing in the U.S. has seen record growth in the last year, but Research Analyst Brian Stickles at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is still asking whether the market can expand fast enough to meet the investment targets set at last year’s UN climate summit in Paris.

On one hand, “property-assessed clean energy (PACE) has hit a billion-dollar milestone, the nation’s largest green bank has roughly US$4 billion of projects in the pipeline, and green bond issuance grew from $3 billion four years ago to more than $40 billion in 2015,” he writes.

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But even so, “the market is telling us that we are poised to leave hundreds of billions of dollars on the table,” Stickles writes. Investment in energy-efficient buildings “is slated to reach US$125 billion by 2020, which is still less than half of the estimated $279 billion available.”

While green banks “have emerged to meet the demand previously unmet by cash-strapped public enterprises and risk-wary private ones,” he adds, “there are just a handful of them, and many are nascent programs themselves.”

(Stickles’ post points readers to ACEEE’s upcoming Energy Efficiency Finance Forum as a place to continue the conversation.)