Since Solindra’s loss, the clean energy industry has come a long way

Last month, Solindra’s loss was a 10-year anniversary. Despite many successes, the US Department of Energy’s Credit Programs (LPO) has served as a talking point to divide our policy and undermine the clean energy industry in the United States.

Today, the world understands the importance of responding to the crisis, but the drama around Solindra’s debt still holds lessons for Congress, taking into account significant new investments in bilateral infrastructure and clean energy. .

We’ve heard a lot about that loan. This is because we have managed an agency that has invested in Solindra – and many other clean energy companies. Although the investment in Solindra took place before we arrived, it was all created for the same reason – to use innovative technology for business, to create new jobs and to reduce global warming.

Looking back 10 years, it is clear that most loans are winners. One was a Tesla car for a beginner. We have also provided loans to 10 industries for the first large-scale solar projects in the United States. We took over the largest wind farm in the United States and financed the country’s first nuclear power plant in 30 years. The portfolio includes energy storage projects, innovative transmission lines, geothermal projects, and biofuels. A total of $ 32 billion has been invested in various technologies, and 10 years later the portfolio has generated revenue for taxpayers by eliminating more than 35 million tons of carbon emissions and displacing about 3 billion gallons of gasoline.

In addition to being good investments, these loans have helped to create an undeniable clean energy transfer. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, 91 percent of all new power plants installed last year are solar and wind. Government programs like ours have helped to launch a renewed market by showing cost and cost. Solar and ocean prices have fallen by 82 percent and 39 percent, respectively, since 2010. Utilities, corporations and consumers are now turning to clean energy because of the low cost option.

Pure energy transformation has also created lucrative jobs that we believed in 10 years ago. Today, more than 230,000 people work in the American solar industry. It is a growing industry that employs skilled electricians, computer programmers, construction workers, financial analysts, and everything in between. And these loans have had a huge impact on the environment. Today, the loan program portfolio saves 1,473 tons of CO2 with $ 1 million.

While all of this is good news, the recent spate of fires, heat waves, and hurricanes in the West underscores the unresolved climate crisis. This is a serious challenge, but thanks to loans made 10 years ago, there are industries and technologies that can deal with this crisis to a great extent. Now is the time to take bold steps to tackle the climate crisis, create more clean energy jobs, and invest in the next successful clean energy company.

Congress can take immediate action by developing a bilateral infrastructure plan that will accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles and build the necessary transmission capacity to expand renewable energy production. It should also go further by developing key clean energy and climate policies, such as key national clean energy standards, electric vehicle obligations and financial incentives.

Private capital also plays a key role in mitigating the effects of climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement – $ 50 trillion in investment over the next three decades. This is not a complicated price. It is an opportunity to invest in companies and infrastructure that provide energy, mobility and other essential services. Institutional investors are increasing their allocations to the sector. They now have to do compulsory environmental, social and administrative (ESG) policies and similar asset managers.

In addition, more than 400 of the world’s largest companies have already determined zero-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The world wants other companies to follow, drive these changes through their supply chains, and create bigger markets for clean energy and other climate solutions. Individual consumers can also reduce energy by choosing clean energy, electric vehicles, and a low-carbon lifestyle.

Ten years ago, we were privileged to help start a clean energy industry by directing billions of dollars in investment to a young industry. Not every investment has been successful, but most have succeeded – and they have changed the world.

Like baseball, they are not based on the number of times you have been beaten, but you cannot beat them unless they swing. And since climate change is both a matter of survival and one of the biggest investment opportunities in generations, it is important that the government continues to beat.

So let’s play to win.

Peter W. Davidson is the CEO of Adjusted Climate Capital, an asset manager focused solely on clean energy and climate-related investments. From 2013 to 2015, he served as executive director of the Bureau of Energy Programs.

Jonathan Silver is a senior consultant for Gujarati Guarantees. From 2009 to 2011, he served as executive director of the US Department of Energy’s loan programs.

The comments expressed are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the views of the safe haven.

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