With the U.S. private sector investing almost $57 billion in 2018 in U.S. renewable energy and enabling grid technology, including energy storage, it seems well on its way to hit the $1 trillion goal by 2030, set by the American Council on Renewable Energy, a nonprofit lobbying group that released a progress report on its campaign started last year and an institutional survey this week.
Acore President and CEO Gregory Wetstone noted in the report that the investment opportunity “is growing but will require stronger policy and market signals before these technologies can mirror the scale of direct investment in renewables.” He added that further out, between 2022 and 2030, the rate of growth is “less certain.”
The report found the United States was second to China internationally in attracting private investment to the renewable energy sector, and represented 16% of total global investment. It also stated that investment in this area wasn’t dissuaded by the new tax law.
The 2018 investment was broken into four areas: $24.6 billion in on-shore wind, $21.8 billion in solar, $8.2 billion in enabling grid technologies and $2.1 billion in other renewables.
The survey also found that:
- Investor confidence in the renewable energy sector should remain high over next three years;
- Renewable energy still is attractive compared to other assets in portfolios;
- The United States continues to be a key venue for investment;
- More than one-third of survey respondents plan to increase investments in U.S. renewables by more than 10% over 2018 levels in 2019:
- Utility-scale solar and energy storage tied as the most attractive renewable energy investments;
- Main reasons for investment in renewable energy over next three years included expanded state renewable portfolio standards, increased demand from corporate end users, potential for new carbon legislation and a rush to benefit from tax credits before they sunset.
Some continued hurdles for growth in this area cited in the study include need for greater electric grid improvements, government incentives to old fossil fuel sectors instead of renewal energy, and threats from trade tariffs.