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Can energy efficiency rise to its $279 billion potential and help meet climate goals?


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Can energy efficiency rise to its $279 billion potential and help meet climate goals?

by Brian Stickles, Research Analyst, Finance Policy

Energy efficiency financing has seen record growth over the past year. Property-assessed clean energy (PACE) hit a billion dollar milestone, the nation’s largest green bank has roughly $4 billion of projects in the pipeline, and green bond issuance grew from $3 billion four years ago to over $40 billion in 2015. Total energy efficiency investment in buildings is slated to reach $125 billion by 2020, which is still less than half of the estimated $279 billion available.

But is it enough? One on hand, the market is telling us that we are poised to leave hundreds of billions of dollars on the table, while the Paris climate negotiations earlier this year set investment targets of over $200 billion to help avoid climate change. Energy efficiency financing is growing fast, but can it grow fast enough?

Green banks have emerged to meet the demand previously unmet by cash-strapped public enterprises and risk-wary private ones. They are facilitating billions of dollars of investment and growing nascent program to scale, but there are just a handful of them and many are nascent programs themselves.

PACE has seen astounding success in the past year, but all that success is still a fraction of its potential. Of the 32 states with enabling legislation, only 16 have active programs, and the vast majority of projects are being done in just one.

For this reason, green banks and PACE are headlining this year’s ACEEE Energy Efficiency Finance Forum in Newport, Rhode Island

To continue reading this blog post, visit: http://aceee.org/blog/2016/04/can-energy-efficiency-rise-its-279

About ACEEE: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit aceee.org


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