Daniel Firger, who leads global work on climate change and clean energy for Bloomberg Philanthropies and who moderated an afternoon discussion today on clean energy finance, posed the question: “With advocates pushing for more clean energy on the grid, what really is going to drive additional renewable energy project development in the U.S. in the next couple of years?”
Deutsche Bank managing director Vishal Shah said he thought that from a standpoint of increasing renewable energy development in the U.S., the extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) last December was a good step.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done on storage and on new business models,” he said. “That’s where some investments could be done.”
Panelist Jonathan Barrett, president of Luminus Management, was skeptical about the efficacy of investing in renewable projects in this country in the near future. “I don’t think that the current dollars spent on reducing carbon emissions in the US are well spent,” he said.
Barrett took issue with the idea that the tax credits would promote technological advancement. “The vast majority of dollars that are going to come out of taxpayers’ pockets to fund ITC and PTC will not be going to new technologies,” he said. “They’re going to existing technologies or slightly improved ones,” to help them get a leg up on traditional fuel sources.