Four project developers did a rapid survey across the renewable energy finance landscape at the 14th annual Wall Street Renewable Energy Finance Forum in New York in late June. The conference is organized by the American Council on Renewable Energy and Euromoney.
The four are Jim Murphy, president and chief operating officer of Invenergy, Gaetan Frotte, senior vice president and treasurer of NRG Energy, Jim Trousdale, chief financial officer of Apex Clean Energy, and Michael Silvestrini, CEO of Greenskies Renewable Energy. (Silvestrini left Greenskies in July to become managing partner of Energia, an international project developer specializing in the commercial and industrial solar markets in Latin America and Asia.) The moderator is Keith Martin with Norton Rose Fulbright in Washington.
The American Council on Renewable Energy's (ACORE) latest intern publication, titled Green Bond Market Insights—Why Corporates Matter analyzes exciting new developments in the green bond market and explains the increasing role that corporate issuers can play in its expansion. Written by summer 2016 intern, Patrick Eble, this publication comes at a time when total global debt issuance topped $4 trillion in 2015, of which only $42.4 billion (or 1.1%) were green bonds. Even more staggering are the figures for corporate green bond issuance in the United States, in which companies have issued $8 billion dollars of green bonds since 2013, a mere 0.15% of the country’s total corporate debt issuance over the same period. So how will the green bond market grow? Corporate issuance is crucial.
While China has been grabbing the attention of the Asia-Pacific market and Mexico and Peru have been making headlines in Latin America with record low auction prices, developers looking to further expand in those markets should look to two countries: India and Argentina. The Indian government released big news for renewable energy developers in July as the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) announced its plan to double the large-scale solar target from 20 to 40 GW by 2020. Argentina is also prepared for increased growth in renewable energy capacity as the country plans its first renewable energy auction under President Mauricio Macri’s "RenovAR" program in mid-August. Savvy project developers and investors who can navigate the political landscape of these countries will find new and unprecedented opportunities for growth and return on investment.
Renewable energy is revolutionizing the global energy markets; in fact, in some regions, renewables are growing so quickly that they are the leading source of new generating capacity. As a larger and broader group of investors embrace renewables and incorporate them into their portfolios, they expect these assets to be well-managed, generating a steady financial return. Many of these new investors are not investing because they are “green”; they are doing so because of the attractive yields offered by these assets. As a result, developers and project managers should expect an increasing level of scrutiny from these new investors, requiring them to take a closer look at how they manage O&M (operations and maintenance) in the field as well as how they deal with asset management in the office.
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