Unlocking finance for clean energy: The need for ‘investment grade’ policy

December 15, 2009 | 00:00

Unlocking finance for clean energy: The need for ‘investment grade’ policy

As negotiators and policymakers look beyond the high-level politics of a global climate change deal, attention will focus on implementation. This briefing paper looks at what policy needs to deliver to provide the conditions for scaled up investment in renewable energy, drawing on work with leading mainstream financiers.

Article Summary:

  • 'Investment grade' energy policy is a critical factor for unlocking significantly scaled-up capital flows into renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • To be 'investment grade', policy needs to tackle all the relevant factors that financiers assess when looking at a deal. It must be embedded in wider energy policy, and be stable across the lifetime of projects. Investors need to be confident, in a policy-driven market, that governments are serious.
  • A target, a fiscal incentive, or the availability of public finance alone will not be sufficient if there are cumulative high risks associated with other factors. Risk-adjusted returns must be commercially attractive.
  • Different market characteristics of renewable energy subsectors, and energy efficiency, mean that policy needs to be well designed and precise. On its own, a blanket 'low carbon' approach, or a carbon price, will not overcome specific market risks associated with differing technologies.
  • Significantly scaling up renewable energy over the medium and longer term requires immediate government attention to the sequencing, planning and integration of the underlying infrastructure required to deploy renewable energy.

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