Renewable Energy Financing a Priority

Renewable energy industries are a labor of love, policy and financing, and 350 bankers and investors met to discuss what they could at least contribute to industry financing at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum in New York. Michael Eckhart, president of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), estimated that the United States could generate two million new jobs by 2020 if the country adopted policies for renewable energy similar to what Europe has done already.

New York, New York – June 29, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “This could be a conservative estimate,” Eckhart said. “These jobs can be developed while reducing the global risk of climate change and making our nation less dependent on foreign oil. Renewable energy jobs include manufacturing, research, sales, installation, and professional services in every state of the union.” The event was cosponsored by ACORE and Euromoney Institutional Investor. Over 40 speakers from policy and financial worlds attended the event including Sean Harrigan, President of CalPERS; Steve Zwolinski, President of GE Wind Energy; Jim Gordon, President of Cape Wind Associates; and Stephen Timms, the UK’s Minister of Energy. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson gave the keynote speech. “I flew here to speak to you, the professionals on Wall Street, to ask you to step up with the financing our nation will need to put renewables in place in a big way,” Richardson said. He and other governors from the western states recently signed a commitment to establish 30,000 MW of new renewable energy systems in their region. Gordon of Cape Wind spoke about the need to make a similar commitment and convert New England to a pollution-free future, and to do so in a financially prudent way. Harrigan of CalPERS spoke about the $200 million the investment firm has committed to clean energy industries. “Environmental responsibility has become a financial issue,” he said. “This is the beginning of a groundswell of interest in investing in the environmental field.” Speakers from the banking and project debt financial community included top professionals from TCW, Fortis Bank, Dexia Credit, Babcock & Brown, ArcLight, Marathon Capital, New Energy Capital, Nth Power, Perseus, Winslow Management, and others. The conference will take place again next year, June 22-23, 2005 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

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