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⚡ "A New Inflection Point for Clean Energy"

The Energy Gang

Photo by Duy Pham / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Stephen Lacey
Guest: Anton Cohen | Partner | CohnReznick LLP
Category: ⚡Renewable Energy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:54] “It's sad. The same communities that were impacted the hardest with the coronavirus pandemic are the ones that are suffering the most from having limited access to clean affordable power. Those are the ones that are near fossil fuel plants and suffer pollution. So what I'd like to see is that every low income community, underserved community has access to clean, affordable power.”

[2:46] “I think [the demand for renewables] is still extremely strong. There were some issues with supply chain and delays, but most of those got worked out. But the demand for clean energy is so strong. I'm getting calls from […] companies that you'd think […] there's no way they'd be interested in clean, but everyone is. It's coming, and it's coming in a big, big way.”

[3:19] “I think [the infrastructure bill] is going to create […] some certainty for the energy transition. I think that's what folks need. It's one thing to say, let's share up the tax credits and create a longer runway with the tax credits, but it's then wrapping […] everything else into it. It's looking at new technologies, it's spending a lot of money on research and development for new climate science. Many of these strategic investors are taking a much longer look at clean energy than they used to.”

[4:58] “Traditionally [large corporates] bought […] clean power through power purchase agreements. And now we're starting to see […] more direct ownership. And we're starting to see also these large corporates become tax equity players in the market. But their mission […] is more than just being tax equity and making a creative financial investment. It's the broader ESG play. […] It's what type of PPAs can we enter into to show our shareholders or stakeholders that we're in for the long haul? […] Can you enter into PPAs that are focused on […] social justice or social injustice? Can you enter into PPAs with minority owned businesses? […] They want to make a big impact in the communities that they're serving as well. […] I'm hopeful that one of the big things that will come out of this infrastructure bill will be large social impact investing in these distressed communities.

[11:24] “There were recent improvements to the regulations for the federal Community Reinvestment Act. So they clarified that federally regulated institutions […] can now obtain CRA approval for clean energy investments, including tax equity investments. […] Now, because the CRA focuses on equal treatment of low and moderate income persons and areas, the new OCC regs make it increasingly more likely that low and moderate income persons can obtain the direct and indirect benefits of clean energy. So by updating the regs, the OCC is also updating the goals of the CRA, which is to make sure that the low income communities are not being left behind in the clean energy revolution.”

[13:26] “If you look at total energy consumption here, I think renewables still only make up 11 or 12%. […] Yes, […] [a] high percentage of the new generation comes from renewables, but […] still in the overall consumption level it's only 12%. I'm hoping that with the broader ESG strategy, the push by the corporates, and their involvements, and obviously some type of clean energy bill, […] even the folks in the fossil fuel industries will understand where the transition is going. I'm hoping that […] we'll get some certainty and over the next 5-10 years, we can see a real uptick in those numbers. I think we will. I think we've only scratched the surface on new technologies. We still need to see a lot more clean, affordable power being offered to the underserved communities. And I think that by itself […] can really help shape […] the future of the energy landscape. I think the momentum is there and I'm excited to be a part of it.”

Rating: ⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 15 min | 🗓️ 08/10/2021
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