In addition to the innovative state policies that passed in legislation last year that encourage the growth of renewable energy, clean energy funds, now in over 20 states, are another very effective tool.
These clean energy funds are generating about $500 million a year, according to a report from the Brookings Institute.
Funded by utility surcharges and other sources, they are responsible for financing thousands of clean energy and efficiency projects.
The Brookings study points out how those funds could accelerate investment even more. They currently emphasize a project finance model, providing production incentives and grants/rebates for projects.
But to build a statewide clean energy industry, they should also support research and development funding, early-stage cleantech companies and emerging technologies, and various other industry development efforts.
To become true economic development engines in clean energy state, Clean Energy Funds should:
- Reorient a significant portion of their funding toward clean energy-related economic development
- Develop detailed state-specific clean energy market data
- Link clean energy funds with economic development entitites and other stakeholders in the emerging industry
- Collaborate with other state, regional, and federal efforts to best leverage public and private dollars and learn from each other's experiences
The Clean Energy States Alliance brings together states that have established clean energy funds. It provides information and technical services to build and expand renewable energy markets in the US.
Read the report: