SOURCE: American Council On Renewable Energy

American Council On Renewable Energy

November 09, 2015 12:46 ET

At REFF-West, Private and Public Leaders Explore Future of Renewable Energy Capital Markets as Industry Matures and Evolves

Over 50 Speakers and 250 Attendees Analyze the Financing and Policy Challenges Surrounding Renewables, Storage and the Future of Energy in the Western U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - November 09, 2015) - The 8th Annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum-West (REFF-West), the premier renewable energy finance event in the western U.S, gathered energy and finance experts to discuss, debate and share new ideas around the evolving energy industry. Hosted by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Euromoney Seminars, industry leaders from Silicon Valley to Wall Street to Washington, D.C. joined to address a wide range of issues, from explosive growth in corporate renewable energy procurement and energy storage start-ups to renewable energy YieldCo challenges and major uncertainty and change in the utility business model.

"The eighth annual REFF-West in San Francisco occurs at a fitting time and place when California, the world's eighth largest economy has just committed to produce 50 percent of its electricity from renewables in just 15 years," said Dan Reicher, interim President and CEO of ACORE and Executive Director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy & Finance at Stanford University. "And this is a pivotal moment in the future of renewable energy with the Paris climate talks at the end of the month, EPA's comprehensive and controversial carbon emissions regulations, and serious uncertainty about the future of federal solar and wind tax credits."

This year's conference featured more than 50 high-profile speakers from industry and government, and played host to over 250 delegates including CEOs, investment bankers, venture capitalists, lawyers, and other key renewable energy players. With its California location, a hub for the latest public and private advancements in the transition to a low carbon energy sector, REFF-West had lively discussion and debate around the state's 50 percent renewable portfolio standard, solar and utility business models and regulations, and changes in energy capital markets.

"Achieving major reductions in carbon emissions is going to take a host of energy solutions. Optimizing those solutions will come through interconnection that only the grid can offer. And building a more dynamic grid will come through policies that support sustained investment in the infrastructure," said Tony Earley, chairman, CEO and president of PG&E Corporation and a REFF-West keynote speaker.

In addition to an exploration of the maturation and challenges facing the renewable energy capital markets, this year's REFF-West placed an emphasis on the significance of leading Fortune 500 companies procuring renewables to hedge against rising energy costs and to ensure reliable and resilient power while supporting sustainability objectives. With influential, cutting-edge companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon and Panasonic moving aggressively into low-cost renewables, through REC purchasing, power-purchase agreements, and even asset ownership, ACORE used this year's REFF-West to convene top Fortune 500 businesses to discuss their strategies for clean energy in the corporate space.

"Corporate purchasing of renewable power has major potential for companies seeking flexible energy planning, as well as for the renewables industry itself," said Jamie Evans Managing Director & Head of U.S Eco Solutions at Panasonic. "The multinational businesses seeking to invest in low carbon energy can meet their economic goals and sustainability goals through a variety of strategies. For the clean energy industry, the large balance sheets of these companies can continue to fund new projects and drive growth."

The conference also addressed themes of innovation, with speakers from Tesla and venture capital groups, and highlighted opportunities in related energy technologies like demand response, energy storage, the "internet of things" and creative electric vehicle infrastructure and incentives.

"Cleanweb and the intersection of energy and information technology is a powerful force for ensuring the reliability of a modern grid, and the integration of renewable energy at high levels," said Nicholas Eisenberger, Managing Partner at Pure Energy Partners and member of ACORE's board of directors. "REFF-West has always showcased innovative opportunities to unite information technology with traditional energy applications, and this year is no exception."

As part of this year's conference, ACORE released its Renewable Energy in the 50 States: Western Region, providing a broad analysis of key developments shaping the renewable energy landscape in the thirteen Western states. This year's update to the Western Region Report notes that in 2014, the western renewable energy sector attracted nearly half of the country's combined venture capital, private equity, and asset finance investment and produced roughly one third of the region's total electricity generation -- compared to about 13 percent nationally. In fact, the report notes that half of the nation's total renewable power capacity is located in these states, including 60 percent of all hydro, 70 percent of all solar, and 100 percent of all geothermal power.

ACORE, a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization, is dedicated to building a secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. ACORE seeks to advance renewable energy through finance, policy, technology, and market development and is concentrating its member focus in 2015 on National Defense & Security, Power Generation & Infrastructure, and Transportation. Additional information is available at www.acore.org.

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