The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance have jointly identified an impending gap in federal support for renewable energy projects at the close of this year. At a press conference at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum – Wall Street, leaders from the financial industry discussed the anticipated post-stimulus landscape for renewable energy and expressed grave concern about the potential deceleration and loss of jobs. In particular, the group called for the extension of the Treasury cash grants.
‘The renewable energy industry is facing a new double crisis: First, a ‘stimulus cliff’ will occur as the [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] (ARRA) sunset, and, second, a drought of capital continues because the financial crisis has not ended,’ says Michael Eckhart, president of ACORE. ‘Indeed, the financial crisis goes on, and if not addressed, the situation risks losing thousands of jobs that were just gained under ARRA.’
The group agrees that the tax-equity markets are likely to remain extremely challenging and lack the depth to continue renewable adoption without a material falloff at the end of the year. In addition, the cash-grant program, the loan-guarantee program and manufacturing incentives will be needed to provide vitally important cash infusions and financing to project developers.
‘The elimination of the Treasury grant program will cause a significant decline in the continuous development of renewable resources in the United States,’ adds Jeffrey Holzschuh, vice chairman of Morgan Stanley.