A Cleantech Investor’s Policy Advice for the Next US President

By Julia Pyper
November 8, 2016

DBL Part­ners out­lines how the U.S. can main­tain lead­er­ship in clean energy and boost job creation.

Ear­lier this year, the U.S. brought on-​​line its mil­lionth solar instal­la­tion. The U.S. solar indus­try now employs more peo­ple than coal min­ing or oil and gas extrac­tion. And last year, clean energy invest­ments in the U.S. totaled $56 bil­lion, with a major­ity of dol­lars going to solar and wind.

Yet solar only rep­re­sents about 1 per­cent of U.S. elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion, and non-​​hydro renew­ables rep­re­sent just 7 per­cent. Elec­tric vehi­cles, needed to address trans­porta­tion emis­sions, are still less than 3 per­cent of U.S. auto sales.

The tra­jec­tory of the clean energy sec­tor depends greatly on the next pres­i­dent of the United States, accord­ing to a recent report by the ven­ture cap­i­tal firm DBL Part­ners. The authors wrote that main­tain­ing U.S. lead­er­ship in clean energy will require think­ing holis­ti­cally about the industry.

More specif­i­cally, “The most impor­tant achieve­ments the next pres­i­dent can accom­plish for clean energy are fos­ter­ing stake­holder unity behind the shift to renew­ables, increas­ing acces­si­bil­ity and via­bil­ity for investors, and improv­ing nation­wide energy lit­er­acy,” the report states. DBL goes on to list a dozen spe­cific pol­icy rec­om­men­da­tions to make good on these aims.

If the next pres­i­dent is suc­cess­ful, there will be wide-​​ranging ben­e­fits. For instance, DBL cal­cu­lated that if 10 large states saw their solar sec­tors catch up to Cal­i­for­nia on a solar watts per capita basis, the nation’s solar capac­ity would dou­ble — increas­ing by 34 gigawatts — and cre­ate more than $67 bil­lion in eco­nomic activity.

To read the full arti­cle, visit GTM.