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.