Carol Browner on Clean Energy Investment in the U.S.

Clean Energy Investment in the United States: The View to 2030

Carol Browner, Danielle Baussan, Ben Bovarnick, Mari Hernandez, and Matt Kasper


Renewable energy investment in U.S. wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal power has increased nearly 250 percent since 2004, reaching 36.7 billion in 2013. A Deutsche Bank analysis predicts that total coal-based electricity generation will fall from 45 percent in 2010 to 20 percent by 2030, natural gas will largely replace coal as the majority share of total electricity generation. Even further, wind and solar energy—which generated only 3 percent of U.S. electricity in 2010—are projected to experience significant growth and provide 17 percent of electricity by 2030. Altogether, Deutsche Bank predicts that renewable electricity will account for one-quarter of all U.S. electricity generation by 2030. As new and existing power plants turn from fossil fuels, energy efficiency will become a greater part of the U.S. energy portfolio. 

These findings may show only a slice of clean energy’s investment potential for three reasons. First, both states and the federal governments are moving to limit carbon pollution. Second, technological advances in clean energy offer a cost-effective, certain investment opportunity. Finally, financial tools and foreign investment can inject additional capital into the clean energy market. Clean energy is at an apex of viability and affordability as financial institutions and governments seek to secure a lower-carbon future.

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