Creating an International Climate Finance System — the Need for an International Green Bank Coalition for Green Capital Kenneth Berlin, General Counsel (202) 371-7350 Kenneth.Berlin@Skadden.com) www.coalitionforgreencapital.com May 2011 Presented at: 2 nd Climate Consensus Workshop Amsterdam, May 18-19, 2011
The Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) is a non-profit consortium of energy industry leaders including renewable resource developers, original equipment manufacturers, investors, lawyers, financial advisors, and consultants dedicated to a clean energy economy built on low-cost, profitable, sustainable energy generation and consumption
The CGC seeks to build a productive, expanding, and sustainable economy by:
Creating a U.S. Energy Investment Trust (EIT) that provides long-term, low-cost financing for clean energy solutions
Reducing taxes on innovative goods and services in the clean energy sector
Removing market and infrastructure regulatory barriers to innovation in clean energy goods and services
Creating state-level Green Banks
Creating an International Green Bank, also known as the “Global Investment Trust for Clean Energy”
Reed Hundt, CEO (202 777 7700, [email_address] ) | Ken Berlin, General Counsel (202 371 7350, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alex Kragie, Vice President (202 579 2354, [email_address] | Sarah Davidson, Vice President (202 577 1605, email@example.com)
Providing financing to energy projects in the developing world is critical to arresting climate change and to bringing clean energy deployment to scale.
Political constraints on the U.S. climate negotiating position and on providing public funds, will limit for many years the role the U.S. will play in providing public funding to the Green Climate Fund established in the Cancun Agreement, making it difficult to bring public financing mechanisms to scale.
Multilateral development banks will play a key role in meeting developed world financing obligations, but limitations on multilateral bank financing will require a new international, single-purpose “green bank” that would foster widespread deployment of clean energy by providing low cost financing to private clean energy projects.
At the UNFCCC conventions in Copenhagen and Cancun, developed countries committed themselves to a goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion a year to address the high costs of adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change in developing countries
Agreed that financing would come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of funding
On November 5, 2010, a team of experts submitted the “report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing”
The Advisory Group noted that the “revenue potential from private financing was estimated to be up to $500 billion in 2020, generated from a leverage factor of 2 and 4 on public flows and carbon market offsets”
The Cancun Agreement established a Green Climate Fund to be designated as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention. The Green Climate Fund will be accountable to and function under the guidance of the Conference of the Parties. The World Bank was invited to be the interim trustee of the Fund.
Strong opposition in the U.S. to a treaty is hindering the ability of the parties to create a binding cap and trade system
Without a binding system, there will either be no markets or at best constrained markets for carbon credits
Many of the mechanisms being debated required a market for their success
Voluntary markets are not enough
Could rely on regional markets like an EU cap and trade system for a period of time
Few constraints on U.S. proposing measures designed to encourage energy projects implemented by private entities, but still many barriers that have to be overcome before private capital flows reach the needed level
Advisory Group stated that reaching the $100 billion goal will likely require taking a systematic approach to the financing of climate action. The Advisory Group grouped potential financing sources into four categories: (a) Public Sources, (b) Carbon Market, (c) Multilateral Banks, (d) Private Capital
Recommendations of the Advisory Group: Public Sources (revenue from a price on carbon)
Key to the Advisory Group’s recommendation is a carbon price of $20 - $25 per ton of CO2 equivalent.
This would generate around $30 billion annually, but requires:
A cap and trade system or a carbon tax
Willingness to devote a portion of these revenues to international activity
Willingness to agree to treaty in the absence of similar requirements for participation in a cap-and-trade system for developing nations like China (Advisory Group makes it clear that carbon price will be limited to developed countries)
U.S. proposed this approach in Waxman/Markey legislation in 2009, but currently, politically impossible to propose, so it will be hard for the U.S. to negotiate an agreement requiring this approach
Recommendations of the Advisory Group: Public Sources (taxes and budget contributions)
Various taxes and wire charges such as a financial transaction tax, taxes on international aviation and shipping, redirecting fossil fuel subsidies to international financing ($20 billion)
Direct budget contributions
Extremely unlikely the U.S. will commit to any of these in the foreseeable future.
Recommendations of the Advisory Group: Carbon Markets
A carbon price of $20-$25 would generate increased carbon market flows (e.g. CDM markets) of between $30 and $50 billion in gross flows and about $10 billion of net transfers
Debate about whether to count gross or net flows, but irrelevant if no market
Increasing Private Investment – What are the Requirements
Two basic requirements for investment in any energy project
The technology cannot significantly raise the delivered price of electricity
The investors have to earn an adequate rate of return
Most clean energy is more expensive then fossil fuel energy. Without the ability to raise the delivered cost of electricity, must lower the cost of the project to the project sponsors
Lowering the Cost of Electricity – Subsidies and FITs
Governmental subsidies can lower the price of electricity
National government can provide tax credits, interest rate by-downs and other direct subsidies
Likely to be limited appetite for these measures given fiscal constraints in U.S.
Feed-in tariffs for specific technologies can increase payments to the project sponsor
Likely to be highly effective
As they reach scale, they will have an increasing impact on rates and this might limit their use
Lowering the Cost of Electricity – Low Cost Financing in the U.S.
The Coalition for Green Capital has done extensive work on developing low cost financing concepts in the U.S. at the state, federal and international level
At the federal level, Waxman-Markey included $7.5 billion in seed capital for a “Green Bank.” The Bingaman Senate Energy Bill in 2009, which passed in Committee, included seed capital of $10 billion for a somewhat different Green Bank
We are involved with a series of states which are considering setting up their own state green bank
Lowering the Cost of electricity – Low Cost Financing Outside the U.S
England is in the process of setting up a well financed green bank
Various national development banks like BNDES in Brazil provide low cost financing
Low cost financing is very effective in attracting investment
“ China's real advantage lies in the ability of solar panel companies to form partnerships with local governments and then obtain loans at very low interest rates from state-owned banks.” Michael El-Hillow, Evergreen Solar CEO, explaining Massachusetts plant closure
“ If you change the interest rate half a percent or 1 percent, the difference is amazing, because the cost is all at the beginning.” Dennis Bracy, CEO of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Forum
Example: Lowering cost of debt will reduce delivered price of wind generated electricity Prepared by an energy investment firm using public data sources
Low-cost financing reduces the delivered electricity prices of these actual wind projects by 15-20% to the point of being cost-competitive with new-build conventional coal and gas-fired power plants in each region to meet incremental energy demand growth:
With low-cost financing provided by the Energy Investment Trust, the internal rate of return can be maintained while keeping the cost to consumers at or below current delivered electricity costs (see highlighted sections above, where the cost of delivered electricity is reduced by $10/MWh or more because of the low-cost financing offered in the right column versus available bank financing in the left column).
Notes: -Assumes that all after-tax free cashflows from the project are financeable, net of cover ratios -CAPEX costs do not include significant transmission system upgrades -The CAPEX here is based on reported project cost data for the ARRA grant program through November 2010, with a 10% discount to account for reductions in equipment costs since 2009 in projects being built in 2011 and 2012 timeframe -The two cases describe the identical project, but commercial banks will finance a more conservative wind case (requiring the 1.4x cover ratio) -The two cases assume the sale of identical quantities of electricity - Note (1): LIBOR rate based on LIBOR swap curve for last 5 years, Treasury based on rates for the same period.
Example: Low-cost long-term financing can lower the delivered price of solar photovoltaic projects
- CAPEX is the EPC price of a solar photovoltaic system priced at $3.75/W, plus $.25/W debt service reserves, $.08/W development expenses, $.04/W financing fees, $.06/W for interest during construction, working capital, and maintenance reserves.
- Project is depreciated using MACRS, and assumes a 30% investment tax credit
Both financing cases assume the same system sizes, production, O&M, etc.
- Production estimates for each region:
Northeast: 1208 kWh/kWp
Plains: 1382 kWh/kWp
Southwest: 1675 kWh/kWp
- Assumes a 1MW distributed generation project.
Low-cost financing reduces the delivered electricity prices of solar photovoltaic projects by 20-25%, this puts solar within striking distance of current peak power prices, and generates electricity at the time when its most needed (peak hours) at the location where its most needed (close to the load).
With low-cost financing provided by the Energy Independence Trust, the investors’ internal rate of return can be maintained while keeping the cost to consumers at or below current delivered peak power prices. The cost of delivered electricity is reduced by $25-34/MWh because of low-cost financing offered in the right column versus currently available bank financing in the left column.
Example: in the U.S. low cost financing will create substantial additional solar investment in at least 14 states without raising their electricity prices Illustrative CA AK WA OR NV ID MT WY CO UT AZ NM OK AR ND SD MN IA LA NE MO KS WI FL SC IL IN OH WV VA MS AL GA NC TN KY NH VT MA RI CT NJ DE MD DC HI MI TX NY PA ME
With U.S. Green Bank (EIT) support, equity investors can fund more projects – small changes to capital structure have big impacts
34% NCF, $57/MWh power price (~20% reduction through use of EIT)
10.5% leveraged rate of return
When considering returns to both debt (interest) and equity, the up-front capex and the returns on the required capital are still 85% of the total cost of a wind project, with only 15% of the lifecycle cost being the operating expenses; but with the EIT the debt capex has increased from 9% to 16%, so that the effective power price can be ~20% lower
Without EIT Financing – 20:80 Debt/Equity ratio Including EIT Financing – 34:66 Debt/Equity ratio
34% NCF, $70/MWh power price
11% leveraged rate of return
When considering the net cashflows to the equity investor, the present value of equity capex is equal to the sum of the present value equity cashflows and the net tax benefit (26%+9%=35%); this value equals the up-front equity capex at the hurdle discount rate
85% of the total cost of a wind project is related to capital cost and the return on the investment, with only 15% of the lifecycle cost being the operating expenses
The role of the World Bank Group and other Multilateral Development Banks
World Bank Group and other Multilateral development banks will play a key, but partial role in achieving $500 billion per year in private investment in energy in developing countries
The Advisory Group concluded that the banks “can play a significant multiplier role and leverage additional green investments.” For every $10 billion in additional resources, multilateral banks could deliver $30 billion to $40 billion in gross capital flows and $10 billion in net capital flows.
Multilateral banks play a key role in supporting two strategic pillars considered by the World Bank Group as essential for a reliable, efficient and sustainable energy sector:
Improving the operational and financial performance of the energy sector
Strengthening governance to improve the contribution of energy to equitable economic development.
In October 2009 the World Bank Group published its draft Energy Strategy Approach Paper. The World Bank Group’s Board Committee on Development Effectiveness is now reviewing the draft.
In FY2010 World Bank lending for energy projects totaled $13 billion of which lending for energy efficiency and renewables reached $3.6 billion.
“ The WBG will continue to support multiple objectives of policy and institutional reforms, including creating an enabling environment for private sector participation and investment. Public-private partnerships will be actively pursued.”
World Bank Group and other multilateral banks have certain limitations that require the development of other institutions that can help provide the financing needed for $500 billion a year in clean energy investments in the developing world
The WBG strategy is to play a catalytic role in energy development, not to finance all of the hundreds of projects needed to reach scale
Because the WBG and other multilateral development banks support many kinds of loans other than clean energy loans, they do not see themselves as being able to raise all the financing needed for clean energy projects
Because they are country-oriented with many policy objectives, within and outside the energy sector, WBG and similar banks have to address many concerns in developing their strategy for each country
An International Green Bank: Global Investment Trust for Clean Energy (GITCE)
A single purpose entity for financing clean energy is needed to bring energy finance to scale. The GITCE is unique in that it would:
Focus on electricity as specific sector
Allocate funds directly to projects in countries where there is the greatest need for financing and development
Financing that complements existing funding sources
Does not replace or displace multilateral development banks or trust funds
Would have governance and operational structure that allows flexible and quick response to demand and market conditions
Would have institutional independence to focus on this set of investment objectives and the flexibility to work with all parties
The GITCE would be chartered so it could receive funding from a wide range of public and private sources, such as
Investment by national development banks. Would receive a return on equity adequate to attract investment, but below market and at a rate that when combined with other sources of capital would still allow it to provide low cost loans
Borrowing at low interest rates from national treasuries
Multilateral development banks will play a catalytic role in private energy financing and in establishing the two strategic pillars needed for renewable energy investment
The GITCE would seek to bring clean energy projects to scale by lowering the cost of energy projects
GITCE financing would be complemented by national measures like feed-in-tariffs or other incentives needed to make clean energy projects cost competitive. The amount of these incentives will be considerably lower when complemented by low cost financing
Public financing based on measures similar to those proposed by the Advisory Group will increase in scale as those measures become politically viable.