Policymakers at federal and state level can boost the US renewables market by creating opportunities for investors, Masdar Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said at a virtual event this month.
The US is already the world’s second-largest renewable energy producer, and represents the largest accessible market for renewables companies, Al Ramahi said on a panel session during the Reuters Events: Energy Transition North America virtual conference. “In this market you can deploy and acquire large-scale projects and investments and develop large capacities, with comparatively short lead times,” he told attendees.
This year, Masdar made its second strategic investment in the US market, in a deal with EDF Renewables North America to acquire a 50 percent stake in a 1.6-gigawatt (GW) clean-energy portfolio. While Al Ramahi acknowledged that enormous investment is required for the US to achieve its clean energy commitments under the UN Sustainable Development Goals, he said the immediate challenge is creating opportunities.
“Here, effective policymaking and government support are key, for example to provide access to the best locations for wind and solar power generation and the connection to the grid, to streamline obtaining permits and approvals, and to offer a transparent tendering process through auctions, as they have done very successfully in the UAE and the UK,” Al Ramahi said.
Around 30 US states already have renewable portfolio standards that mandate electricity supply companies to produce a specified fraction of their electricity from renewable energy sources. The administration of President-elect Joe Biden could look at measures to support these initiatives, Al Ramahi suggested, such as incentivizing renewable energy development on federal land.
Separately at the Reuters event, US Congresswoman Deb Haaland told Reuters that the federal government should prioritize expanding renewable energy projects on public land. Haaland is being recommended by a number of lawmakers to lead the US Interior Department under Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. Biden has pledged to ban new drilling projects on public lands and waters after he assumes the presidency.