How do we turn COP26 funding pledges into actual projects?
By Tomas van Stee, CEO & Founder - November 16, 2021
Bringing governments and international finance to the table at COP26 was far from simple, so we need to ensure that the pledges made in Glasgow are realized.
The results of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow have been a mixed bag, but one highlight to come out of the event is the pledge by financial players managing $130 trillion to green their investing and put fighting climate change at the centre of their work. Bringing about the green economy and tackling climate change represents the most expensive undertaking in human history, with investments to the tune of $2-4 trillion needed annually until 2050.
The Glasgow Finance Alliance for Net-Zero (GFANZ), led by UN climate envoy and former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, is a promising development that is bringing together banks, investors, and insurers. That said, these promises and pledges are only words, so how do we turn them into concrete action? There is increasing interest among investors to invest in cleantech, so the question becomes how to connect the trillions in pledged cleantech funding to the projects that actually need it. But despite interest from businesses and financiers, too many cleantech projects remain stalled or never get off the ground because the process needed to access that capital is far too difficult.
Companies trying to implement cleantech projects need to take on a lot of debt to pay for expensive upgrades and retrofits. These debt levels are risky because businesses are often unsure whether their cleantech solutions will actually deliver the savings that are promised. And the spectre of debt alone reduces business confidence and dissuades many firms from starting projects in the first place.
Let’s make the cleantech revolution a reality
If you look at the cleantech sector, you’ll see both a huge pile of money on one side and a huge pile of backlogged projects on the other. Bridging this gap and accelerating the adoption of cleantech is where EnPowered is looking to play a vital role. A month ago I was proud to announce the launch of EnPowered Payments — our on-bill repayment platform. We built Payments to overcome the hurdles that companies looking to invest in cleantech face, by creating a risk-free funding option that uses future energy savings to pay for cleantech solutions today.
EnPowered works with cleantech solution providers to help them sell more and their customers save more. Instead of the solution buyer shouldering the risk of the investment, the risk is taken up by our network of funding partners. This way, companies are freed from capital restrictions. Instead, they can pay for their chosen solution in manageable payments through their electricity bill.
This time we need to make sure the pledged financing actually materializes
Once the solution has been installed, the customer immediately sees savings on their bill, while a portion of those savings is used to pay off the solution: once that has been done, the customer enjoys the full savings of the solution. And as an added benefit, paying through your electricity bill not only reduces paperwork, it increases transparency, making oversight and asset performance tracking that much easier.
Bringing governments and international finance to the table at COP26 was far from simple, so we need to ensure that the pledges made in Glasgow are realized. This means facilitating easier access to cleantech financing and catalyzing the rate of adoption by overcoming business hesitancy and the lack of flexible capital. Too many environmental promises have been made in the past only to never be fulfilled, this time we need to make sure the pledged financing actually materializes. This means removing the risk to the customer in order to deploy capital at scale. To help realize this promise, we need to reduce as much friction as possible to pave the way for faster cleantech adoption.