NEW YORK AND ARLINGTON, VA. — Tax professionals are generally unfamiliar with the various tax incentives available to private investors in clean energy projects, despite the fact that many have participated in other kinds of “tax equity” transactions, according to a survey conducted by Bloomberg BNA in consultation with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
The online survey of subscribers to Bloomberg BNA’s Tax and Accounting Center, found that 35% of respondents have made tax equity investment either directly or on behalf of clients in areas other than clean energy, such as low-income housing. Despite this, 65% said they were mostly or completely unfamiliar with the incentives available to backers of US wind projects known as the Production Tax Credit. Only 7% described themselves as extremely familiar with the PTC, which was used to finance approximately 4,000 megawatts of wind capacity in 2011, or around 70% of total US wind installations, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates.
The survey comes as the US clean energy sector seeks to grow by attracting new private investment from corporations in the form of tax equity. Bloomberg New Energy Finance presents the results of the survey today at a White House meeting hosted by the US Department of Energy. The event brings together chief financial officers and others from Fortune 500 companies as the administration highlights opportunities available to large corporations in clean energy tax equity investing.
When asked why they or their clients had not made a clean energy tax equity investment, a majority answered that it was either not a strategic fit with the company’s business or that they believed there were better returns available elsewhere. Twenty- one percent of those answering the question responded that they did not make the investment because they were unaware of a tax equity option. Nearly all of the respondents indicated that a clean energy investment would be for the purpose of supplying the client’s own energy needs.
“These results suggest an information disconnect,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the clean energy market research division of Bloomberg. “Tax equity investing today offers backers of clean energy projects, based on proven technologies, comparatively high risk-adjusted returns, given the current low interest-rate environment. Apparently though, many in the tax community have failed so far to spot the opportunity for their clients.”
Detailed results are available on Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Tax Report. For more information, visit BNA.
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About Bloomberg New Energy Finance Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) is the world’s leading independent provider of news, data, research and analysis to decision makers in renewable energy, water, energy smart technologies, carbon markets, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear power. Bloomberg New Energy Finance has staff of 200, based in London, Washington D.C., New York, Tokyo, Beijing, New Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, Cape Town, São Paulo and Zurich. Bloomberg New Energy Finance serves leading investors, corporates and governments around the world. Its Insight Services provide deep market analysis on wind, solar, bioenergy, geothermal, carbon capture and storage, smart grid, energy efficiency, and nuclear power. The group also offers Insight Services for each of the major emerging carbon markets: European, Global Kyoto, Australia, and the U.S., where it covers the planned regional markets as well as potential federal initiatives and the voluntary carbon market. Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Industry Intelligence Service provides access to the world’s most reliable and comprehensive database of investors and investments in clean energy and carbon. The News and Briefing Service is the leading global news service focusing on clean energy investment. The group also undertakes applied research on behalf of clients and runs senior level networking events. For more information click Bloomberg New Energy Finance
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Tom Ehart, BNA, +1 703 341 5949, TEHart@bna.com