ICYMI – Punchbowl News Event with Sen. Tom Carper Highlights Private Equity Investments in Renewable Energy

Last week, the American Investment Council hosted the second of a two-part series with Punchbowl News examining how private capital is investing in businesses and supporting sectors across the U.S. economy. In the latest event, Punchbowl News Founder Anna Palmer interviewed Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) about the critical need to spur private investment in renewable energy and infrastructure. Palmer also spoke with AIC President Drew Maloney and Steve Luker, CEO of the private equity backed solar energy company Catalyze, discussing specific examples of how private equity is supporting renewable energy companies. Watch highlights of the event below.

Private equity invested $24 billion in renewable energy technologies

A recent report published by Pitchbook and the American Investment Council showed private equity investment in renewable energy surged to nearly $24 billion in 2020, up from roughly $5 billion in 2019. AIC President & CEO Drew Maloney discussed how these investments in renewable energy are making a tangible difference, “private equity contributed $24 billion dollars in renewable energy projects [last year]. That’s half of all the private sector dollars that went into renewable energy last year … I’m sitting in a private equity backed Brookfield Properties building here in Washington, D.C. This building has a solar powered roof, is LEED certified, has EV charging stations in the basement, and has temperature control inside. We are leading these innovations and we are doing our part to improve the carbon footprint in the country.

Congress should not increase taxes on renewable energy investments

Despite private equity’s strong support for renewable energy technologies, Congress is currently considering raising taxes on these investments by 98 percent. AIC President Drew Maloney discussed how this misguided proposal would limit private capital investments into innovative companies and technologies that are working to help transition the economy to a renewable future, “[the bill] would require a five-year holding period for private equity investment. Within that period, it would increase taxes to 39.6 percent. That is a 98 percent tax increase on this type of investment. What we’re trying to do now is get the economy back up and going and encourage innovation. While we’re doing that, we should not be increasing taxes … we have to achieve this energy transition and the only way we’re going to do that is with private capital dollars.”

Sen. Carper on why businesses need to have tax certainty

With Congress currently debating both an infrastructure and large spending packages, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) urged his colleagues to provide businesses with tax certainty so they can make long-term investments in renewable energy innovations and technologies, “we have to provide certainty and predictability for a longer period of time. Businesses need certainty and predictability, and we have to make sure we are doing that.”
Solar energy company Catalyze depends on private equity to grow

Solar power provider Catalyze is on a mission to rapidly accelerate the transition to renewable energy by making it easy and profitable for homeowners and businesses to integrate smart energy resources into new and existing buildings. Steve Luker, the CEO of Catalyze, discussed how their partnership with private equity firm EnCap Investments has provided the company with critical capital and expertise as they grow, “predictability is a key issue here, and private equity plays a role in helping companies like Catalyze mature and grow their processes. The renewable energy industry is fairly new and emerging … so you have to have companies like EnCap, our sponsor in the private equity space, that has both domain expertise, a long history in energy transitions, and those key individuals contributing their decades of knowledge to help companies like ours mature.”

Click here to watch the full interview.

Click here to watch highlights from the first part in our series with Punchbowl News, which featured Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) discussing how he is excited about the future of private equity in South Carolina.