Investments aligned with this Strategic Goal aim to increase the generation of clean energy by supporting the development of low- and zero-carbon alternatives.

The sections below include an overview of the approach for achieving desired goals, supporting evidence, core metrics that help measure performance toward goals, and a curated list of resources to support collecting, reporting on, and using data for decision-making.

What

Dimensions of Impact: WHAT

Investors interested in deploying this strategy should consider the scale of the addressable problem, what positive outcomes might be, and how important the change would be to the people (or planet) experiencing it.

Key questions in this dimension include:

What problem does the investment aim to address? For the target stakeholders experiencing the problem, how important is this change?

Despite falling cost, sources of clean energy are not being adopted at the rate necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world added renewable power to the energy mix at a record rate, a pace, however, that was still too slow to transition generation away from fossil fuels (1).

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) notes that most sustainable development pathways leverage solar, hydroelectric, wind, tidal, and geothermal power alongside bioenergy, nuclear power, and fossil fuels paired with carbon capture and storage. In some pathways, hydrogen forms a meaningful substitute for fossil fuels in meeting demand for non-electric energy (2).

Barriers to increasing these sources of energy include low-cost natural gas, reliance on government subsidies or support, high capital costs, and regulatory hurdles related to project sites.

Low-cost natural gas: Advances in hydraulic fracking and directional drilling have greatly increased the supply of natural gas, a fossil fuel, sharply reducing its cost and leading to the construction of natural gas plants to replace much of the recently phased-out coal-fired electricity generation. As the pace has slowed at which the levelized cost of clean energy decreases, natural gas maintains a cost advantage, in part due to multiple government subsidies for the fossil fuel industry that total an estimated USD 1 trillion per year worldwide (3,4).

Reliance on government support: Almost half of all solar and wind projects planned through 2025 are tied to government-backed auctions or incentives (5). Under current trajectories, government support will remain critical to the deployment of renewable energy. Yet policymakers may re-prioritize spending in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially delaying new auctions for renewable capacity and postponing project-commissioning deadlines.

High capital costs: Though clean energy sources, especially renewable sources, are cheap to operate, their up-front installation costs are high. A new natural gas plant costs about USD 1000 per kilowatt to install, while wind systems range from USD 1200 to 1700 per kilowatt and solar systems range from about USD 2000 to as high as USD 3700 per kilowatt (for residential solar) (6). Even as the levelized cost of electricity from alternative sources declines, the up-front capital costs present a challenge to adoption.

Siting: Locating land to site units of clean energy generation often involves regulatory hurdles. Each source of clean energy source presents its own siting challenges: nuclear energy projects can spark community dissatisfaction, wind projects contribute to noise pollution and raise concerns about biodiversity loss, and solar installations invite pushback on ‘solar sprawl’ and the potential loss of both forest and scenic value if solar panels are placed on previously undeveloped land (7).
Investments to improve low- and zero-carbon energy generation can:

  • improve the generation capacity of established technologies, such as new types of photovoltaics and larger wind turbines;
  • innovate next-generation technologies such as clean or green hydrogen, tidal stream technology, wave power machines, or floating turbines;
  • scale low-cost generation, particularly utility-scale solar and on- and offshore wind, to achieve cost-competitiveness with natural gas;
  • finance the deployment of distributed generation facilities, such as rooftop solar, for residential and commercial applications;
    develop and scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies to enable cleaner fossil fuel–based generation; and
  • support the electrification of end uses, such as mobility and cooking, to stimulate demand for the installation of distributed clean-energy generation.

What is the scale of the problem?

Between 2001 and 2018, recent analyses suggest, only about 10% of utilities worldwide prioritized renewable energy over fossil fuels, representing 55 gigawatts of new energy-generating capacity (8). Even though not even a fifth actively prioritized coal and natural gas over clean sources, the vast majority simply maintained the status quo, demonstrating no net change in their focus on fossil fuels.

According to the International Energy Agency, reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 will require global annual energy investments to increase to USD 5 trillion by 2050, and investments in clean energy specifically must triple by 2030. The International Renewable Energy Agency similarly estimates that worldwide annual investment in renewables must rise to about USD 800 billion by 2050 (9).

A net-zero pathway requires solar and wind energy to become the leading sources of energy before 2030 and constitute almost three-quarters of all generation by 2050 (10). Clean energy sources, including but not limited to solar and wind energy, today comprise about 20% of all generation. Worldwide commitments to date include about 826 GW of new non-hydro renewable power capacity by 2030 at a likely cost around USD 1 trillion. These commitments fall far short of even the capacity expansion necessary to limit world temperature increases to less than 2°C, let alone 1.5°C (11).

Who

Dimensions of Impact: WHO

Investors interested in deploying this strategy should consider whom they want to target, as almost every strategy has a host of potential beneficiaries. While some investors may target women of color living in a particular rural area, others may set targets more broadly, e.g., women. Investors interested in targeting particular populations should focus on strategies that have been shown to benefit those populations.

Key questions in this dimension include:

Who (people, planet, or both) is helped through investments aligned with this Strategic Goal?

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C instead of 2°C requires making clean sources the primary source of generation by 2050. The impact of these investments therefore centers on the adverse outcomes avoided by mitigating warming.

Planet: Natural gas plants still emit about half as much carbon dioxide as coal at their highest efficiencies. With rising energy use in emerging markets, annual carbon dioxide emissions continued to increase in the years prior to 2020 (12). Meeting the goal of a net-zero global economy by 2050 will require global CO2 emissions from energy production and industrial processes to fall from over 30 Gt in 2020 to about 21 Gt CO2 in 2030 before reaching net‐zero in 2050 (13). Phasing out coal- and natural gas–based electricity generation leads to the largest and fastest emissions reductions.

Communities experiencing energy poverty: The falling cost of clean energy, particularly wind and solar, presents opportunities to advance energy access in rural, remote, and less developed areas. For instance, in India, an energy mix of 80% renewables would cost more than 20% less than one without renewables (14). (Notably, the underlying analysis focuses entirely on cost optimization, treating emission reductions as an ancillary benefit; the true cost would be even lower given the net positive externalities of renewable energy). Off-grid or autonomous grid-connected solutions (like rooftop solar and renewable-based mini- or microgrids) allow communities to either source their own power (bypassing the costs of transmission) or at least reduce their spending on energy by substituting cheaper local generation. By reducing the need for transmission to rural areas, off-grid infrastructure can enable energy independence within target communities while simultaneously enhancing energy access for other regions by improving the efficiency of transport and allocation. Rooftop solar is likely the best-suited renewable source for these communities in terms of energy availability, cost-effectiveness, capacity, accessibility, and efficiency (15).

IRIS+ users may also find the Strategic Goals under the Clean Energy Access theme relevant when considering community impacts.

Energy-insecure countries: The need to catalyze renewable energy technology ties centrally into developing countries’ efforts to improve their energy security. For instance, according to the Asian Development Bank Institute, proven fossil fuel reserves in developing Asia are insufficient to fully satisfy even current energy requirements, making the region dependent on energy imports (16). Without significant investment in domestic renewable energy production, these countries will struggle to achieve energy independence. Reliance on energy imports can increase domestic price volatility, specifically inflationary pressure; in 2021, rising oil prices fueled by the global economic resurgence following COVID-19 vaccine rollouts are already stunting emerging markets’ recovery (17).

Communities facing air pollution: Burning fossil fuels creates air pollution, associated with large adverse health outcomes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, levels of air pollution were linked to an increased incidence of COVID-19 deaths (18). The Centre for Research and Energy on Clean Air (CREA) and Greenpeace Southeast Asia estimated that the global economic costs of fossil fuel pollution stand around USD 8 billion per day, or 3.3% of Gross World Product. Mainland China, the United States, and India bear the highest costs of fossil fuel air pollution worldwide, at an estimated USD 900 billion, USD 600 billion, and USD 150 billion per year, respectively. Further, exposure to particulate matter and ozone from burned fossil fuels is responsible for 7.7 million asthma-related trips to the emergency room each year. Drastic reductions in fossil fuel emissions, aside from generating climate-related and energy-access benefits, can lead to cleaner air that has far-reaching economic and health benefits. The healthcare savings alone justify a transition towards cleaner energy generation.

IRIS+ users may also find the following Strategic Goals from the Energy Access theme relevant when considering health impacts: Reducing Harmful Emissions of Small-Scale Energy Sources and Improving Energy Alternatives for Cooking.

Displaced workers: A comprehensive clean energy investment strategy can help communities navigate the structural economic changes necessitated by the zero-carbon transition. Jobs in the clean energy industry have higher salaries than the fossil fuel industry, with solar and wind jobs paying on average USD 24.85 per hour compared to USD 24.37 per hour for coal, natural gas, and petroleum (19). The EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) suggests that investments in clean technologies can create up to 315,000 new job opportunities by 2030 and 460,000 by 2050 in coal-dependent regions (20). As industry sectors with high levels of emissions, including coal, are phased out or see declining output, regions can create jobs during the transition by deploying local alternatives to carbon-intensive processes.

IRIS+ users may also find the following Strategic Goals from the Quality Jobs theme relevant when considering impacts on workers: Improving Job Skills for the Future and Increasing Job Security and Stability for Workers in Precarious Employment.

What are the geographic attributes of those who are affected?

As of 2019, clean-energy investment in emerging markets had already been outpacing investment in developed markets for five years running, with USD 152.2 billion, or about 54% of the global total, directed to emerging markets and about USD 130 billion directed to developed markets (21). China and India led the way, but other developing nations jumped to a record 17% share of global investments in clean energy. In the largest-ever solar financing deal, USD 4.3 billion were injected in 2019 into the Al Maktoum IV solar thermal and photovoltaic complex.

Still, over the entire period between 2013 and 2019, countries in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa collectively attracted, on average, just 15% of all renewable energy investment (22). Even within these regions, countries like Brazil attracted a disproportionate share of investment dollars; a combined group of 90 developing and emerging countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa with the world’s largest electricity-access gaps attracted only 10% of all renewable energy investment.

Achieving an energy mix compatible with a 1.5°C warming pathway would require, through 2050, directing USD 40 billion annually toward renewable-energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa and USD 30 billion annually toward such projects in Latin America and the Caribbean (23). This represents a fourfold increase in investment in sub-Saharan Africa and a doubling of investment in Latin America and the Caribbean compared to the amounts invested in 2018. The potential for impact is arguably greatest in sub-Saharan Africa. Investable solutions in the region are plentiful such as off-grid renewable investments such as decentralized solar, which also holds significant promise for helping improve both clean energy access and livelihoods in regions such as South Asia (24).

Contribution

Dimensions of Impact: CONTRIBUTION

Investors considering investing in a company or portfolio aligned with this strategy should consider whether the effect they want to have compares to what is likely to happen anyway. Is the investment's contribution ‘likely better’ or ‘likely worse’ than what is likely to occur anyway across What, How much and Who?

Key questions in this dimension include:

How can investments in line with this Strategic Goal contribute to outcomes, and are these investments’ effects likely better, worse, or neutral than what would happen otherwise

Organizations can consider contribution at two levels—enterprise and investor. At the enterprise level, contribution is “the extent to which the enterprise contributed to an outcome by considering what would have otherwise happened in absence of their activities (i.e., a counterfactual scenario).” To learn more about methods for assessing counterfactuals, see the Impact Management Project.

Investments to improve clean-energy generation can contribute as follows:

Signal that impact matters: By investing in clean energy generation, investors demonstrate that new innovations, financing mechanisms, and scale can unleash clean energy to compete on cost with fossil fuels—even natural gas. In this vein, they also signal that the clean energy transition will be incomplete without an effort to ensure universal, reliable access to affordable energy.

Directing more capital towards clean energy generation also signals policymakers. The potential to attract investment, particularly foreign direct investment, can spur regulatory changes that incentivize private investment. Already, renewable energy policies are advancing worldwide, with middle- and lower-income countries particularly driven by investor appetite. Among a group of 130 countries tracked by the World Bank, just 37% had a national renewable energy target in 2010. By 2019, nearly all (99%) had at least begun to establish a legal framework for renewable energy (33).

Engage actively: Investors can promote the increased deployment of all forms of clean energy, including both utility-scale and distributed renewables. At the national, state, and local levels, investors can advocate policymakers to design incentives for renewable developers and to implement comprehensive clean energy policies with targets for grid modernization, electrification of end uses, and energy-efficiency measures. Beyond governments, investors can partner with utilities and energy companies to bolster the development of utility-scale renewables, which are more likely to achieve cost-competitiveness with natural gas than distributed solutions. In doing so, they can engage with legacy players in this space—including fossil fuel companies and slow-to-transition utilities—to create holistic transition pathways that leverage the full swathe of renewables alongside options like clean hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. Finally, investors can encourage communities and companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises in isolated areas, to begin installing renewable energy generation such as rooftop solar, including by provide financing facilities for such efforts.

Grow new or undersupplied markets: Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 will require clean energy generation to extend to the world’s fastest-growing regions, which will comprise a growing share of global energy consumption. In emerging markets across sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South and Southeast Asia, the pace of investment, while rising, is insufficient to meet a 1.5°C warming pathway. Moreover, rising spending on clean energy projects has to date been dominated by public finance. Therefore, investors with an aligned risk appetite can close a critical financing gap for renewable generation, improving energy access and affordability for underserved or unelectrified communities and lowering a critical barrier to their growth.

Provide flexible capital: With high costs for upfront installation, clean energy generation facilities are capital-intensive; they may take years to offer investors meaningful returns. Investors that deploy patient capital, including blended finance, can support clean energy generation that would otherwise not be realized, especially given that the status quo relies on public finance that may be withdrawn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (as developing countries in particular come under substantial fiscal pressure). Finally, many zero- and low-carbon generation technologies necessary for the clean energy transition, such as geothermal, tidal, clean hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage, will require significant spending on research and development. As companies working to develop these technologies are largely early-stage, investors with patient capital can help develop and scale revolutionary technologies and new markets.

How Much

Dimensions of Impact: HOW MUCH

Investors deploying capital into investments aligned with this strategy should think about how significant the investment's effect might be. What is likely to be the change's breadth, depth, and duration?

Key questions in this dimension include:

How many target stakeholders can experience the outcome through investments aligned with this Strategic Goal?

Because electricity is globally consumed and generation systems supply energy, investments in this Strategic Goal can impact everyone and all energy sectors. The International Energy Agency’s net-zero emissions pathway (by 2050) features a commitment to universal energy access by 2030, which means providing electricity to the 790 million people who currently lack access and phasing out the use (by around 2.3 billion people) of traditional bioenergy for cooking (25). Ultimately, the global net-zero economy must provide clean, affordable energy to a global economy more than twice as big as today’s and a global population about 2 billion larger.

For individual countries, investments aligned with this Strategic Goal can enable broad and transformative, yet feasible changes to the energy mix. In India, for instance, the incident solar energy is more than enough to meet its annual electricity needs (26). Though not all incident potential can be realized, even assuming a highly conservative 10% conversion efficiency for PV modules would still yield a solar potential about ten times higher than India’s total 2019 energy supply.

Promoting clean energy generation in a specific country also yields health benefits in that country even if investments elsewhere fall short. Continuing with India as an example, the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution notes that the country leads the world in premature pollution-linked deaths (27). Coal-fired power plants alone are linked to 80,000–115,000 premature deaths every year, and rural and low-income communities bear a disproportionate burden even though they are also least likely to receive the benefits of electricity generation (28). Concerning diesel generators, atmospheric scientists suggest that "immediate" benefits could be realized if large entities like mobile phone towers, hotels, hospitals, and institutions shifted to renewable power (29). In China, over the past decade, a new action plan for pollution control has demonstrated that promoting renewables alongside air quality management substantially reduces both pollution and the related adverse health outcomes (30).

How much change can target stakeholders experience through investments aligned with this Strategic Goal?

The exact amount of change affected by investments in clean energy generation will depend on the surrounding policy environment, advancements in energy efficiency, electrification of end-uses (such as transport), growth in storage capacity, and infrastructure. Policy that aims to support a transition to 100% clean energy can help ensure that universal energy access is not only achievable but also sustainable. The impact that target stakeholders experience as a result of investments aligned with this Strategic Goal will also depend on the region’s existing clean energy supply and levels of energy poverty.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that over three-quarters of the reduction in global CO2 emissions necessary for a pathway to 1.5°C warming could be achieved through electrification and renewable generation (31). This, in turn, could permanently improve social outcomes by extending economic opportunity and reducing inequalities among communities and countries.

EU reports further suggest that compared an investment scenario consistent with 2°C of warming could enable, compared to business-as-usual, growth in gross domestic product (GDP) and employment of 1.1% and 0.5%, respectively (32). These projections, like those of IRENA and the IPCC, assume a just transition, with workers adapting to the structural changes in skill requirements associated with the low-carbon transition.

The need for more renewable infrastructure and technological development continues to grow with increasing global energy demand and in response to global warming. Since this Strategic Goal involves technological investments, target stakeholders can expect long-term or permanent impacts. For any of these benefits to accrue, however, access to finance must improve, especially in underserved markets.

Risk

Dimensions of Impact: RISK

Key questions in this dimension include:

What impact risks do investments aligned with this Strategic Goal run? How can investments mitigate them?

The following are several impact risk factors for investments in line with this Strategic Goal. Similar risks are addressed in the Mitigating Climate Change through Clean Electricity and Heat Production Strategic Goal under the Climate Change Mitigation theme.

  • External Risk: As global climate change intensifies, extreme weather events (such as heat, drought, storms, and floods) are becoming more frequent and severe, with significant implications for companies and investors. While clean energy generation is integral to the global net-zero ambition, generation capacity and infrastructure are themselves affected by climate change. Existing climate models are limited in their ability to predict the effect of a changing climate on generation capacity (34).

    For instance, larger turbines are more vulnerable to extreme wind speeds, and a small change in wind speed can have outsized impact on generation. Offshore facilities, increasingly popular around the world, are both more vulnerable and more difficult to maintain. Hydropower facilities are singularly affected by changing seasonal patterns and by volatility in glacier melt, snowfall, precipitation, and droughts. Tidal-based technologies can be affected by changes in water temperature, temperature gradients, salinity, sea level, and wind patterns, whereas geothermal sources are prone to changes in water availability, damage to infrastructure (including flooding), and an increase in ambient temperature. Biomass-based energy generation is perhaps most vulnerable to climate change, as biomass availability critically depends on forestry and agriculture.

    Above all else, these external risks create uncertainty. Following intense wildfires in 2017–2018, for example, California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), became the first “climate change bankruptcy” when it filed for protections as a result of tens of billions of dollars in sudden liability for wildfires (35). In 2012, the New York City subway system suffered the worst damage since its construction due to storm surge from Hurricane Sandy. Investors in renewable energy infrastructure must consider external climate risk factors carefully from the standpoints of both potential damage to built infrastructure and potential disruptions to supply chains for raw materials used in its construction.

  • Endurance Risk: The intermittency issues associated with variable renewable energy sources, specifically solar and wind, hold back their widespread deployment. Other goals within the Clean Energy theme explore the need for enhanced storage and for transmission and distribution capacity to facilitate the generation and usage of renewables at scale. Despite promising recent developments in these areas, these enabling technologies have not yet been scaled to the extent necessary for the clean energy transition. For investors in renewable energy generation projects, the lack of enabling infrastructure may dilute the economic thesis for investment.

    Related risks due to intermittency and lack of storage capacity include a lack of data, especially in emerging markets. Investors can mitigate both External and Endurance Risks through risk transfer, for example by using weather-related reinsurance products. In doing so, they can effectively quantify and mitigate risks to renewable energy projects deriving from either extreme weather events or intermittency.

  • Stakeholder Participation Risk: Stable climate policies are the basic building blocks to stimulate investment and decision-making around clean energy technologies and infrastructure. Clean energy projects remain heavily dependent on favorable state and national policies. Investors face additional risk when investment incentives and regulations are opaque, unstable, unpredictable, or, in the worst case, withdrawn. As government fiscal policies continue to evolve following the COVID-19 pandemic, regulatory and fiscal uncertainty has become even more profound; while some countries seem likely to emerge from the crisis with a renewed focus on clean energy, others seek a return to the pre-pandemic status quo. To mitigate these risks, investors should understand at a high level any government policy that underpins their investments’ business models while working with policymakers to advocate for robust, comprehensive, and consistent policies that encourage investments in the sector.

  • Unexpected (Environmental) Impact Risk: All sources of energy have some impact on our environment, including renewable sources, even though fossil fuels do substantially more harm than renewable energy sources by most measures. The exact type and intensity of environmental impacts from clean energy varies with specific technology and geographic location. Wind power, for example, may impact land use, wildlife, and habitat. Solar power can impact land use and lead to habitat loss and water use, in addition to hazardous materials used in manufacturing. Investors should complete thorough due diligence that includes climate data and modeling to identify locations for projects with the least negative environmental impact and least prone to severe changes in weather, like droughts or floods. Energy projects may also have negative human rights impacts that investors should seek to mitigate. BSR presents a categorical summary of these risks in “10 Human Rights Priorities for the Power and Utilities Sector.”

  • Unexpected (Social) Impact Risk: As fossil fuel facilities shut down in effort to meet countries’ commitments to transition to clean energy, workers and local communities who rely on this industry for their livelihoods will face disruptions in income and ways of life. Tax revenues will subside, and local spending will decrease as power plants close (36). For example, in the United States alone, about 12,000 workers per year will face displacement as the coal industry phases out between 2021 and 2030. Another 34,000 workers will face displacement each year in the oil and gas industry between 2031 and 2050 (37). Similarly, China’s closure of thousands of coal mines has already led to the loss of 1.3 million jobs in the coal sector and 500,000 jobs in the steel industry, equating to a relative 20% and 11% of China’s workforce in those two respective sectors (38).

    Investors can mitigate this risk by integrating principles of a just transition into their investment philosophies. Clean energy jobs are less limited by geology and geography than fossil fuel jobs, and the clean energy transition can in fact create new employment opportunities across underserved regions (39). Thus, investors should pay special attention to opportunities to develop clean energy infrastructure in fossil-fuel dependent regions, besides encouraging their portfolio companies and partners to consider transition risks to communities in their decision-making, as well.

Illustrative Investment

In January 2021, Intersect Power, a developer of utility-scale renewable energy, secured USD 127 million in equity funding from Climate Adaptive Infrastructure and Trilantic North America, alongside a USD 482 million debt facility with Generate Capital and CarVal Investors. The funds will be used to scale the company’s existing portfolio of generation assets for utilities and large end-users, as well as to enter new classes of clean energy infrastructure, including green hydrogen (40). Intersect has a USD 8 billion portfolio of more than 60 projects in all phases of development, including 3.7 GWDC of solar assets (41). The company’s pipeline includes 3 GWDC of solar assets across California and Texas in various stages of development and power marketing.

In June 2021, Monolith Materials, a Nebraska-based clean hydrogen operation, received a strategic investment in a round led by South Korean conglomerate SK Group, NextEra Energy Resources, and Perry Creek Capital. Existing investors Azimuth Capital Management, Cornell Capital, and Warburg Pincus joined the round, and the firm is additionally backed by Imperative Ventures and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America (42). This capital raise came following a slew of growth announcements for Monolith in pursuit of its goal of launching its commercial-scale hydrogen manufacturing technology. The company uses a proprietary methane pyrolysis process to produce hydrogen, and its full range of solutions will reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions by up to 1 million metric tons by 2024 (43). The strategic partnerships with NextEra and SK Group will allow the company to expand within North America and in emerging markets, respectively, forming part of SK Group’s strategy to produce 280,000 metric tons of clean hydrogen by 2025 (44).

Draw on Evidence

This mapped evidence shows what outcomes and impacts this strategy can have, based on academic and field research.

NESTA: 3
Climate Change 2014 Mitigation of Climate Change IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Edenhofer, O., R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, E. Farahani, S. Kadner, K. Seyboth, A. Adler, I. Baum, S. Brunner, P. Eickemeier, B. Kriemann, J. Savolainen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow, T. Zwickel and J.C. Minx (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
NESTA: 3
Benefits of Renewable Energy Use Union of Concerned Scientists (updated 2017), 'Benefits of Renewable Energy Use,' Union of Concerned Scientists, DC
NESTA: 3
Net Zero by 2050

IEA, 2021, ‘Net Zero by 2050 a Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector,’ IEA, France

NESTA: 3
Renewables successfully driving down carbon emissions in Europe

EU, updated 2017, Renewables successfully driving down carbon emissions in Europe, Europa.EU

NESTA: 3
Renewables 2021 Global Status Report

REN21. 2021. Renewables 2021 Global Status Report (Paris: REN21 Secretariat).

NESTA: 2
Renewable Energy Jobs - Annual Review 2020

IRENA (2020), Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2020, International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi.

NESTA: 2
From the Grand to the Granular

Robins N, Muller S and Szwarc K (2021) From the grand to the granular: translating just transition ambitions into investor action. London: Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science.

NESTA: 2
Global Energy Perspective 2019: Reference Case

McKinsey. “Global Energy Perspective 2019: Reference Case.” (2019)

NESTA: 1
Implications of high renewable electricity penetration in the U.S. for water use, greenhouse gas emissions, land-use, and materials supply

Doug Arent, Jacquelyn Pless, Trieu Mai, Ryan Wiser, Maureen Handa, Sam Baldwin, Garvin Heath, Jordan Macknick, Morgan Bazilian, Adam Schlosser, Paul Denholm. “Implications of high renewable electricity penetration in the U.S. for water use, greenhouse gas emissions, land-use, and materials supply.” Applied Energy 123, (2014): 368-377

NESTA: 1
A review of renewable energy sources, sustainability issues and climate change mitigation

Phebe Asantewaa Owusu, Samuel Asumadu-Sarkodie “A review of renewable energy sources, sustainability issues and climate change mitigation”, Cogent Engineering, 3(1), (2016)

Each resource is assigned a rating of rigor according to the NESTA Standards of Evidence.

Define Metrics

Core Metrics

This starter set of core metrics — chosen from the IRIS catalog with the input of impact investors who work in this area — indicate performance toward objectives within this strategy. They can help with setting targets, tracking performance, and managing toward success.

Interested in providing feedback on these IRIS metrics in the forthcoming public comment period? Request an invitation here and include “Clean Energy theme” in the box.

Additional Metrics

While the above core metrics provide a starter set of measurements that can show outcomes of a portfolio targeted toward this goal, the additional metrics below — or others from the IRIS catalog — can provide more nuance and depth to understanding your impact.