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David Giordano on US wind's biggest investment trends
BlackRock’s David Giordano is set to take over as the chair of the ACORE board of directors in June. He are some of his key insights into investment trends in the US wind market.
BlackRock’s David Giordano is set to take over as the chair of the ACORE board of directors in June. He are some of his key insights into investment trends in the US wind market. David will be speaking at our Financing Wind New York conference on 30th May: for more info and to book tickets, see our conference website.
“The Clinton administration wouldn’t have been as positive [for renewables] as some people might have thought, and the Trump administration is not as negative."
That is a view of David Giordano, head of renewable power in the Americas and Asia-Pacific at global investment giant BlackRock, which he shared with A Word About Wind in the sixth edition of our annual Top 100 Power People report in November. He gave us his insights on policy and investment in US wind after the close of a $1.65bn wind and solar fund last July.
And his insights will take on greater weight in the sector in June, when he is set to step up to replace Dan Reicher as chair of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) board of directors. ACORE president Gregory Wetstone said last month that Giordano’s elevation to this pivotal role in one of the leading US trade associations reflected the importance of finance to booming US renewable energy industry. We can only agree.
In light of his elevation at ACORE, we thought it’d be a good time to revisit what we learned from David during our interview. Here are three of the most important points – and, if you’d like to read the full interview, we’re now making it available to everyone in our free e-book:
- Donald Trump’s impact on US wind has not been as negative as some feared
Despite President Trump’s famed objection to wind farms, David argued that he had not been a particularly obstructive figure for the wind industry since entering the White House – perhaps because wind now supports over 100,000 US jobs, many of which are in the manufacturing sector in Republican heartlands.
He has also not shown any appetite for a faster reduction in the wind production tax credit, which is set to come to an end in 2019 – and was protected in a package of US tax reforms that came into force in January, following our interview. In any case, support for the US wind sector largely comes at the state- and city-level.
- Fixing transmission is one of the industry’s most pressing challenges:
David highlighted the need for grid improvements, so that low-cost wind energy can be moved from the best wind sites – which tend to be in remote areas in the heart of the country – to cities where it is most needed, including on the coasts.
He also discussed the difficulty of building the required transmission lines, because the projects need support from affected states and landowners. However, he said he didn’t think funding them would be a problem: plenty of investors are interested in transmission investments but, for progress to be made, government support for developers will still be needed.
- There are still considerable limitations to offshore wind in the US:
David said BlackRock was considering making investments in offshore, particularly on the east coast, but was waiting to see “material growth” in the sector. He said that, while there is currently a lack of an offshore wind supply chain and supporting infrastructure, he expects to see offshore wind farms built off the US east coast due to the density of population, the demand for power and the constraints on capacity.
We have since seen plenty of activity to back up the theory, with NYSERDA setting out its roadmap for the state to reach 2.4GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. In total, east coast states have targets for 8GW of offshore capacity.