Bloomberg Energy Leader Cautions Targeting Renewable Energy

A top Bloomberg energy research director was in Oklahoma this week meeting with state legislators and promoting renewable energy resources—especially the state’s wind industry.

But Ethan Zindler, head of the U.S.Research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance Limited also had some words of caution as the legislature moves toward more actions to remove tax credits and put caps on refundable payments.

“We are seeing this technology become cost effective and economically viable We have seen examples in other parts of the world if you retroactively reduce support for renewable technology—it’s a big world and developers will pick up and move elsewhere,” he said in an interview with OK Energy Today.

In short, he suggested if you punish renewable energy resources, you could be hurting the state’s economy.

“While there are great resources in Oklahoma, if you’re a wind developer and you can find a better place to develop your project, in Kansas or West Texas, or someplace else, you’ll do that,”  he continued. “It’s a competitive game and the point I tried to make was that if you retroactively change the rules of the game, it can have a pretty negative effect.”

Zindler’s 30-minute meeting with some legislators went smoothly and he said there were no critical questions of his beliefs about the future of renewable energy.

“First of all, people are incredibly nice and polite here—not like on the east coast—-but people are definitely receptive and very interested in what I was talking about,” said Zindler who works with a staff of 40 in Washington. Bloomberg’s energy finance research staff involves about 200 globally with 13 offices.

He made four points to legislators beginning with how the country is becoming much more efficient in how energy is used.

“Overall, the U.S. economy is now growing at a decent clip,not extraordinarily, but energy consumption is not.”

“Sustainable energy technologies are now very much in the main stream. When you talk about renewables—people used to call them ‘alternative’ but that’s a misnomer. More than half of the electricity generated in Oklahoma comes from  wind power.”

“As we’ve seen a real transformation, we have not seen consumer costs go up. Energy bills are at their lowest levels in decades.”

And he said despite enormous policy changes made by the government, especially by the Trump administration, ‘it has not shaken the industry much.”

The company’s New Energy Finance is described as an industry research firm focused on helping energy professionals generate opportunities.