Impact investment in clean energy has, to date, focused on community-oriented investment such as improved cook stoves and residential solar. These investments tend to occur in relatively small deal sizes and affect populations ranging from hundreds to thousands of people. While such investments create admirable social and environmental impacts, and should continue – it is arguable that they should not be impact investors’ sole focus in the clean energy sector. Rather, there are other larger-impact investment opportunities, with potential to change nations’ broader energy infrastructures and balance, which most impact investors have not focused on, nor pursued, to date. In this paper we explore why impact investors may want to broaden and diversify the types of energy projects they consider, what barriers have been for them to do so to date, and how they might overcome these barriers in the future.
More specifically, this paper will:
- Establish the case for why larger-scale, more diverse energy infrastructure investments should be of increasing interest to impact investors;
- Discuss why impact investors have not funded these types of projects to date – including existing barriers for impact investors interested in these types of opportunities;
- Outline how impact investors, and other stakeholders in the energy investment market, can overcome these barriers in order to increase financing for clean energy infrastructure – and provide specific guidance to help investors approach this diverse range of clean energy investment opportunities.