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Photo: aaaaimages/Getty Images

The U.S. took a back seat in pursuing renewable energy goals through federal policy after announcing plans to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement last year, but a survey published by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) found that confidence in the sector remains high among investors.

Where it stands: Surveying financial firms that make up a third of annual renewable energy investments nationwide, ACORE found that two-thirds plan to increase their investments in U.S. renewables by 5% or more in 2018 when compared to 2017.

The key findings:

The production tax credit (PTC) and the investment tax credit (ITC) will expire in 2019 and 2021, respectively. 58% of investors noted the loss of these federal drivers as a hurdle.

  • Investor confidence in American renewables is expected to remain high. The average confidence level of firms surveyed was 84%.
  • 88% of respondents named energy storage as the top area for investment in the landscape over the next three years.

Why it matters: the nonprofit ACORE is using the survey's results to launch a new campaign to spur investment in renewable energy and grid modernization technologies — with a target of $1 trillion in private sector investments by 2030.

"The evidence is (and we see this in our membership growth) that more financial institutions see renewables as a good asset class because they have been shown to provide steady and predictable returns.
— ACORE CEO and president Greg Wetstone
  • As renewable energy goes more mainstream on Wall Street, ACORE plans to court policymakers, publish studies and work with corporate renewable energy procurers and energy storage markets to spur growth.

The big question: The $1 trillion goal is ambitious, especially given the unreliable nature of federal policy regarding renewable energy. ACORE CEO Greg Wetstone acknowledged that without some economic recognition for carbon-free electricity generation it will be hard for the sector to continue to grow — and that question looms for investors moving into the early 2020s.

Go deeper

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Trump confidante Matt Schlapp interviews Jared Kushner last February. Schlapp is seeking a pardon for a biotech executive. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A flood of convicted criminals has retained lobbyists since November’s presidential election to press President Trump for pardons or commutations before he leaves office.

What we're hearing: Among them is Nickie Lum Davis, a Hawaii woman who pleaded guilty last year to abetting an illicit foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low. Trump confidante Matt Schlapp also is seeking a pardon for a former biopharmaceutical executive convicted of fraud less than two months ago.

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