Izzet Bensusan, managing partner and founder of Captona, a North American-focused investment company that specializes in power generation and energy infrastructure, was a guest on The POWER Podcast. He is very bullish on the renewable energy industry for a variety of reasons.
For instance, Bensusan said renewable energy is growing at more than 20% around the world because companies behind the technology are making it more efficient, cheaper, and better. He suggested new renewable generation is being added, not because of special incentives or sustainability angles, but rather, because it makes economic sense.
When asked about promising opportunities in the renewable sector, Bensusan said the repowering of wind farms makes sense these days because new technology can improve output while using much of the same infrastructure. He was also optimistic about the U.S. offshore wind market in the long term, but he didn’t expect it to take off in the next three years.
Concerning other renewable resources, Bensusan said solar projects are now “mainstream” and financing has become “plain vanilla.” He said, “That means, anyone and everyone can really get capital to build small, medium, or large projects.” Community solar is growing too, and bankers—the people who provide the financing—are becoming comfortable with the investment.
Bensusan expects a spike in new solar projects in 2019, mainly because the investment tax credit will have a step-down next year. Nonetheless, he has been in the industry long enough to know that surprises happen regularly. This year, interest rates could provide a shock. When rates go up, the leverage factor in projects could get extremely tight. “It’s going to be very unique to watch when that next step-up happens,” Bensusan said. “I think watching those markets closely is very important for the renewable energy market.”
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—Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)