After Paris: What's next for Clean Technology in the US?

By Amy Nelson Jun 09, 2017

When President Trump announced last week that the US would leave the Paris Agreement, it was met with a strong response from many foreign government leaders, private businesses, and state and local officials who felt the decision was largely intended to benefit the US coal industry. The aftermath of Trump’s decision, however, revealed something more.


The US exit from the Paris Agreement provided an unexpected platform for supporters of the Agreement to demonstrate a very clear commitment to reducing greenhouse gases – a commitment proclaimed by many leading US businesses, state and local governments, and American citizens. As GE’s Jeffrey Immelt tweeted after the withdrawal announcement: “Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”


Almost immediately, leading US-based companies including Apple, Exxon Mobil, Google, Target and Microsoft among many others, proudly announced their support for the clean energy goals of Paris. State and local governments including California (which alone would be the world’s 6th largest economy), Washington and New York also stated their commitment to clean energy targets, some even more ambitious than those in the Paris Agreement.


The public desire for reducing fossil fuel emissions and using cleaner technology is real.


Importantly, just as real are the positive economics of many clean technology projects. This is something we see firsthand as an active player in financing both renewable projects and energy efficiency retrofits. In 2016 alone, clean technology projects delivered over $3.7 billion in savings for 190 Fortune 500 companies.[1] At DLL, nearly every energy efficiency retrofit we finance delivers positive cash flow for the customer from day one.


The appetite for clean technology solutions continues unabated. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the US market for commercial & industrial solar is expected to double by 2021 and triple by 2025. Meanwhile, global spending on energy efficiency in buildings reached $118 billion in 2015 with $28 billion spent in the US alone.[2] And despite the exit from Paris, the US federal government remains committed to sourcing 30% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2025.


The reaction over the past few days speaks volumes. There is widespread desire throughout the public and private sectors to address climate change. The economics of energy efficiency projects are compelling, and businesses and local governments will take leadership on clean energy into their own hands.


We see this assertive approach to climate change taking shape through an increasing number of energy efficiency retrofits and renewable projects, as businesses and municipalities drive their own clean technology objectives. Our own energy efficiency financing business grew more than 170% year-over-year amid high customer demand for projects, including lighting retrofits and integration of HVAC, building controls and automation systems.


We at DLL are more passionate and bullish than ever about the future of clean technology – in the US and around the world. And we look forward to continuing to enable projects that contribute to a healthier planet, together with our clean technology partners.



Amy Nelson

President, Global Healthcare & Clean Technology Business Unit

[1] Source: Power Forward 5.0: How the largest U.S. companies are capturing business value while addressing climate change. Published by WWF, Ceres, Calvert Research & Management and CDP, April 25, 2017.

[2] Source: Energy Efficiency Market Report 2016, International Energy Agency.

Kim Alder

New Business Development

Contact me if you want to know more about Clean Technology.