This paper was written for the 2014 International Union for the Conservation of Nature Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium in Tarragona, Spain. The paper was presented at the Colloquium, and an abridged version of the paper is being published in Energy, Governance and Sustainability: Contributions to 2014 Colloquium of the Academy of Environmental Law of the International Conservation of Nature Union. The following is the unabridged and updated version of the paper, which includes numerous additional examples and analyses.


This paper discusses successful innovative methods for financing the high initial equipment costs of many renewable energy resources, with case studies of their application. Financial instruments for renewable energy installations are frequently dependent on physical and economic infrastructure. In response to this fundamental interconnectedness between infrastructure, economy, and financial instruments, this paper follows a rough structure of financing methods used in: Areas unserved by an electricity grid; Areas of modest means served by limited transmission interconnections; and Areas with developed regional or national grid connectedness.

Renewables have many benefits, but they also face challenges as they enter the existing market of entrenched and highly subsidized fossil fuels. Challenges take many forms but generally include: technical issues with balancing demand and electric system load; unpredictable or politically driven swings in tax structures; and resistance from existing corporate interests. This paper examines how innovative public and private financing can mitigate these issues and carry the industry forward.