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Kickstart Markets for Clean Energy Technologies

A Newbie’s Guide to Demand-Side Support

Do you want to kickstart markets for clean energy technologies, but investors are concerned there won’t be enough customers at a worthwhile price? Demand-side support might do the trick to calm fears and crowd-in needed private investment.

Simply put, companies need to have confidence that there will be customers for their product at a price that delivers an adequate return on investment to secure financing. Without some certainty that there is a viable market, private lenders will deem these investments too risky. Demand-side support can provide needed confidence, and as a result, “de-risk” projects.

As governments look to accelerate the commercialization of various clean energy alternatives, more attention is being paid to the demand-side of the equation—i.e., making sure clean technologies actually find customers. Numerous countries are adopting pioneering initiatives, private companies are investing collaboratively to establish novel organizations, and the Department of Energy (DOE) is exploring ways to provide demand-side support, most recently for clean hydrogen.

But what exactly is “demand-side support” and how does it work? This guide offers a comprehensive overview of different demand-side support tools, describing typical applications and providing real-world examples of how specific tools can be utilized. Importantly, this guide does not endorse any specific tool or the general use of demand-side support. Each use case and each market are unique, and different considerations will apply as a result.

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