Accounting Rule Changes May Adversely Impact Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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I have tried to make simple and clear many complex legal topics before, including class action law suits and IRS tax-free bonds, but never have I faced this great a challenge. 

Apparently, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), which are in charge of setting new accounting standards for companies, have set in motion a rulemaking process which would require companies to list leases as assets and liabilities on their books.  These leases would include Power Purchase Agreements, Sale-Leasebacks of renewable energy installations and ESCO contracts. 

By putting these transactions "on the books," it has a variety of implications, including increasing the debt ratio of many companies, and increasing the disclosure and transaction costs associated with those efforts.  These implications may mean that companies are less willing to do renewable energy and energy efficiency transactions, and ESCOs and other companies have a harder time benefiting from the transactions. 

 The folks over at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have done a detailed analysis of the rule changes here and Forbes had a more user friendly (if less detailed) piece here

 

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.