PAYS® for Clean Transport receives Design Funding Award

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Clean Energy Works has received a Design Funding grant from Convergence to undertake a feasibility study of Pay As You Save® (PAYS®) for Clean Transport in a Latin American city.

“We found the PAYS model compelling, not only because it presents an innovative off-balance sheet solution for bus service providers smartly borrowed from other applications, but also because it shows potential to be catalytic for the clean transport space,” says Joan Larrea, CEO of Convergence. “Our mission is precisely to bring to light initiatives like PAYS that drive blended capital to where it is needed most and provide learnings for the broader market.”

PAYS has received significant traction from governments, development finance institutions, investors and philanthropies worldwide, including endorsement from the members of The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance in September. Convergence’s funding will allow Clean Energy Works to complete the necessary feasibility work to narrow down the pipeline of cities in Latin America to a candidate city for a first implementation project.

Financial analysis indicates strong potential for impact in emerging markets cities. For example, in Santiago, Chile, a PAYS investment for 100 buses can leverage more than $70 of investment capital for each grant dollar, while reducing overall grant requirements by 97%, generating $25 million in electricity sales revenues, and eliminating 62,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

Clean Energy Works will present an online briefing for those interested in learning more about the PAYS for Clean Transport model in the coming weeks. To receive more information about that event, please register here.

The Lab endorses PAYS® for Clean Transport

Logo of the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance

The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance announced today that it endorses Pay As You Save® (PAYS®) for Clean Transport, starting with battery electric transit buses.

Members of the Lab, including governments, private investors, philanthropies, and development finance institutions convened at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York during Climate Week to endorse and formally launch new investment vehicles for implementation including PAYS for Clean Transport. Public and private investors also committed to financial, technical, and political backing to take these rigorously developed instruments to market. Barbara Buchner, Executive Director of Climate Policy Initiative and the Lab Secretariat said, “The instruments are already on their way to making significant impact on the ground, at a time when swift and catalytic solutions for climate action are needed more than ever.”

Clean Energy Works participated in the 2018 Lab process as a proponent for the concept of PAYS for Clean Transport. PAYS harnesses a utility’s capacity to reduce the upfront cost of electric vehicles by investing in the on-board batteries and charging equipment that connects them to the grid. The utility recovers its costs through a service charge for the transit provider that is less than the expected savings, providing a path to ownership for the transit agencies without a loan or lease obligation.

Dr. Holmes Hummel, founder and principal of Clean Energy Works, noted the business opportunity for utilities. “With PAYS, utilities have a growth opportunity at the grid edge as electricity gains market share in a historic transition to clean energy on both the grid and in the transportation sector. Our aim in advancing this solution is to accelerate investment without expanding utility monopolies by introducing instead business models fit for many distributed energy innovations in the 21st century.”

Along with the endorsement, the Lab also released a brief overview and an instrument analysis with more detail. Clean Energy Works will present an online briefing for those interested in learning more about the PAYS for Clean Transport model in the coming weeks. To receive more information about that event, please register here.

VERGE Vanguard Awards recognizes Dr. Holmes Hummel

GreenBiz Group has recognized Dr. Holmes Hummel, founder of Clean Energy Works, with a VERGE Vanguard Award for breaking barriers to affordable clean energy solutions. GreenBiz Group selected the honorees through a search for leaders who are accelerating an equitable transition to a clean power grid, a zero-emissions transportation system, and a circular economy.

Dr. Hummel was chosen for championing solutions that make renewable energy and energy-efficiency upgrades at the edge of the electric grid more accessible to all customers. One of these solutions is inclusive financing, based on the Pay as You Save® system. It simplifies the steps for residential and commercial utility customers to lower their energy use and choose renewable energy. Clean Energy Works is also applying this system to accelerate electrification in the transportation sector by mitigating the increased upfront cost of deploying electric buses.

“The transition to a sustainable and low-carbon economy won’t happen without visionaries and leaders,” said Joel Makower, chairman and executive editor at GreenBiz Group. “The VERGE Vanguard award honors those who are showing the way, setting the path for companies, cities and all of us to follow. We are pleased to honor this year’s cohort as exemplars of the important and inspiring change we all want to see in the world.”

“I’m honored to be among those chosen for the VERGE Vanguard 2018,” said Dr. Hummel. “We look forward to continuing to work with utilities, solution providers, city officials, and community stakeholders to make sure that the transition to the clean energy economy is open to all.”

At the VERGE18 summit next month in Oakland, California, Dr. Hummel will lead the plenary on Creating a Clean Economy for All followed by a dedicated session on Financing a Clean Energy Economy for All. In addition, Dr. Hummel will join the Fleet Electrification Summit, sharing work with the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance on accelerating investment in EVs for shared mobility starting with transit.

The Lab features Pay As You Save for Clean Transport

Logo of the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance

The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance has published a new profile for PAYS for Clean Transport as part of the The Lab: Driving Sustainable Investment class of 2018.

PAYS for Clean Transport was selected from a pool of over 100 crowd-sourced, competitive ideas to mobilize needed investment for low-carbon, climate-resilient development.

From the profile:

“Meeting transportation decarbonization targets by 2030 is essential in every climate stabilization scenario and requires accelerating transit electrification today. PAYS for Clean Transport will implement debt-financed iterations of the transaction for creditworthy utilities in leading emerging-market cities. Analysis to-date suggests Mexico City, Santiago, Bogotá, and Cape Town may be particularly suitable for pilot projects; however, there remains significant potential in many other parts of the world.

Later iterations of PAYS for Clean Transport will utilize a project finance capital structure that insulates capital providers from balance sheets of less-creditworthy utilities, and allows PAYS to accelerate electrification in a wider variety of contexts. Once operating at scale, a larger pipeline of PAYS for Clean Transport projects with well-documented environmental benefits can form the basis of a bespoke green bond issuance for greater liquidity, investor diversification, and accessible low-cost capital in many markets.”

Buses, Buildings, and Beyond: Inclusive Financing on the Main Stage

Clean Energy Works is pleased to announce two upcoming presentations by Dr. Holmes Hummel on inclusive financing and how Pay as You Save (PAYS) programs for buildings and buses to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.

On April 19, Dr. Hummel will give a keynote address at the Advancing Renewables in the Midwest conference. This talk will focus on PAYS programs for energy efficiency upgrades in buildings that are or have been operating in seven U.S. states. Most of these have been implemented by cooperative and municipal utilities and have secured millions of dollars of low cost capital for investment in service areas recognized for persistent poverty. Dr. Hummel will not only share lessons learned from these programs already in place, but also discuss how PAYS can be applied in other sectors, such as transportation, and how inclusive financing can be a win-win-win situation for utilities, all of their customers, and the climate.

In June, Dr. Hummel will be delivering a mainstage talk at VERGE Hawaii. Last year, Dr. Hummel spoke at VERGE Hawaii on how inclusive financing can help scale clean energy investments in distributed energy solutions from better buildings to clean transit. This year, in an address titled “The Road to 100%: An Energy Transition for Everyone,” Dr. Hummel will focus on charting a path to connect local governments’ commitments to achieving 100% clean transport and the value proposition to their utilities.

Videos of these presentations will be shared when they are available. In the meantime, to learn more about PAYS for buses or buildings and how Clean Energy Works can support those interested in adopting or promoting inclusive financing, visit our website or send an email to

The Lab selects utility financing as a top finance instrument

Logo of the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance

The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance has selected utility financing for clean transport among fresh concepts for scaling up investment in low carbon development. Clean Energy Works championed this approach, advancing from field of more than 100 contenders.

Electric buses and other high-use EVs have the best business case for electrification, yet the upfront cost can still be 50 percent higher than a fossil fueled vehicle. To clear this barrier and accelerate deployment of clean transport, utilities can offer to finance the on-board batteries and charging station.

Using a system called Pay As You Save® (PAYS®), multiple utilities have experience financing energy efficiency upgrades in buildings through a terms of service agreement. Clean Energy Works proposed a similar approach to the transportation sector, starting with clean transit, a win-win for the power sector and the public.

The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance will work with experts and investors to analyze and stress-test this concept, catalyze partnerships in both the public and private sectors, conduct rigorous financial analysis, and connect Clean Energy Works with decision-makers who can apply this breakthrough solution.

2017: An Award-winning Year for Inclusive Financing. What’s Next in 2018?

Inclusive Financing Wins Top Award in Search for Breakthrough Climate Strategies

The Climate Strategies Accelerator recognized Dr. Holmes Hummel, founder of Clean Energy Works, with a top award for advancing an innovative utility financing concept to accelerate electrification of the transportation sector.  Dr. Hummel was among eight fellows initially selected for the Accelerator from a pool of more than 500 hailing from 89 countries.

To make the case, Dr. Hummel drew on a body of work on utility tariffed investments in better buildings, upgrading their energy performance. A similar approach can catalyze rapid electrification in the transportation sector, starting with vehicles that tend to have the best business case – transit buses.  

How does it work?  By offering to make a site-specific investment and recover its cost on the monthly bill for that site, utilities can cut the upfront cost of batteries and charging stations.  The result is more value delivered to the customer, more electricity sales, and lower emissions for transportation as the grid continues to grow cleaner every year.

The Accelerator’s two-year award made through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation will assist Clean Energy Works with strategy development and stakeholder engagement.

Mainstage Presentation at VERGE 17

At VERGE 17, Dr. Hummel addressed GreenBiz’s premier sustainability conference to make the case for harnessing the power sector to accelerate transformation in the transportation sector. In front of 2,000 leaders from government, nonprofits, and the corporate and tech sectors, Dr. Hummel laid out the opportunity to capture market share in transportation fuels by addressing the upfront cost barrier for electric vehicles, starting with transit.

Dr. Hummel’s talk, “Inclusive Financing for Clean Energy — Paving the Way with EVs,” laid out a vision to drive oil out of the transportation sector and surging investment in EVs. Widespread adoption of inclusive financing tools, such as a utility tariff, can accelerate this transition and help cities and transit agencies achieve their commitments to sustainability.

What’s Next for Clean Energy Works?

In 2018, Clean Energy Works will expand its field of activity to collaborate with allies and key stakeholders, including utilities, transit agencies, manufacturers, policy-makers, and NGOs.  Harnessing the strength of aligned interests, Clean Energy Works will focus on creating conditions for broader use of inclusive financing. This model has proved effective in energy efficiency building upgrades, and plummeting costs for batteries and other distributed energy solutions are opening the door for EVs and more.

We will continue to provide advisory services and technical support to those interested in adopting inclusive financing. For example, the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) sponsored a series of open-access briefings and webinars to dozens of champions for public interest in SEEA’s Inclusive Financing Learning Circle. This group is made up of practitioners who are exploring a specific application of inclusive financing, and they receive technical assistance on designing and implementing utility tariffs.

As we continue to build on the momentum of the Climate Strategies Accelerator award, we will continue to seek ways to go to scale faster, both inside the U.S. and beyond.  If you have an interest in exploring your potential, please be in touch:

Mainstage at VERGE 17: Paving the Way for Inclusive Finance through EVs

VERGE 17, GreenBiz’s premier sustainability conference, recently brought together 2,000 attendees to Santa Clara, California, to learn, share and be inspired to create a better future. The conference converged leaders from the corporate, tech, government, nonprofit and art sectors to accelerate sustainability solutions and forge connections.

Dr. Hummel’s main-stage presentation makes the case for widespread adoption of inclusive finance starting with accelerating electrification of bus transit.

“For years, utilities have resisted the distributed energy revolution already underway. Yet, electrification of the transportation sector presents a historic opportunity for growth, and it is a critical path for climate stabilization. What’s new? In the last year, plummeting battery costs have helped the some vehicles — specifically, long-range electric transit buses — finally approach cost parity on a lifecycle basis when compared to diesel buses. At the same time, an innovative finance mechanism is gaining traction in the utility sector that would allow utilities to invest and recover costs for the on-board batteries. With these developments, utilities could drop the upfront cost of all-electric vehicles, set off a surge in sales, and rapidly capture the prize of market share for transportation fuels. But will they?”

International Accelerator Awards Holmes Hummel for Breakthrough Financing Strategy for Clean Transit & Electric Vehicles

After considering more than 500 ideas from 89 countries over the course of eight months, the Climate Strategies Accelerator selected an innovative financing concept raised by Dr. Holmes Hummel for a top award.  Specifically, Dr. Hummel proposed to cut the upfront cost of EVs by applying a successful utility tariff for distributed energy solutions, starting with bus fleets that provide the most compelling business case.

For the final round, the Accelerator hosted a Silicon Valley-style Innovation Showcase attended by an invited audience of more than two dozen leading funders and field leaders for climate action. Criteria for selection included judging on the merits of potential for breakthrough impact, breakthrough strategy, leadership, field-wide perspective and capacity to execute.  

 Final decisions were made by representatives of the Packard Foundation, Oak Foundation, and Good Energies, the sponsors of the Climate Strategies Accelerator Fund.  The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which hosts the Fund, will process the Accelerator’s recommendation of a two-year award to advance the strategy to drive down oil demand with innovative utility financing for EV, starting with clean transit.

Climate Strategies Accelerator selects Clean Energy Works for 2017 Oil Breakthrough Lab

CSA logo

“Think a world without oil is possible?  Here’s your chance to prove it.”  That was the challenge posed by the Climate Strategies Accelerator when they announced the Oil Breakthrough Lab, a worldwide challenge that drew more than 500 candidates from 89 countries. Among the 8 Fellows selected is Dr. Holmes Hummel, whose work on inclusive financing for building energy efficiency upgrades shows even greater potential for rapid uptake in the transportation sector.

The Climate Strategy Accelerator’s announcement includes recognition for Clean Energy Works along with luminaries in the field such as Nnimmo Bassey (Nigeria) and Fuiquing Yang (China).  Fellows will draw on the resources of the Accelerator to fast-track the development of their ideas into working prototypes for initial application.  Sponsors of the Accelerator include Good Energies, the Oak Foundation, and the Packard Foundation, and Fellows will have the opportunity to present their opportunities for impact to funders later this year.

Through the Accelerator, Clean Energy Works will be able to advance the application of tariffed on-bill programs to transit buses, which are essential infrastructure in cities around the world.  Dozens of major cities have already pledged to move toward zero emission fleets, yet financing has proven to be a key constraint slowing the transition.  Once applications to transit fleets are well underway, additional vehicle classes can be covered as can upgrades to buildings with additional distributed energy solutions.