There is a societal transition simmering below the surface: the shift to cleaner energy and a more sustainable economy. And while the invasion of Ukraine propelled oil and gas markets back into the headlines, system pressure had been building for years. Now, more than ever, we see that long-term economic growth depends upon breaking the dependency on fossil fuels.

In this briefing, we set out our views on drivers for an accelerated energy transition in North America. We focus on solar and wind power, technologies that are poised to take on material roles as suppliers of primary energy to the US economy.


  • The drive to reduce carbon emissions is likely to generate a sharp rise in total electricity demand. We see wind and solar power poised to become heavyweights in the new digital upstream of the US energy sector.
  • It won’t be all smooth sailing. Uncertainty about the expansion of high voltage transmission capacity, potential renewal of trade conflicts with China, the prospects for permitting reform, and industry adjustment to higher borrowing rates are concerns that we are monitoring.
  • For the US to meet its net-zero goals, the transition to clean energy needs to happen more quickly. But it is already moving faster than most people think.

Charlie Donovan

Senior Economic Advisor

Charlie Donovan is Senior Economic Advisor at Impax and Professor of Practice in the Department of Finance and Business Economics at the University of Washington. Charlie’s role at Impax deepens the firm’s expertise in understanding the opportunities arising from a global energy transition. He contributes to Impax’s thought leadership initiatives and provides insights on North American policy developments to Impax’s clients and investment teams. He is a member of the Impax Sustainability Centre.

Before joining lmpax in 2022, Charlie was previously Professor of Practice at Imperial College London and Founding Executive Director of lmperial’s Centre for Climate Finance and Investment. In his corporate career, Charlie was Head of Structuring and Valuation for Global Power at BP plc and part of the team that launched BP Alternative Energy in 2005 with an $8 billion funding commitment. He began his career as an Energy Policy Analyst at the US Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton Administration.

Charlie is co-author and editor of Renewable Energy Finance: Powering the Future, now in its second edition. He holds a BA from the University of Washington, an MBA from Vanderbilt University, and gained a DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) in finance from IE Business School.

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