Most Businesses That Have Invested in Renewable Energy Plan to Add More

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While corporate green washing stories are a dime a dozen, an in-depth study by Retailer Daily in conjunction with Environmental Leader is the first to quantify, among many other interesting things; the ROI of adding renewable energy, for businesses, and how that has affected their future plans.


Apparently the first forays into on-site clean energy production has created fans. Of all of the surveyed companies who had added on-site generation of renewable energy, a surprisingly large percentage said that they are now looking into increasing that amount. For financial reasons.

The comprehensive survey on corporate renewable energy use covers:

How many corporations are using renewable energy,

What industries are using renewable energy,

What types of renewable energy they are using,

How much renewable energy they are using in relation to their entire energy output,

How much they are spending on renewable energy,

What their renewable energy plans for the next five years look like.

To generate on-site renewable energy, the survey respondents:

– 40% spent $1 million or more

– 20% spent $500,000 – $1 million

– 12% did not pay, but shifted the capital costs to a provider through a PPA.

Findings include that financial motivations to lower energy costs predominate, that ROI varies, that government incentives are key influences and that buying RECs seems to be more from a green washing motivation (25%) or from moral obligation (20%), while actually investing in renewable energy is more from a saving money perspective.

Of those who added renewable energy, 95% made a better deal than before. A full 20% made over 15% return on the investment, and the remainder made from 1% to 15% on it.

Only a scant 5% spent more on renewable energy than on their previous source.

Most companies had added wind (72%) and solar (43%), but businesses also added (23%) hydro, (19%) biomass, (19%) bio-fuel, and (11%) “assorted other” and geothermal power.

The full 152 page report contains some specific “school-of-hard-knocks” advice to businesses that are considering adding renewable energy from those who have gone before – like JCPenney, USPS, White Wave, Costco, UPS, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, Half Price Books and Green Mountain Coffee.

There are some tantalizingly informative excerpts:

“In some areas where seismic considerations limited the options for using roof top non-penetrating ballasted systems, UPS found inconsistent application of zoning and building code interpretation between municipalities. ‘That’s unfortunate, because it rules out a whole class of installations which can be cost effective. Other building code considerations related to roof load have reduced the number of sites that could be considered…’ ”

“More state and federal incentives would go the farthest in influencing companies not currently incorporating renewable energy into their energy plans to do so. More affordable pricing options, demand from stakeholders, and guaranteed paid rate per kWh, would also have a strong influence…”

However, at $1,165, you’ll have to tell this penniless journalist what else is in the entire report. I’d be very interested.

Source and Image:  Environmental Leader

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