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Published on September 21st, 2012 | by James Ayre


Businesses Increasingly Using Renewable Energy Options to Cut Costs

September 21st, 2012 by  

According to a new report from the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and Vestas, a growing number of green businesses are beginning to source their power exclusively from renewables instead of just making a small token purchase.


The new report, the 2012 Corporate Renewable Energy Index (CREX), is a ranking of over 300 global companies based on their voluntary sourcing of renewable energy, and the reasons for why they do it.

The companies ranked in the CREX have tended to fall into two extremes, but there is a newly emerging group that is choosing to get 100% of its energy from renewable sources.

“Previous CREX reports found most respondents buy a small amount of renewable energy, either by installing on-site generation such as wind turbines, or purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). In this year’s report nearly one third of respondents said they used less than five per cent renewable energy – but by contrast, 35 CREX companies said they used 100 per cent renewable energy, mostly through RECs, to cover all their power usage.”

Predictably, the companies sourcing the most from renewables tend to be companies with very public faces: the financial, telecommunication, and services sectors mostly.

Somewhat surprisingly, ‘high-energy-use sectors’ such as aluminum and paper production have also begun to purchase larger amounts of electricity from renewables, in order to save on costs. The majority of these companies directly invested in on-site wind turbines or biomass boilers, to help reduce their energy bills.

The most common form of on-site renewable energy according to the report was hydroelectric power – at 47% of the total share – next up was wind power at 29 percent. And biomass and waste-to-energy followed wind with a combined 23 percent.

“According to previous Bloomberg figures, global investment in new renewable capacity outpaced that of fossil fuel generation in 2011, with $257bn invested in renewables compared with $223bn for additional fossil fuel generation.”

“Data compiled for CREX over the past three years found that renewable electricity procurement as a percentage of the global total electricity mix increased from 14 per cent in 2009 to 16 per cent in 2011.”

Source: Business Green
Image Credits: Fenton Wind Park via Wikimedia Commons

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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • KG

    RECs are big business and you are also able to build a lucrative business by becoming a business partner and helping others do the same. This money may be used to put back into your business. Go to http://www.keyonnag.cleannation.biz

  • stan s.

    As we speak, I am attempting to put together a deal with a 5 rink ice skating complex in Pa, that has a $40,000 per month electric bill.
    Since even though the building is gigantic, it’s roof will only hold 1/10 of a MW, and it needs 4 MW, I am working to have the rink owner lease a vacant piece of nearby land, with at least 5 acres avail. at hopefully less than $1000 per acre per month….this will send the solar farm production to the local utility company grid, and post a credit balance for his business….he’ll be the one who would “reclaim” the production, just at another one of his business locations (as he’s the one who in in possession of the solar farm property.
    Our chief engineer says we can do about 5 MW on the land….and I have calculated we can save him a net of approx. $18,000 per mo. with a PPA.
    Not a bad idea for a geeky scientist, huh? Lol.

    • Bob_Wallace

      That’s an interesting approach. Were there not buildings in the area that had more flat roof than they could used for their needs and willing to lease space?

      And just a general question, do you clean snow off panels in that part of the country? And, if so, how?

    • Also might be cheaper to look at using his parking lot. Some columns and all at once he has covered parking to make it nicer for his skaters to come in on rainy days. And he don’t have to lease the land next door. Always look at multi-use of space before buy more. Something like at the Cincinnati zoo http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/2011-03-25-solarzoo28_ST_N.htm

      • i would think that would make more sense. curious to hear Stan’s response.

    • nice. interesting…

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