Some of America’s largest companies are banding together to make push the market for renewable energy forward. The group is known as the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance includes Apple, Alphabet, General Motors, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Facebook, and Disney, plus a host of other companies and nonprofit organizations.
The group’s stated goal, according to CNBC, is to help companies take advantage of new ways to purchase clean energy. “This is really about bringing as many players to the market as possible and giving everyone access to clean energy,” says Michael Terrell, head of energy market strategy at Google.
Fighting Existing Regulations
For the past 6 years, most of these companies have been seeking new ways of meeting their needs for renewable energy. For instance, Google has wanted to power its Douglas County data center in Georgia with low cost solar power, but regional markets didn’t allow companies to purchase renewable energy directly from utilities. Together with partners Walmart, Target and Johnson & Johnson, Google worked with state officials to create a new program that allows companies to do precisely that.
By leveraging the lessons learned by those early adopters, REBA aims to remove the barriers to entering the clean energy field by fine-tuning contracts, tackling regulatory and policy hurdles, piloting new clean technology programs and helping companies establish internal systems to ease the path to buying clean energy.
Miranda Ballentine, REBA’s founding CEO, says outside of the handful of pioneers, very few companies have developed the expertise to enter into corporate renewable deals. “Most of these large buyers have never really done anything different than what you or I do, which is paying an energy bill,” she says. Michael Terrell says for a corporation to enter into a renewable energy deal should be as simple as clicking a button.
REBA intends to empower tens of thousands of companies to buy renewable energy in the coming years. As of today there are about 5,000 companies in the US which are doing this. Last year, corporations committed to about 16 gigawatts of renewable energy. REBA wants to grow the market to 60 gigawatts by 2025. That’s roughly equal to all the installed solar capacity in America today.
Getting more corporations on board with the renewable energy revolution is vital to reducing US carbon emissions, since corporations are responsible for most of the energy used to power the tech and industrial sector.
REBA will launch with about 200 corporate buyers and 125 renewable energy developers and service providers. Much of the foundation for the group was provided by nonprofit organizations such as the Rocky Mountain Institute, World Wildlife Fund, World Resources Institute, and Business for Social Responsibility. Now, if only someone could do the same for residential customers.