In February, seven major companies delivered a letter to the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate expressing their support for H.B. 439, the Missouri Energy Freedom Act, which would allow third party power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable energy. PPAs allow companies to procure renewable energy without making major capital expenditures up front or taking on the risk associated with operating and maintaining a power generation system. The companies emphasized the importance of having choice when selecting energy suppliers and products to meet their business and public goals. Read the letter here.
Last week, DGA Vice President Ryan Hodum – along with a team from Wal-mart, General Motors, and the R Street Institute – met with Missouri lawmakers to discuss the broad support for renewable energy and customer choice policy in the state. PPAs are contracts between an energy consumer (like a factory) and a provider (in this case a renewable energy supplier). The renewable energy can be either onsite or offsite and is owned and operated by the energy provider.
Since PPAs allow companies to enter into contracts for renewable energy with non-utility energy service providers, they can enable competition without undercutting the business of incumbent electric power suppliers. Currently, Missouri’s policies are restrictive for companies trying to enter into PPAs with renewable energy providers. However, Missouri has the opportunity to join the many states – such as Utah, Texas, Georgia, and Iowa – that already enable energy choice. Representative Bill Kidd (R-20) introduced House Bill 439, the Missouri Energy Freedom Act, which would enable onsite and offsite third party PPAs for renewable energy and has already received wide support from Missouri companies, energy developers, and the United States Army.
February was a big month for renewable energy. Several exciting new reports were released that demonstrate that renewable energy is increasingly in demand from large businesses and other large energy buyers, and is a significant source of job growth:
- 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook from the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance
- U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2016 Market Report from the American Wind Energy Foundation (AWEA)
- National Solar Jobs Census 2016 from The Solar Foundation
In the early stages of the Trump administration, DGA has identified these top five emerging climate and sustainability trends which we will be watching in 2017.
The Manufacturing Sector: Clean Energy and Competitiveness
As President Trump calls for making America’s manufacturing more competitive, clean energy represents a significant opportunity to do just that. The Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, a project of DGA, released a report last year which found that industrial efficiency could save manufacturers and other businesses $298 billion in energy costs while reducing carbon emissions by an amount equal to 46 coal-fired power plants. Many leading American companies already recognize these benefits: manufacturers such as Harley-Davidson, Raytheon and Whirlpool have pledged to cut energy use 25 percent, while others, such as GM, Mars and Procter & Gamble, have committed to increase their use of clean renewable energy.
Fortune 500 Companies: States Must Make Renewable Energy an Economic Development Issue
In the last five years, Fortune 500 companies and other large institutions, such as the military and colleges and universities, have begun to transform electricity markets by ramping up their purchases of renewable energy. In 2015, for the first time ever, these non-utility buyers bought more than 50% of the wind energy on the market. And now, these large customers are urging states to make it easier for them to buy renewable energy. Two leading trade associations, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), ranked all 50 states on the customer friendliness of the renewables markets and concluded that states that enable investment in clean domestic energy production are most likely to attract America’s largest job-creating businesses.
Today, DGA sent letters to North Carolina Governor Cooper and Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Regan detailing the growing corporate demand for clean, cost-effective sources of energy in North Carolina and across the U.S. Access to renewable energy choices is key to meet the needs of companies with operations in North Carolina and to attract more businesses to the state. You can read our letter to Governor Cooper here and Secretary Regan here.
David Gardiner and Associates contributed to a groundbreaking study released today that ranks all 50 states based on the ease with which companies in the retail and information technology sectors can procure renewable energy and urges state governments to promote customer choice of renewable energy. The Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index: State Leadership & Rankings, released by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Information Technology Industry (ITI), concludes that states that enable investment in clean domestic energy production are most likely to attract America’s largest job-creating businesses.
The report focuses on state renewable energy policy and the critical role that access to low-cost renewable energy can play as part of any state economic development strategy. The report notes that “the structure of a state’s electricity market can directly influence where corporations choose to invest in renewable energy projects, and in which states they decide to expand their operational footprint.”
Retail and tech companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Target and Wal-Mart are among nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies seeking to locate operations in states with clean energy production due to fossil fuel price volatility and pollution concerns. Read more
A group of 18 major corporations, including big names such as Microsoft, Walmart, Best Buy, Ikea, Staples and Mars Inc., among others, sent a letter to state lawmakers and the Virginia State Corporation Commission calling for “an explicit legal framework” to expand access to renewable energy from utilities and third-party sellers. Read more about the letter in this article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
David Gardiner & Associates has been featured as the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council Member of the Month for October. The article highlights a new report by the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency (a project of DGA), which finds that Virginia could reduce carbon emissions by over 2.5 million tons annually by 2030 from industrial energy efficiency. You can read the full feature here.
The Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, a project of DGA, released an exciting new report that ranks states on their potential for industrial energy efficiency and CHP/WHP to reduce carbon emissions. The report – State Ranking of Potential Carbon Dioxide Emission Reductions through Industrial Energy Efficiency – demonstrates that states could help the industrial sector seize enormous opportunities to cut carbon emissions, while saving money and making manufacturers more competitive. Read more about the report here.
A group of companies with retail and manufacturing facilities across Missouri including General Motors, General Mills, Target, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s and Nestlé, joined in supporting the Grain Belt Express project, noting that the “Grain Belt Express Clean Line is an opportunity to provide our companies with a link to low-cost renewable energy at a scale that is meaningful.”
These companies, which collectively employ more than 10,000 Missourians and own dozens of facilities across the state, each have corporate sustainability goals and are a part of a broader t rend of companies around the country using their purchasing power to call for more renewable energy. The companies stated in a letter to the Missouri Public Service Commission, “Access to renewable energy is increasingly important to our decisions about where to expand and to site new facilities.” Click here to view the letter.