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Blog: America’s Manufacturers Using Clean American-made Energy

By William Sherman, intern, in collaboration with Ryan Hodum, Vice President of David Gardiner and Associates

As the Trump Administration holds ‘Made in America’ week, we took a look at efforts by American manufacturers to procure renewable power that is cheap, clean, and made in America. Manufacturing is an incredibly energy-intensive sector. In fact, manufacturers account for nearly one-quarter of all energy consumed in the U.S. We learned that 14 manufacturers have set an ambitious 100% renewable energy goal either through RE100 or on their own, as detailed in Power Forward 3.0. These manufacturers come from a full range of industries: food and beverage (AbInBev, Coca-Cola, Nestle, MARS, Tetra Pak), automobile (BMW, GM), consumer goods (Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Unilever), apparel (VF Corporation), lighting (Philips), chemicals (AkzoNobel), and office furniture (Steelcase).

These manufacturers are already contracting for on-site and off-site renewable energy on their journey to achieve 100% renewable energy. The most ambitious among them are working to decarbonize both their electricity and thermal load, given the significant heating and cooling needs in the manufacturing sector. Our research finds at least 23 renewable energy projects linked to the 14 manufacturers, from small rooftop solar arrays on car ports to a 200 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Texas. In fact, Texas is leading every other state and is home to 675 MW of the 773 MW from these 23 projects (or 87 percent of the total renewable energy procured).

A major reason that Texas has successfully attracted renewable energy investment from manufacturers (and others) is that it has structured its electricity market to allow customers the ability to easily choose renewables. These 14 large manufacturers alone account for close to 400 manufacturing plants across 46 states. As shown in the map below, California, Michigan, Texas, Illinois, and Ohio are the top five states, each with more than 20 plants. Five of the top-ten states with the most facilities scored in the bottom half of a state leadership ranking concerning their renewable energy purchasing policies – Michigan (29), North Carolina (30), Missouri (32), Georgia (37), and Tennessee (44) – according to the Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index report. To help manufacturers achieve their renewable energy goals, states should enable increased customer choice and access to renewable energy. The RILA & ITI report outlines a five-point state action plan to improve customer access and encourage the procurement of renewables from large buyers, including manufacturers.

David Gardiner and Associates will soon issue a white paper (coming August 2017) to highlight corporate climate and renewable energy targets in the manufacturing sector. Our analysis reviews 106 U.S. and global manufacturers (including the 14 mentioned above) regarding their renewable energy investments, long-term public commitments, and state policy advocacy.

For more information on this topic, as well as other pertinent energy and environmental issues, please visit the DGA website – www.dgardiner.com – and follow us on twitter: @dgardinera and @CustomerREVO.

DGA Releases Statement Applauding Ohio Senate for Including Wind Setback Fix in Omnibus Amendment

On June 20, the Ohio Senate released an omnibus amendment that corrects current wind setback requirements, enacted in 2014 (HB 483, 130th General Assembly), which have been a critical barrier to clean wind energy development in the state. David Gardiner and Associates (DGA) applauds the Ohio Senate for including the wind setback in the omnibus amendment and strongly encourages the House to support the amendment for inclusion in the final version. The Senate’s action will help the many Fortune 500 companies that want to buy renewable energy find those choices in Ohio. Read our press release here.

Blog: Utility Standby Tariffs Are Standing in the Way of CHP Investments

By Bradford Weir, intern, in collaboration with Jennifer Kefer, Vice President of David Gardiner and Associates and Executive Director of the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency

Energy efficiency allows manufacturers to boost profits and become more competitive by spending less on heat and power. However, industry efforts to improve energy efficiency face significant barriers in states with unfair rates for what is known as standby power. Last week, eight Pennsylvania companies –manufacturers and developers like ArcelorMittal, Ecolab, The Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association of Pennsylvania, and Schneider Electric – told the Pennsylvania Utility Commission that these rates are standing in the way of their energy efficiency investments. The business letter emphasized the need for fair and reasonable standby rates to encourage energy-efficient investments across the state. The manufacturers urged the Utility Commission to lower financial barriers that inhibit businesses from becoming more competitive by increasing their operating costs.

Many factories and other large energy users can benefit from installing clean, energy-efficient combined heat and power (CHP) or waste heat to power (WHP) systems. A CHP system allows its host to produce both heat and electricity on site from a single fuel source. A WHP system captures otherwise wasted heat to generate electricity. Both CHP and WHP allow their hosts to use less power from the grid, which saves manufacturers money in energy costs, reduces demand on the grid, and makes the entire energy delivery system more reliable and less prone to blackouts – ultimately making manufacturers more competitive.

While CHP and WHP are steady and reliable sources of energy, they may not cover all of a factory’s needs. Companies may still need to connect to the grid for backup or supplemental power, or to cover periodic shutdowns for planned maintenance or repairs. When manufacturers depend on grid power, they pay “standby rates” – often hefty charges, which vary widely from one utility to another.

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Blog: Over 100 Businesses Urge Congress to Continue Funding Critical Energy Efficiency Programs

By Jennifer Kefer, Vice President of David Gardiner and Associates and Executive Director of the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, a project of DGA. This blog post originally appeared in Breaking Energy.

The President’s budget template, which slashes the Environmental Protection Agency budget by 32% and eliminates voluntary programs, including the agency’s Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Partnership and the ENERGY STAR program, has drawn wide criticism from businesses across the country.

Businesses are speaking out on behalf of the CHP Partnership. More than 100 companies signed on to a stakeholder letter urging Congress to continue to fund the partnership. The program currently benefits 389 partners – including many businesses, developers, and state and local governments – and helps its partners navigate complex technical and financial issues associated with CHP.

The CHP Partnership is a perfect example of how the federal government, in partnership with the private sector, can catalyze investments in energy efficiency. The program is extremely cost-effective and has a proven track record of success, working to promote more efficient power generation.The CHP Partnership increases U.S. competitiveness, enhances the resiliency of our energy infrastructure, and lowers emissions through promoting and facilitating the deployment of CHP.

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DGA Launches Customer Revolution Monthly: A Renewable Energy Policy and Market Action Alert Newsletter

Large institutional buyers are changing the energy landscape as we know it. David Gardiner and Associates is launching the Customer Revolution Monthly to identify and analyze the policy and market trends that define this historic change. 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.

Interested in learning more? Read the first edition of our newsletter:

Customer Revolution Monthly April 2017

Subscribe to Customer Revolution Monthly and follow the latest corporate renewable news @CustomerREVO.

Blog: Industrial Energy Efficiency Would Make American Manufacturing More Competitive

By: Jennifer Kefer, Vice President of David Gardiner and Associates and Executive Director of the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency

President Trump has vowed to make American companies and manufacturing stronger and more competitive. However, on March 28, the President signed an executive order, “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” beginning the process of rolling back the Clean Power Plan. While the executive order is explicitly intended to promote economic growth, it misses a significant opportunity to do so by making American manufacturers more competitive.

Energy efficiency is the secret weapon that can make President Trump’s promise to make American manufacturing more competitive a reality, while also cutting carbon emissions. In fact, energy efficiency already supports 2.2 million jobs nationwide, including thousands of jobs in each and every state in America. What’s more, since energy use in the manufacturing sector accounts for roughly 24 percent of all U.S. energy consumption (the industrial sector as a whole accounted for 32% of all energy consumption), the opportunity for savings is large. Read more

Seven Companies Deliver Letter to the Missouri Legislature Expressing Support for H.B. 439, the Missouri Energy Freedom Act

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.

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Vice President Ryan Hodum Joins Large Businesses and Free Market Think Tank to Discuss Customer Choice Policy with Missouri Legislators

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.

Blog: Current Trends in Renewable Energy News

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:

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DGA’s Top 5 Emerging Climate and Sustainability Trends

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.

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